Plant-Based & Vegan are NOT the Same Thing

Do you know the difference between eating styles like keto, vegan, flexitarian, and pescatarian? The world of nutrition is rife with confusion and misinformation—especially when it comes to diets.

Take the terms “vegan” and “plant-based”, for instance. Do you really understand the difference between the two of them? They sound similar, but believe it or not, they can describe very different styles of eating. Let’s break them down!

woman eating a vegan veggie burger with fries

Vegan

Okay, you likely don’t live under a rock, so you probably know what a vegan is—but let’s go over it just to make extra sure.

Vegans eat ZERO animal products. That includes fish, butter, yogurt, and honey.

However, just because vegans aren’t eating animals, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re eating more plants than the rest of us. In fact, you technically could be vegan while subsisting on a diet purely of processed foods.

The term ‘vegan’ doesn’t imply that a person is necessarily consuming more vegetables, even though the word itself has a very vegetal sound. It simply means that a person is consuming zero animal products, usually for environmental or ethical reasons.

You can’t be vegan part-time.

Friends eating smoothie bowls topped with fresh tropical fruit

Whole Food Plant-Based  

You’ve probably heard more and more about plant-based diets recently. It’s a very trendy way of eating right now—even Beyoncé is prioritizing more plant goodness in her life.

The interesting thing about the plant-based diet is that it doesn’t emphasize what you don’t eat. Instead, it centers around what you primarily eat—plants.

Whole food plant-based diets are packed with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Unlike a vegan diet, this diet generally limits or completely abstains from processed foods, especially white flour and refined sugars. (You know those vegan cupcakes your friend shared with you that one time? Yeah, those don’t work in the framework of a whole food plant-based diet.)

The reason plant-based eating is trendy is because it’s an easy way to eat healthier while boasting a lighter environmental footprint. As the sustainability of our food system becomes a larger and larger part of the global conversation, plant-based eating is one of the few diets that is uniquely beneficial to both your health and the health of the planet.

Of course, veganism and plant-based eating can overlap. Someone on a plant-based diet may or may not consume animal products. And it’s important to note that someone can be a plant-based vegan—which is arguably the healthiest type of vegan. But remember, the two terms are not interchangeable.

If you’re not ready to go vegan—quitting all animal products for good—a plant-based diet is a great way to dip your toe in. You can eat plant-based two or three days a week without completely changing your lifestyle. A plant-based diet isn’t all or nothing, and changing your diet by a few meals a week can go a long way towards a healthier planet and a healthier you!

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75 comments

Gino C
Gino C9 hours ago

tyfs

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Olivia H
Olivia H6 days ago

thanks very much

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Mike R
Mike R8 days ago

Thanks

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Michael F

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Mike R
Mike R12 days ago

Thanks

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers13 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Paulo Reeson
Paulo Reeson13 days ago

ty

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Sarah A
Sarah A14 days ago

thanks very much

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Bettina S
Bettina S14 days ago

Calling a diet "plant based diet" and priding themselves of eating non-processed whole foods, but then allowing a few times a week to eat meat? Really?? Just from the words themselves - if you eat "plant" based, you shouldn't eat animals. Why call it plant based then??

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Donna T
Donna T15 days ago

thank you

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