Vegan vs Vegetarian, what are the differences?

With the multiplication of food scandals, the trivialization of GMOs, the hegemony of the food industry… different reasons can lead us to modify our consumption habits. Some people become vegetarian, or vegan. Here is a close-up of these three dietary practices. What food rules do these consumers follow? What have they banned from their diet? Let’s decipher.



A little history

Vegetarianism is a dietary practice that can be traced back to ancient Greece. Many Greek philosophers were vegetarians, including Pythagoras, who is considered the father of vegetarianism. At first, people who excluded meat from their diet were called “Pythagoreans”. Later, vegetarianism conquered many other famous thinkers and scientists such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Vegetarianism, instructions for use

There are different categories of vegetarianism but we will focus on the overall definition of this term. Vegetarianism refers to a type of diet that excludes meat (red and white meat), fish, and seafood. However, some nuances can be discerned:

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism: the fact of consuming products from animals such as milk, or eggs
  • Lacto-vegetarianism: eating dairy products but not eggs
  • Semi-vegetarianism: excluding meat but consuming fish, seafood, or even poultry. This diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet.


Veganism is also called “strict vegetarianism”. Unlike vegetarianism, veganism is a diet that includes only foods from the plant world. Therefore, Vegans reject meat, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs, and other animal products such as honey.

This way of eating was created in 1944 by Donald Watson, officially the first follower of veganism. In 1948, the first Vegan Society was founded in the United States. It was not until the 1970s that veganism became popular in North America, thanks in particular to the World Vegetarian Congress.


Vegan, instructions for use

Veganism is not just a specific diet: it is above all a way of life. Veganism is a way of life and a way of consumption that seeks to exclude exploitation, suffering, and cruelty towards animals, whether it is for food, clothing, etc… A vegan tries to live without making animals suffer. Therefore, he excludes any product that harms animals in his food and other facets of his life. He doesn’t wear wool, he doesn’t wear leather; he doesn’t use cosmetics tested on animals, etc… The key concept of veganism is based on the refusal of animal exploitation.

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