Vegan vs. Vegetarian

Vegan
Vegetarian

The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegans eliminate all animal products from their diet, including dairy and eggs. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Vegans' tremendous compassion for animals is an abiding, overriding conviction in their lives.

Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but they tend to consume dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians consume dairy products but not eggs, ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products and lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. Vegetarians also do not eat products that contain gelatine or other meat-based products.

The vegan point of view is that animals are not here to be exploited by man, and that commercialization of animals necessarily involves a fundamental, inhumane component and lack of respect for basic life.

From a nutrition standpoint, the only difference is that vegans need to take a B12 and amino acid supplement, since they have no dietary source of these nutrients. You can get all the nutrients you need on a lacto-ovo (eggs and milk) vegetarian diet without supplements. A vegan diet also minimizes food allergies or intolerance since it eliminates the most common allergens like shellfish, eggs and dairy.

Comparison chart

Edit this comparison chart

Vegan

User Rating (46):

Vegetarian

User Rating (43):
Introduction Veganism is a philosophy and compassionate lifestyle whose adherents seek to exclude the use of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans endeavor not to use or consume animal products of any kind. Vegetarianism is the practice of a diet that excludes meat (including game and slaughter by-products; fish, shellfish and other sea animals; and poultry). There are several variants of the diet, some of which also exclude eggs.
Diet Vegans do not consume meat, eggs, milk, honey or any food that is derived from animals. Do not eat meat or fish. Some do consume dairy and some vegetarians consume eggs. Lacto-vegetarian: eating dairy products. Ovo-vegetarian: eating eggs. Do not eat gelatin or other animal by products.
Products Do not use any animal derived products, e.g. fur, leather, wool, etc. Do not condone the use of animal testing. While vegetarians do not eat meat, most vegetarians do not mind using other animal-derived products, e.g. fur, leather, or wool.

edit Video explaining the differences

edit Health benefits

An extensive study published in June 2013 shows that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters and are 19% less likely to die from heart disease. The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association, was covered by the Wall Street Journal. Other key findings from the study include:

A rebuttal of the media reports of this study argues that correlation does not imply causation, and that the longer life span of vegetarians found in the study could also be attributed to the fact that the vegetarian group tended to exercise more, be married, consume less alcohol and smoke less compared with the meat-eating group.

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us on:

"Vegan vs Vegetarian." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 31 Jul 2014. < http://www.diffen.com/difference/Vegan_vs_Vegetarian >

Stay informed Related Comparisons
Follow Diffen
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »
Top 5 Comparisons Recently Compared

Comments: Vegan vs Vegetarian

Comments via Facebook

Anonymous comments (40)

August 6, 2013, 2:45pm

I think to call anyone a Moron or name simply because of a lifestyle they choose is totally disrespectful and ignorant. There are pros & cons to everything in life. People who haven't been exposed to something or view something as different than what they are used to. often aren't open minded & are quick to criticize. I think we all should respect one another & live & let live. If a Vegan is trying to inform you of something, all you have to do is listen or get the information yourself. They don't impose their will on you or anyone, so labelling anyone different than you is out of line. Power to them & power to those who choose to eat meat. It's a choice, just like choosing to practice religion, or choosing to be a Democrat or Republican. These are very personal choices & nobody should ridiculed or made to feel bad because of their choice....the bottom line is, when you believe in something, you tend to share it. Information is power & having the right to choose is too. Don't get angry when people are trying to share their bit of knowledge or education with you. Just be yourself & make your own decisions without compromising anyone's dignity, including yours!

— 206.✗.✗.12
4

November 3, 2012, 10:44am

Been a vegetarian 39 years...reason is not because I LOve animals...its because I hate Vegetables...!! horrible little Xfgagstds!.Kill vegetables every day.
.

— 139.✗.✗.6
4

April 8, 2014, 5:25pm

I stopped eating meat about 4 months ago really because I felt like when I ate meat it seamed to just sit in my stomach and made me feel sick, now I can't believe how much better I feel! I do eat fish and dairy tho. One of the side effects of going meatless is I also lost 25 lbs!

— 67.✗.✗.191
2

April 10, 2013, 7:13pm

I lost so much weight trying a vegetarian diet that I had to put another notch in my leather belt.

— 98.✗.✗.71
2

December 14, 2011, 5:38pm

to the man asking if we would let our children go hungry or feed them a tasty burger, who's father was man enough to hunt and if we don't want to eat meat then fine stop forcing it upon others. You are being hypocritical, you are trying to demean others by saying your father was 'man enough'. Well, I am WOMAN enough, to find just as many nutrients and delicious foods for my child with my lifestyle. So who are YOU to judge us and what we believe. Yes, eating meats has been around since the beginning of time and is quite natural for most, but while you are typing on your laptop maybe you need to think about how many things have changed in all that time and there are plenty of other options out there for many people. You think that because you sit over there and say that we shouldn't press our beliefs, maybe you shouldn't press yours. And you are with your examples of why it's more beneficial to eat meat. So, like you said, you have your beliefs and we'll have ours. Maybe you should think next time before you think you're making a valid argument.

— 68.✗.✗.248
2

November 27, 2011, 2:08am

I have just read everyone's comments. It's amazing how we treat each other. No wonder countries have trouble getting along, when we can't even get along on a plain informative site. Wow!

I came here to get information on how to become a vegetarian. It pains me to know animals are being tortured to feed us; as I look at my little dog and love her like she was my baby, I wonder what is the difference between her life and a cows. Then I start to think about how we can eat cow and if I would want to eat my dog. Of course the answer is no way.

I have not used leather in years to prevent encouraging the sale and killing of the animals for it.

I have to admit I naturally hated meat as a child, and was forced to eat it anyway, so now i love meat and am not sure how to stop eating it. But I do want to stop, so gathering information on what to replace it with in my menu, and how will it affect me physically.

I also feel that ALL life, including plants, are beautiful and sacred. But I also believe that the circle of life is to eat what we need and to not waste, as the process goes on with our elimination and back into the earth.

I do not condemn those who love meat because I get it. I am a person who just cannot face a plate of meat knowing it used to be breathing, living, and is just like me - meat. It pains me the thought of eating an animal - I love animals so much.

There are animals that are vegetarians - they don't eat meat, and yet they are big enough to look like they do. It's awesome to know that ..

Play safe here, nobody is here to do anything but get information. So why bash each other? Get along people - pls.

— 69.✗.✗.232
2

March 10, 2010, 2:51am

Why does it bother someone so much what someone else is eating? Believe what you want, eat what you want, and don't worry about what other people do.

— 65.✗.✗.9
2

January 25, 2010, 6:49am

WE ARE ANIMALS..
I don't understand how we can justify the killing of something that has just as much of a capacity to feel pain, and emotions as we do. Anyone who doesn't think animals can feel is seriously out of touch with reality, and comparing the consumption of plants to that of an animal is a tremendously stupid thing to do. I truly fear for our planet when people can't be bothered to make such simple decisions, when a beings life is a stake.

— 67.✗.✗.53
2

July 1, 2009, 10:40pm

Sorry, but if you eat eggs you are not a vegan, even if your chickens are raised in humane conditions. You would be an ovo-vegetarian and props to you for eating your protein from a humane source.
I'm pretty sure that B12 is only in animal products, however it may be in fruits and vegetables as well, just in minuscule amounts, so I would recommend taking a supplement anyways.
Also, I disagree with the person who says we are changing our nature by being vegetarian. Yes, our bodies are built to eat, process, and digest vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and meats, but think of how few people really eat all of those food each day. Most of us eat refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup every day which our body is not designed to eat, and anyways most humans always try to "improve" themselves, which could be changing their "nature." I don't believe someones nature is fixed. Our bodies and our personalities are malleable.

— 71.✗.✗.57
2

May 10, 2014, 11:52am

For all vegans, a pig wouldnt hesitate to eat you if you died in its sty

— 62.✗.✗.93
1

April 29, 2014, 5:26pm

I'll go fruitloop the day lions, wolves and thousands of other carnivorous animals stop eating meat also, until then I will enjoy my double BigMac with extra bacon and nuggets on the side :-)

— 24.✗.✗.87
1

February 24, 2014, 4:07pm

I guess I can sort of understand not eating meat, but why do you not eat eggs or dairy? You do know that those eggs in the grocery store are unfertilized and would never hatch, don't you? Cows give milk, which is made to make cheese, butter, cream, etc. No harm is done to the cow. If the cow is not milked, it will cause complications and possibly death. Did you know that? We raise our own meat and also hunt and fish. I will buy meat, but only when I am out of "fresh" meat from our backyard. If animals were not killed to feed us, they would go extinct. If everyone was vegan or vegetarian, it would cause more harm to animals.

— 98.✗.✗.56
1

February 20, 2014, 9:01pm

Hey even birthday cake gots eggs in it.........no cake or ice cream. Life jus Aint worth livin

— 66.✗.✗.3
1

December 21, 2013, 6:50am

Veganism and vegetarianism are both personal choices, just like being carnivorous. However, animals don't have that choice as they are predisposed to instinctually partaking in or obstaining from meat consumption. As an obstainer, I find that many people assume that I do not condone a carnivorous appetite and thus undermine them as a person. However, I feel more pressure from others to partake in meat consumption than support in my abstinence, and that's disappointing.

— 184.✗.✗.63
1

September 1, 2013, 4:23pm

guys lets not use our emotions when dealing with the topic but rather we should face facts.the planet we are living in is no longer safe for us,everything need someone who do things very careful and effectively.i can hear the comments that are uttered so its wise to take the right advises that are free from emotions because emotions blind the person from hearing the truth.

— 62.✗.✗.94
1

June 17, 2013, 8:22pm

people lets use common sense it is scientifically proven that cholesterol in meat is not safe for our life since it causes many diseases like high blood pressure and heart attack and stroke.i do not know you can kill yourself like this with something that is not safe to use. i know people want to increase their life expectancy but why do you eat ignorantly? come on people meat is the great killer in the world of today that any kingdom that ever killed even in the world war.safe your life by eating herbs which are plants.

— 196.✗.✗.2
1

May 9, 2013, 4:53am

One looks at the animal kingdom and says "Look at all the animals eating each other, it is natural" I say yes, it is natural for animals to behave like animals. It is basic knowledge to know fruits and vegetables are healthy. Is it also common knowledge that meat is healthy? If the answer is not clear, then more people should be seeking light on the subject. Overall we are to attached to the pleasure from good tasting foods, instead of the food that is good. Be conscious of what you eat. Would you rather kill your food or grab it from the earth it.

— 70.✗.✗.140
1

April 7, 2013, 1:50am

Hey, weve evolved over millions of years and as evidenced from the assortment of teeth, some for grinding, some for tearing, its obvious we are designed to comsume both. The problen is with the food supply. It has been tainted by man's greedy nature towards greed. So they inject everything with growth hormones, antibiotics, keep the animals in very dirty enviroments full of disease, bacteria, and of course this gets in the meat and transferred to us. Anyways I eat small pprtions, I buy the more expensive steroid/growth hormone free. And eat alot of organic veggies and fruits. I stay away from cheese and milk. Almond milk is my choice, its great. Stay away from refined white sugar, aspartame, corn syrup, soda, no fried or frozen micro-wave crap, etc. I feel great at 53 and look it too.

— 24.✗.✗.47
1

August 15, 2012, 7:04pm

wake up people!eating flesh or dead body of animals is no more safe.Run for your life now!Save it for yourself and for those who love and need you.

— 196.✗.✗.2
1

October 27, 2011, 3:36am

Thank you for the information. For anyone who thinks that people are crazy for not eating meat, you might want to consider doing a little research about the "benefits" that so many of you are claiming. A simple web search for "animal protein and cancer" will reveal some shocking results. Some of you (me included) are being irresponsible with your own lives. I love to eat meat, but I just don't think the risks are worth it anymore.

— 98.✗.✗.65
1

June 19, 2011, 9:39pm

I'm curious. Are there any Obstetritians or Pediatricians viewing this? I wonder how this effects unborn, developing babies? I hear so much about how supplements are not absorbed into the body as well as receiving the nutrients from the actual food sources. Would a Vegan diet not be harmful or lacking to the propper developement of an embrio?

AJP

— 173.✗.✗.111
1

November 23, 2010, 12:08am

i don't understand why non vegans and non vegetarians have taken it upon themselves to locate this website and thrash others about their beliefs. i mean seriously, have you nothing better to do with your lives? i've recently made the decision to go vege and i'm really happy about it. it is tough and i would appreciate some advice from others like myself. you all (non vegans and non vegetarians) may have a problem with the lifestyle but it is what makes people happy. live your own life and have some respect please.

— 190.✗.✗.226
1

October 22, 2010, 1:12pm

didn't you just see what i wrote? 1 acre of land will produce 250lbs of beef (animal meat) while 1 acre will produce 40,000 lbs of potatoes. You think there will be more Hunger if the world is vegan? I don't think so. "The smartest thing we could do as a human race is be Vegan". http://www.365vegan.com

— 24.✗.✗.111
1

October 5, 2010, 1:07pm

I'm pretty sure we are on a vegan/vegetarian informational website. So, to all the people that took offense and spoke arrogantly & defensively towards the vegans/vegetarians that commented... why dont you redirect yourself to a more properly suited site for whatever your beliefs are. Nobody thats here to learn is interested in the stupidity numerous people have displayed. They are free to state their reasons for being vegan/vegetarian. Go find a meat eaters website and talk your smack there if you are still so defensive

— 74.✗.✗.55
1

September 23, 2009, 7:46pm

I really think that being vegetarian is only a transitional state to becoming a vegan. I just read an article on how vegan diet is more beneficial than vegetarian here http://evolvingwellness.com/posts/743/the-benefits-of-being-vegan-over-vegetarian/ - although it is still a choice to personal growth and evolution that only the individual can make.

— 64.✗.✗.57
1

August 24, 2009, 4:03am

But Vegan ARE holy-er than thou... Is that not easy to see. Think about. How can you call yourself a spiritual being if you exploit another living thing... I don't know. It just seems wrong to me. I'll even go as far as to shame on Tibetan monks for their butter and barley! Surely the village cow treated with respect and equality is more acknowledging, but really, how would you like it if people were tuggin on YOUR nipples all the time. That's just wrong... am I wrong, I don't know...?

— 69.✗.✗.114
1

June 4, 2009, 2:09am

Vitamin B12 can be found in citris and leafy green vegetables

— 67.✗.✗.108
1

May 3, 2014, 8:32pm

Really want to change my diet. I don't eat beef or pork but I eat fish and chicken. I don't drink milk nor do I eat cheese , but I cook in butter at times ... I want to become a vegetarian and I need help with food selections.

— 76.✗.✗.45
0

April 15, 2014, 10:53pm

i am still figuing out what im going to do......... i like eggs but if i go vegan then that is purrfect because i rarly eat eggs oor drink milk......... so what should i do.... btw the reason i am going one or the other is because i reasontly saw a clip on the news that is what they do to the animals!!!!!!! i am not pleased..... >:(

— 99.✗.✗.17
0

March 19, 2014, 12:56am

If its wronge to kill a animal isn't it wronge to kill all things living

— 172.✗.✗.170
0

October 17, 2013, 9:03pm

A plant based diet has been proven to be beneficial in GI cancers.
Now go argue with the top oncologists and convince them the typical meat eating diet is healthy <insert sarcasm>. Ha! You meat eaters are the ones supporting big Pharma! Thanks! CV disease & type 2 diabetes would be nearly non-existent IF Americans changed their diet to a plant based diet and walked a mile a day.

— 74.✗.✗.92
0

August 3, 2013, 1:35am

All I would like to say is to each their own. People have their right to choose whatever they want for their own life.. I just wish some would educate themselves before bashing others lifestyle.

— 132.✗.✗.78
0

June 11, 2012, 7:53am

The Paleolithic Diet (http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html) is the way to go, only eat things that need no fire to prepare. Potates...no good, as they are poisonous without cooking. Grains and legumes, uh uh, as they need to have their seed coat broken through heat to actually be digested. Use foods that are grown and able to be ingested without fire.
Also, spend 90 minutes watching this Youtube by Dr. Robert Lustig.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
It will change your life, Vegan, Vegetarian, Meat eater or whatever. Its the sugar that is getting us sick and causing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

— 173.✗.✗.46
0

May 24, 2012, 7:13pm

To all the people who are ignorant to the health of their diet and ridicule people who chose to eat a healthier diet and take control of their life style, please keep ur comments and less nutritional calories to yourself. A little education goes a long way!! It is difficult to completely change your diet especially if you have been eating a certain way for your entire life, it's not easy but it can be done u just need motivation. My motivation is to add 20 more years onto my life and not just add years, but add healthy and more productive years. My personal goal is to live until 100 and that is certainly not going to happen eating the foods that most people currently eat!

— 174.✗.✗.141
0

April 2, 2012, 4:52pm

Diana - I am on day 4 of juice fasting. Have lost 7 lbs. You asked where to go from here? I recommend the book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann. It is a plant based, nutrient rich diet. His research is thorough, including the China Project where they discovered that the group in China that didn't eat meat or dairy had almost no heart disease or cancer. My husband and I are going to follow a plant based diet after our juice fast. That doesn't mean we are vegetarian or vegan necessarily. Philosophicly we aren't in that group. We just want to keep our weight down, feel good and avoid cancer and heart disease. And eventally will probably add fish or chicken once a week. Still not sure about milk though. May try almond or soy milk.

— 71.✗.✗.234
0

February 2, 2012, 5:02pm

The oceans of the world are nothing but giant food farms; the largest meat market in the Solar System. Billions of creatures are swallowed whole by other creatures each hour. The entire ecosystem is founded upon creatures consuming creatures, from the largest fish to the smallest fungus. Does “Mother” have no conscience? This is obviously the way the Nature works. She doesn’t seem to be impressed by vegans.

— 24.✗.✗.30
0

January 8, 2012, 5:32pm

There is an ever-increasing number of vegans who merely wish to eat healthier and/or counteract the effects of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We do not worship the sanctity of animal life over human life and do not carry much of the socio-political baggage of the traditional "vegan" crowd. I enjoy wearing leather (especially my 30-yr.-old motorcycle jacket) and while I envy my meateater friends, I hold no ill will towards them.

— 74.✗.✗.90
0

December 14, 2011, 5:47pm

for people questioning a fetus getting proper nutrients, I know that iron and protein are huge factors. I am anemic and have been since I was little. I grew up in a meat eating family and I took supplements. No, they are not enough. However, as I got older and educated myself, you can find iron and protein in many other sources of food. I eat bean patty's for my burger. Beans, all sorts of beans are an amazing source of both. And they are REAL food so your body, and the fetus will absorb them directly. If you do enough research, any peds doctor will have to agree that you can get those nutrients from many other sources than meat and as long as the fetus/children are getting it, it doesn't matter where from (except pill form)

— 68.✗.✗.248
0

September 10, 2011, 4:32pm

I'm a card carrying member of P.E.T.A. - People Eating Tasty Animals. Humans can eat whatever is available - and have for milennia. Sometimes we have no choice! Would you rather watch your hungry child waste away, or feed him or her a tasty burger? No choice there, people! My dad was man enough to hunt so he could put food on the table. Grocery stores aren't in business for philanthropic purposes - they're in it for the profit, so buying groceries isn't always an option. Therefore, meat, which is readily available and VERY nutritious and quite delicious if cooked correctly, then WHY NOT?? If it's offensive to you, then don't eat it. But don't go around preaching to we meat eaters how you're somehow better than us - THAT'S offensive.

— 66.✗.✗.174
0

July 30, 2011, 3:42am

A couple of clarifications here for earlier posters: Mr. "cows give milk for life" - A mature dairy cow will provide peak milk production for only 40 to 60 days after calving (giving birth), they are then bred and give birth again about 300 days later. So a dairy cow averages one birth per year. What happens to those calves? A few females are eventually used for dairy, but the vast majority is raised for eventual slaughter. To Mr. "an acre provides 40,000 lbs of potatoes without killing animals" - a single acre harvested mechanically kills thousands of small mammals either directly by the machinery or through the subsequent exposure to predators and elements after the vegetative cover is removed. I support anyone's right to choose vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous diet, but I cannot abide shallow and incomplete thinking.

— 97.✗.✗.236
0

share

Up next

Paleo vs. Vegan