Vegan, vegetarian, fisherman, flexible – there are many names for different types of diets and eating habits. But what is the difference between vegan and plant-based?

A vegan diet excludes all animal products, such as meat, butter, eggs, dairy products, honey and even most gelatins. If a food comes from an animal in any way, it is forbidden. Veganism can also involve certain ethical and moral beliefs that go beyond food.

A plant-based diet focuses on whole, raw foods — whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. It does not exclude meat, but meat consumption is usually kept to a minimum.

A complete, plant-based diet does not always have the same ethical meanings as veganism, nor does it affect anything beyond nutrition. But in fact it is possible to eat a diet that is vegan and with a complete, plant-based diet.

People sometimes confuse veganism with vegetarianism. Like vegans, vegetarians do not eat meat, but some may eat other animal products such as milk, yogurt, honey and eggs.

The term “vegan” was coined in 1944 to describe people who do not eat meat or animal products for ethical reasons. A vegan diet does not include animal-based foods or products.

This means that there is no meat, milk, eggs, fish or poultry and no food made with animal products like butter, cheese and honey. The veganism used (and still sometimes) goes beyond diet in lifestyle and product selection.

A dedicated vegan will not wear any clothes with animal-derived fabrics and will only use vegan beauty products. For some people, it’s more than just a way to eat – it’s a conscious lifestyle.

Today, the term “vegan” is not used as strictly as it once was. It may still refer to ethical / social concerns other than nutritional ones, but some people eat vegan for reasons unrelated to their feelings about animals.

The use of antibiotics, human growth hormone and other artificial methods to enhance the growth and development of animals has led many people to adopt a vegan lifestyle for nutritional rather than ethical reasons. For example, some people adopt an organic, vegan diet to protect the environment and themselves from harmful chemicals.

Manufacturers have captured the popularity of eating vegan and now make vegan biscuits, crackers and other processed foods. Although they do not contain animal products, these foods are often deficient in nutrients.

So just because a food is vegan does not mean it is the healthiest option. Check those labels.

This type of diet emphasizes whole, raw foods, starting with plants. Whole fruits and vegetables and whole grains are the foundation.

Unlike a vegan diet, a plant-based diet does not exclude meat or animal products. But because plants are the basis, meat and other animal products occupy the second place. Meat is usually eaten sparingly, but can include everything from beef and pork to poultry and seafood.

A plant-based diet also highlights non-meat protein sources like nuts and seeds and beans (a vegan diet, as needed, also does this).

Remember those vegan foods packaged, processed? They are usually limited to a complete, plant-based diet, although they are technically plant-based.

Concentrating on whole, raw foods ensures maximum access to vitamins, minerals and nutrients in their natural packages. Whole foods also tend to contain more fiber and less fat than most processed products.

Vegan and plant-based diets can be healthy if you monitor your food.

A 2020 study found that eating a plant-based diet improved blood pressure. However, it was also found that low quality plant foods like refined cereals and sugary drinks had the opposite effect on blood pressure. It all depends on how you implement the diet.

Start by understanding your basic nutritional needs and where your nutrients come from.

For example, animal products are the most common sources of protein and vitamin B12. People who follow a strict vegan diet are more at risk for developing B12 deficiency, which can lead to serious health consequences.

People who follow a vegan diet should carefully plan their diets to include B12 fortified foods and consider taking a complex B12 or B supplement.

Vegan and strict vegetarian diets are also usually low in vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine and essential fatty acids. While some of these nutrients can be found in plant sources, it is difficult to get optimal amounts in a vegan diet.

For example, although plant-based foods like flaxseed contain omega-3 fatty acids ALA, converting ALA to the important omega-3 fats DHA and EPA is extremely inefficient. Therefore, people following a vegan diet should consider algae oil supplementation, a plant source of EPA and DHA.

Also, although some vegan foods are fortified with vitamin D, many people are deficient or low in this nutrient. Taking a vitamin D supplement can help those on a plant-based diet maintain optimal vitamin D levels.

Horseradish and tofu are good vegan sources of calcium, and beans and nuts are good sources of vegan protein.

When done carefully, a vegan diet can be incredibly healthy. Vegan diets have been linked to lower levels of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.

Research suggests that eating red meat and processed meats may increase the risk of certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer. But it is your whole diet, and not individual foods, that matters most about cancer prevention.

More research is needed to determine the best diet for the prevention of cancer and other diseases. But existing evidence strongly suggests that eating nutrient-rich plant foods — such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans — may protect against the development of chronic diseases.

A complete, plant-based diet, if done properly, can also provide excellent nutrition. But just like with a vegan diet, you need to be purposeful in getting the right nutrients.

Because whole foods are free of the fats and preservatives added to many processed foods, eating more of them can help ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs.

You can still eat meat and animal products to get protein, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. Just consider which ones to choose. Chicken iron and fatty acids from salmon and other fish are excellent choices.

Although red meat is an excellent source of nutrients, it is best to choose raw red meat products whenever possible and choose other sources of animal-based protein, such as chicken, fish, eggs and turkey. , often.

If you have certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, or they occur in your family, each of these two diets can help manage or even prevent these diseases. Both diets are usually high in fiber and low in saturated fats, and each can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Many factors can influence which diet is right for you, so it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure you are getting the right nutrition for your individual needs.

The right diet for you depends on your reason for changing your eating habits. Are you changing a moral or ethical belief, or are you strictly looking to lose a few pounds or get the best food?

A complete, plant-based diet is usually less restrictive and makes it easier to meet all of your nutritional needs. You can implement this diet in a way that works for you. If your goal is to eat healthier, the whole food path gives you more flexibility.

But if some moral and ethical issues weigh too much on your mind, a vegan diet may be the right choice for you. Social, environmental and animal welfare concerns are all reasons to consider a vegan diet.

You need to be more careful about meeting all your nutritional needs when following a vegan diet. Some vegan foods are highly processed, and although they are animal-free, they may not be the most nutritious options. Make sure you include plenty of whole foods in your diet as well. It all has to do with balance.