Vegans and vegetarians, are among one of the most popular terms used these days. For some they are a hip trend while for others they are a lifestyle. So why and how did these two terms become so popular? Often people confuse veganism and vegetarianism to be the same thing. However, that is not the case. Let’s take a look at how the two diets are different from each other.
Vegetarian diet is a diet that is mainly based on the consumption of vegetables and involves complete abstinence of meat in any form. However, vegetarian diet does not exclude consumption of eggs, honey or dairy products.
Vegan diet is a much strict diet that only allows consumption of plant based foods. Vegans observe a complete abstinence from not only meat products but from any sort of products that have been derived from animals such as eggs, dairy products and even honey.
Why People choose to be vegetarians or vegans
There are different reasons for people to be following vegan and vegetarian diets.
- Philosophical or ideological reasons.
- Health conditions like lactose intolerance or other allergies.
- Religious reasons.
While vegetarianism is more of a diet, veganism is a much vaster practice that goes way beyond eating preferences. However, both veganism and vegetarianism have certain health benefits as well as some setbacks.
Let’s take a look at them one by one:
Advantages of Vegetarian Diet
- According to a research published in Journal of American Medical Association, vegetarian diet has proven to be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
- Veganism is also found to have a good impact on skin as it is based on foods rich in antioxidants. Since vegetarians do not completely avoid animal derived products, this means they have better consumption of proteins and other nutrients as compared to vegans. Vegetarian diet has proven to treat mild to moderate skin acne. Vegetarian diet also leads to glowing and fresh looking skin.
- Vegetarian diet is also linked to improve digestive health and preventing chronic diseases like colon cancers and ulcers. Vegetarian diet is generally based on fibrous and nutrient rich foods that keep the gut healthy.
Disadvantages of Vegetarian Diet
- Vegetarian diet is a restricted form of diet that limits the intake of sufficient nutrients. It therefore requires to be administered carefully to ensure a proper balance intake of our body requirements.
- Vegetarian diet can lead to deficiency resulting in muscular weakness and general fatigue.
- In case of a renal dysfunction disease, one must be very careful to avoid certain plant based foods that could limit the intake of adequate nutrients.
Advantages of Vegan Diet
- Vegan diet can help people will conditions like lactose intolerance maintain a healthy and safe lifestyle.
- Vegan diet has recently gained popularity for its environment friendly nature.
- Maintaining a vegan lifestyle can prove to be quite costly. A lot of vegan products that provide substitutes for animal derived products (Soy milk, almond milk, margarines) have a very high production cost and are therefore relatively expensive as compared to the animal based products.
- Food choices for vegan diet followers are already quite limited and restricted. This could become even more challenging for people having conditions like gluten allergy.
Disadvantages of Vegan Diet
- Humans are omnivores by nature. This means that having animal derived foods is an essential part of our biological make up. Therefore, adopting a vegan lifestyle can leave our bodies deficient of certain nutrients that are our natural requirement.
- Avoiding meat and dairy products can therefore limit our protein intake for which we would need to make up by using dietary supplements.
- According to an article posted in the insider, the correlation between good skin and vegan diet in itself is a conundrum. As mentioned earlier, vegan diet is rich in antioxidants. However, absolute abstinence from dairy products, eggs and honey could lead to certain deficiencies in the skin. For example, the low level of fat intake could result in insufficient moisture. Since the food choices in this case are very limited, it could be quite a challenge to keep a balanced between the intake of starchy foods and mineral rich foods.
- According to a research, veganism might not be as environment friendly or practical after all. The reason behind this idea is since not all land around the world is fertile or fit for agriculture, producing a vegetable based diet on large scales could be a big challenge on many levels.