Vegan vs. Vegetarian
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Sports and Health

Vegan vs. Vegetarian

What's the difference?


  • Vegetarianism is a diet in which a person does not consume meat, including fish [WebMD].

  • Veganism is a diet, and often lifestyle, in which a person does not consume meat and products that contain animal byproducts [PETA].

  • A vegan lifestyle can also include cutting out non-food products that harm animals, such as cosmetics or clothing.
  • People make this choice of diet based on health benefits, religious reasons, or medical requirement [Time], [Harvard].



There are still many public opinions on what is healthy for the body [The Wall Street Journal]. While there are several clear benefits to a plant-based diet, there are also hidden negative consequences. Since diet is a personal choice, it is beneficial to know all the facts.



Each person consumes an average of 75 pounds of meat per year.7 Some believe this is a lifestyle that Earth cannot sustain indefinitely [United Nations University].




Many who follow a plant-based diet do so because they feel it is morally wrong to consume animals. This is a fight often led by PETA [PETA].



Enriched diet

Numerous studies reveal that a plant-based diet provides more medical benefits and contributes to a longer and healthier life [Harvard].


Missing nutrients 

Those who do not eat meat may be missing out on vitamin K and vitamin D, as well as protein and other nutrients [Live Strong Foundation].


Vegan dieters are at risk of deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D3. Dairy products are a common source of calcium in the American diet [Topics in Integrative Health Care].



Those maintaining a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle may spend more money than someone consuming a meat-based diet, as fresh produce can cost more [Metro].



Limited options

Although more people are choosing plant-based diets, there are not as many meat-free products available which can make the switch difficult [The New York Times].


  • PETA has created guides to shopping for a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle across various income levels.

  • Intensive farming, or "factory farming", causes harm to the environment that potentially outweighs the food it provides [The Guardian].

  • The plant versus meat-based diet debate is a persistent topic on a variety of social media sites.


  • Many refer to vegan as “plant-based" but there can be a big difference [The Huffington Post].

  • How will the debates on diets change as the population grows?

  • Do the animals we eat deserve the same treatment as our pets?

  • What might cause you to chose a plant-based diet?

Key Vocabulary