What is the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan?

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If you’ve recently begun researching vegetarian diets, you’ve probably come across a slew of strange vegetarian terms and categories, such as “vegan,” “ovo-lacto vegetarian,” and “semi-vegetarian.” You were probably wondering what the big deal was. After all, what’s so difficult about not eating meat?

And you were correct!

The distinctions between these vegetarian sub-categories are actually minor, but each is very important to the members of the groups. These distinctions are not arbitrary lines for them; they are important dietary or ethical decisions. Depending on your unique health concerns, you may want to be particularly careful about what foods you consume even as a vegatarian.

The different types of vegetarian diets are based on a person’s preference. Vegetarians choose their dietary lifestyle for a variety of reasons, including health concerns, a dislike of meat, or a love of animals.

If you’re looking to start a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, consider what types of foods you want to include or avoid when deciding what type of vegetarian you want to be. You don’t have to fall into one of these standard vegetarian categories but understanding them will help you consider your short-and long-term goals if you choose to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Let’s look at a few of the commonly practiced types of vegetarian groups:

Read also: Is it healthier to be a vegetarian?

The different types of Vegetarians



A vegetarian is a broad term for someone who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. This category includes vegans and various subcategories of vegetarians; however, it generally refers to someone with fewer dietary restrictions than a vegan.



The term “pescatarian” (also pescetarian) refers to people who avoid eating any animal flesh other than fish. This type of diet is becoming more popular, usually for health reasons or as a steppingstone to a fully vegetarian diet.


The term “semi-vegetarian” is used to describe someone who is not a vegetarian. Semi-vegetarian generally refers to someone who eats meat on occasion or does not eat meat but consumes poultry and fish.


Ovo-lacto vegetarians are vegetarians who eat eggs and milk but do not eat meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. This is the most populous group of vegetarians.


Ovo-vegetarian refers to someone who would be vegan if they did not consume eggs.


lacto vegetarian

Lacto-vegetarian refers to someone who would be vegan if they did not consume milk.

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raw vegan

Vegans are the most stringent subset of vegetarians. Vegans avoid all animal products and byproducts. Some people even avoid eating honey and yeast. Others refuse to wear clothing made from animal products.

Raw Vegan or Raw Food Diet

A raw vegan diet consists of unprocessed vegan foods that have not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit / 46 degrees Celsius. A “raw foodist” is someone who follows a raw vegan diet. This food trend is based on the belief that foods cooked above this temperature lose significant nutritional value and become harmful to the body.

Although there’s nothing wrong with wanting to know what group of vegetarian you would belong to, it’s important to remember that vegetarianism is a lifestyle. Try to stick with what works best for your overall health and avoid unnecessary food choices that could cause problems later on.

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