Understanding the differences between vegetarian and vegan

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

The choice of a dietary method is a personal decision which can be motivated by various reasons, whether ethical, ecological or health. Vegetarianism and veganism are two dietary patterns that exclude the consumption of meat, but have certain differences. In this article, we help you understand these distinctions to help you make an informed choice.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Vegetarian: definition and principles

People who adopt a vegetarian diet choose not to consume meat, poultry, fish and seafood. They eat mainly vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits and nuts. However, depending on the individual, certain animal products may be included in their diet.


This is the most common type of vegetarianism. Ovo-lacto vegetarians consume eggs and dairy products, but not meat, fish or poultry. These people choose to continue to include certain foods of animal origin in their diet while reducing their environmental impact and avoiding participating in intensive farming.


Lacto-vegetarians are people who choose to consume dairy products, but not eggs or meat, fish and poultry. This approach allows us to continue to benefit from the nutritional benefits of dairy products while limiting animal exploitation.


This diet excludes the consumption of meat, fish, poultry and dairy products, but allows eggs. Ovo-vegetarians often view eggs as an important source of protein and essential nutrients, without contributing as much to animal exploitation as meat or milk production.

person cutting a green vegetable in front of round ceramic plates containing an assortment of sliced ​​vegetables, during the day

Vegan: definition and principles

Veganism, also called vegan diet, is a more strict dietary pattern than vegetarianism. It excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy, honey and royal jelly. Vegans eat only plants: vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruits and nuts.

The choice of veganism can be motivated by several reasons, including the protection of animals, the preservation of the environment and the search for better health.

Animal protection

Some people become vegan to take a stand against animal exploitation and often inhumane breeding conditions. By excluding all products of animal origin, they believe they are helping to reduce animal suffering and promote a lifestyle that is more respectful of living beings.

Preservation of the environment

Intensive livestock farming generates significant pollution and consumes a lot of natural resources (water, arable land, energy). Veganism therefore constitutes an ecological and sustainable choice to reduce your carbon footprint and limit the waste of resources.

Health Benefits

Scientific studies show that a vegan diet can benefit your health when it is well balanced. In particular, it would help prevent certain chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

How to make the right choice between vegetarianism and veganism?

Deciding whether to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet depends primarily on your personal beliefs and goals.

  • If you want to adopt a diet that is more respectful of the environment and animals without completely disrupting your lifestyle, vegetarianism can be a good compromise.
  • On the other hand, if you are convinced that animal exploitation should be completely abolished and you are ready to adopt a stricter lifestyle, veganism is probably the best option for you.

Whatever your choice, it is essential to plan your meals carefully to ensure sufficient nutrient intake. Do not hesitate to consult a health professional or use guides and resources to develop a healthy and balanced diet.