Nowadays, we usually have at least one family member or friend who has adopted a vegan or plant-based lifestyle.

People are changing their diet more often to a vegan or a plant-based diet due to the ever-growing consciousness about animal rights and human health altogether.

The critical difference between a plant-based diet Vs. a vegan diet is in the lifestyle choices that people make. A vegan diet is not about the diet alone; it can reflect a person’s choice of clothing and other things they might use, whereas a plant-based diet only involves the diet itself.

You can read the rest of the article to understand the differences between a plant-based diet vs. vegan diet.

Difference Between a Plant-Based Diet Vs. a Vegan Diet

There have been a couple of different definitions, but most people generally agree on the critical differences between a plant-based and a vegan lifestyle. To understand the differences between these two diets, you need to understand them separately first.

What Is Veganism?

Being a vegan doesn’t stop the diet itself. Veganism includes the lifestyle choices that a person makes every day. Veganism includes a lifestyle where you avoid consuming, exploiting, or using any kind of animal or animal products as much as it’s possible realistically.

This can leave room for independent barriers and preferences. But, as a whole, the main intent is to make sure that the least amount of harm is done to all animals through these life choices.

In addition to avoiding animal products in vegan and vegetarian diets, vegans usually avoid buying things that were tested on any kind of animal as well. This includes shoes, clothing, accessories, household goods, and products of personal care as well. Some vegans even exclude immunization and medications that have been tested on animals or use any kind of animal product. Unlike vegetarians, vegans avoid consuming any kind of animal by-products like eggs, honey, and dairy products.

Related post: How to get iron on a vegan diet?

What Is a Plant-Based Diet?

If you’re on a plant-based diet or thinking of being on one, then you should know that it only involves the diet and no other lifestyle choices.

People who are on a plant-based diet or vegetable-based diet usually eat a healthy diet that is mostly composed of plant foods. People on plant-based eating can still eat animal-derived foods; plants in this diet are a ratio, not a rule.

Other people may be on a diet called “whole food, plant-based” (WFPB). Their diet includes whole plant foods, which could be minimally processed or completely raw.

Some people on a WFPB diet will exclude processed grains and oils, but vegans and people on other plant-based diets may eat these kinds of foods.

Whole food diets are not always vegan, and vice-versa. This is because there’s a lot of processed vegan food. For example, there are certain varieties of hot dogs, bacon, chicken nuggets, boxed macaroni and cheese, and even cheese slices that are both processed and vegan. These kinds of food items are not fit for WFPB diets.

So, a plant-based diet may or may not include animal products, and a WFPB diet steers clear from any processed foods, packaged food, and oils. Veganism excludes all types of animal and animal-related by-products from their diet and their lives, regardless of how processed they are.

Can You Be Both Vegan and Plant-Based?

The simple answer is “yes.” You can be on both a vegan diet and a plant-based diet at the same time because these diets don’t divide people based on their lifestyle choices.

Many vegans start their veganism trying to avoid all animal products in their diet and life for environmental or ethical reasons. But sooner or later, these people may or may not start adopting a WFPB diet to live a better, healthier life.

On the contrary, some people start out being on a WFPB diet for health reasons and later decide that they want to get into veganism by avoiding all animal products not just in their diets but also their whole lives.

These two lifestyles can go together if you want them to. A lot of people may start with one of the diets and convert to the other because of health, ethical, or environmental reasons.

Whole Food Plant-Based Advantages

There are a lot of different great outcomes you can benefit from a “whole foods plant-based” diet. Here are a few:

Weight Loss

A lot of studies prove that plant-based diets can be beneficial for weight loss.

The WFPB diet has high fiber content. Combine that with the banning of processed foods, and you’re going to lose a lot of additional weight.

There have been about 12 studies that included over 1100 people that have shown that plant-based diets cause more weight loss than those who aren’t on these kinds of diets. There was another study done on 65 obese and overweight people showed that those who did the WFPB diet significantly lost more weight than the group of people that were on a control diet.

Heart Disease

People who do a WFPB diet are known to have a healthy heart. A study done on over 200,000 people has shown that those who follow this kind of diet had a reduced risk of developing heart disease than the people who didn’t follow this kind of diet.


The risk of getting diabetes is reduced with a WFPB as well. A study done on over 200,000 people has shown that those who follow this kind of diet had a lower risk of 36 percent of developing diabetes than the people who didn’t follow this kind of diet.


This diet has also proven to decrease the risk of different types of cancer. A study done on over 200,000 people has shown that those who follow this kind of diet had a lower risk of cancer in their gastrointestinal systems, essentially for those people who proceeded with a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet.

Cognitive Decline

Eating mostly fruits and vegetables might help slow Alzheimer’s disease as well as prevent or slow down cognitive decline in older adults. Plant foods have a high number of antioxidants that help slow down Alzheimer’s disease as well as reverse many kinds of cognitive deficits.

Categories of Plant-Based Diets and Their Health Benefits

There’re a lot of different plant-based diets, and they avoid animal products to different extents depending on the diets. Here are different plant-based diets with their respective health benefits.

Vegan Diet

There has been a study in 2021 that shows that if you’re on a well-balanced, planned, and strict vegan diet, it’ll protect you against metabolic syndrome, obesity, and different heart diseases.

But, if you’re on a stern plant-based diet, you must make sure that you are consuming all the necessary nutrients that you need to stay healthy and fit. For instance, you might need extra supplements for your nutritional needs to be fulfilled, such as Vitamin B12. You can also consume foods that are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

According to the same study, if you follow a vegan diet, you may fall victim to a few possible deficiencies listed below:




Omega-3 fatty acids


Vitamin B12

Vitamin D


You may want to consult a professional dietitian if you’re going to be on a strictly plant-based diet.

Vegetarian Diet

If you’re on a vegetarian diet, then you must stay away from seafood, meat, and any other animal ingredients like gelatin. You can still eat animal by-products such as honey, dairy products, and eggs.

The key difference between a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet is that vegetarians exclude foods that may or may not involve animal killings but don’t exclude all animal by-products as vegans do in their diet.

Foods that are harmless to any animal, such as dairy, eggs, and honey, aren’t avoided by vegetarians, unlike vegans who agree that eating such products is cruel to the animals.

The American Dietetic Association says that vegetarian diets might decrease the risks of different chronic conditions and that this diet is nutritionally adequate.

But different kinds of vegetarian diets may vary in nutritional benefits. So, even though these diets have many health benefits, their quality may vary from one another.

Pescatarian Diet

Pescatarians are vegetarians who exclude meat, eggs, and dairy from their diet but still eat fish. This kind of diet plan not only gives you the benefits of a plant-based diet but also ensures that you get all the beneficial nutrients from eating fish.

The American Heart Association or the AHA suggests consuming fish, especially consuming oily fish like salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel, at least twice per week. These fish have large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease the risks of stroke and heart disease.

Raw Vegan Diet

In this raw vegan diet, you’re only allowed to eat plant foods cooked in a certain way, if at all. The food is either heated to very low temperatures or completely raw or uncooked.

This diet avoids carbohydrate sources like rice, bread, and potatoes. But a lot of people who follow this raw vegan diet might use dehydrators for making bread using sprouted grains. They might include sprouted seeds, beans, and grains as sources of carbohydrates and protein for maintaining balance in their diet.

Research shows that plant-based diets as such are good for gut health and are also anti-inflammatory. It can also reduce the risk of different chronic conditions. But more research needs to be done on the health benefits of a raw vegan diet.

An old study of 2005 that involved 201 adults shows that if you follow a raw vegan diet strongly, then it’ll help decrease triglycerides and cholesterol in your body. However, a raw vegan diet may also lower the important lipoprotein cholesterol.

In the same study, the participants had an increase in their homocysteine levels because of a deficiency in vitamin B12. High homocysteine can be a risk factor for heart diseases and stroke.

Pegan Diet

In a pegan diet, you combine paleo and vegan eating approaches together. Those who follow a pegan diet usually consume plant foods but may also include some amounts of grains, animal products, and beans. A low-glycemic diet like the pegan diet stays away from processed foods and added sugars as a whole food diet does.

If you follow a pegan diet, then you gain the benefits of a Paleolithic diet, such as the reduced risk of inflammatory conditions, obesity, and even some cancers.

Flexitarian Diet

A flexitarian diet can also be called a semi-vegetarian diet. It is primarily vegetarian, although it also includes fish or meat.

The health benefits of a flexitarian diet, according to one study in 2016, may include weight loss, improved metabolism, balanced blood pressure, decreased risk of diabetes, and decreased inflammatory bowel disease.

You can also achieve the food intake that professionals suggest if you’re on a flexitarian diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that about three-quarters of the United State’s people exceed or meet the recommendation for poultry, egg, and meat intake.

However, about 90 percent of flexitarians don’t meet these guidelines for fish and other seafood intakes, and more than half of the people in the United States don’t meet the recommended intake of seeds, soy products, and nuts.

Environmental Advantages of Plant-Based Diets And Vegan Diets

In a recent 2018 study, it has been shown that eating a diet has a lot of animal-based foods and foods that are higher in calories can have an impact on the environment as listed below:

There has been an increase in the world’s nitrogen fertilizer by 860 percent since 1961, which has caused water pollution and harmed both wildlife and humans in other ways.

This leads to an increased threat to biodiversity in agricultural lands.

There’s a risk of many species going extinct because of this.

Because of this kind of diet, the emissions of greenhouse gases have increased as well.

This study has concluded that if more people were to adopt the plant-based lifestyle, the global environmental benefit that we’ll see is going to be huge.

It’ll also help with the gas emissions of the global greenhouse by a reduction of 30 to 60 percent by 2050.


The difference between a plant-based diet Vs. a vegan diet is of ever-growing concern nowadays. Veganism is like a philosophy, but a plant-based diet is just a diet. Both of these diets or lifestyles can blend into one another at any time in someone’s life. It depends on their health, ethics, and personal choice.

Both of these diets can do wonders for the body, mind, soul, and even the environment. It’d be my honor if any one of you converted to one of these lifestyles after reading this article.

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