Both veganism and vegetarianism choose to follow a plant-based diet, but some things set them apart. The question now is, “Are vegans healthier than vegetarians?” Well, the question is a complex one that cannot be answered with a one-size-fits-all answer.
You might know that while both vegans and vegetarians do not eat meat, vegans have stricter diets that exclude the use of other animal-related products such as dairy, eggs, and honey.
What is veganism?
Veganism is a lifestyle that follows a plant-based diet with the exclusion of all animal products. Veganism aims to reduce animal cruelty and exploitation all over the world.
Historically, the term “vegan” was chosen from the combination of the first and last letters of “vegetarian.” By 1949, the first definition of veganism had been born. It has changed slightly over the years to become what it is known as today.
According to the latest definition from the Vegan Society, veganism is “a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of and cruelty to animals for food, clothing, or any other purposes.”
From this definition, veganism extends beyond eating a plant-based diet. Those who identify as vegans typically aim to exclude animal exploitation or cruelty in all aspects of their lives, including the clothes they wear, the cosmetics they use, and the leisure activities they take part in.
Benefits of Veganism
Vegan diets are known to be healthy since they are natural. Raw vegans have a healthier option to choose from with a lot of nutrients that the body needs.
Some of the major benefits of a vegan diet are that it’s higher in fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Some studies have found that vegans have a lower risk of certain health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. However, it is important to note that these studies are observational and do not prove causation.
What is vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism is less strict than veganism in the sense that those who follow a vegetarian diet refrain from consuming meat, fish, and poultry but can include animal products like dairy, eggs, and honey in their diet.
Benefits of Vegetarianism
Since vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products, it is easier for them to get the essential nutrients they need from these products. Some studies have found that vegetarians have a lower risk of obesity and a lower body mass index (BMI) compared to non-vegetarians.
Vegetarians tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Are Vegans Healthier Than Vegetarians?
Both vegan and vegetarian diets have a large variety of healthy options to choose from. It is difficult to say which diet is more healthy because both have their pros and cons.
For example, it is easier for vegetarians to get some essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D, which are mostly gotten from dairy products. On the other hand, vegans can keep their cholesterol levels down by avoiding dairy and eggs.
A vegan diet can offer potential health benefits, but vegans need to be mindful of nutrient intake. Vegetarians who consume dairy and eggs may have an easier time getting essential nutrients.
Both vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy if they are well-planned and nutritionally balanced. Ultimately, the key to good health is a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, regardless of whether they include animal products or not.