If you’ve been considering cutting down on your meat intake, then a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diet could be for you. People choose to follow these diets for various reasons, from health and environmental benefits to animal welfare concerns. But, what’s the difference between them? Well, read on to find out more!
Vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian diets: the basics
Vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets can seem quite similar as they all involve eating less meat; however, there are some differences to tell them apart.
Pescatarian diets eliminate all meat, for example, beef, pork, and chicken, but they still include seafood, dairy, and eggs.
Vegetarian diets eliminate all meat and fish, but they may still eat dairy and eggs. Although some people may choose to limit or avoid these products.
Vegan diets are much more restrictive and eliminate all products derived from animals, so no meat, fish, dairy, or eggs. In addition, some people on a vegan diet also avoid products made by insects, for example, honey.
What are the similarities between being vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian diets?
While there are several differences between following a vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian diet, all three exclude meat. Red meat, for example, beef, lamb, and pork, is rich in protein, B12, iron, and zinc. However, consuming red meat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke.
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In addition, all three diets emphasize a plant-based approach, eating predominantly:
- whole grains
- seeds and nuts
Therefore, many plant-based diets have a variety of health benefits. These may include: weight management and protection against chronic disease. As well as being good for you, plant-based diets are good for the planet, with one study revealing that greenhouse gas emissions from vegan and veggie diets are 50% and 35% lower than diets that include meat.
What are the differences between being vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian diets?
Compared to vegan and vegetarian diets, a pescatarian diet is considered more flexible and easier to follow, including seafood, dairy, and eggs. Therefore, it can be simpler to meet your nutritional needs; for example, seafood contains many nutrients that plant foods often lack, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and iodine.
Similarly, the dairy and eggs element of veggie and pescatarian diets can make it easier to include a variety of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron.
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Vegan and vegetarian diets require planning to meet your nutritional needs, and often, supplements like B12 and iron are recommended.
Can a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diet be good for weight loss?
Multiple studies have shown that vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets can be effective for weight loss. One study has recently revealed that individuals that follow a diet that limits or excludes meat have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who eat meat. In addition, a review of 12 studies discovered that following a vegan diet for 18 weeks resulted in an average weight loss of 5.5 pounds, compared with 3.3 pounds on a vegetarian diet.
This suggests that simply decreasing your meat intake and increasing plant-based protein may benefit your weight loss.
However, keep in mind that it’s still possible to eat more calories than needed when following a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diet, negating any potential weight loss benefit. Additional research is required to determine the long-term weight loss effects of vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets.
Other health benefits of vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets
Due to vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets all eliminating meat, there could be benefits to your heart health, too. Research has revealed that eating higher amounts of red meat could be associated with increased risks of heart disease and higher risks of certain cancers.
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In addition, other research suggests that reducing your red meat intake could also be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and improved control of blood sugar.
It’s also worth noting that a pescatarian diet includes fish, which is an excellent source of essential nutrients like omega-3. While those eating a vegan and vegetarian diet can get omega-3 from certain plant-based foods, it’s not as active in your body.
Which is the right diet for you?
This is totally up to you! The diet you follow should be based on several factors, such as your:
- Health goals
Whilst a vegan diet shows promising results for weight loss and reduced greenhouse emissions, it can also be quite restrictive and require some planning. Therefore, a vegetarian diet that offers many of the same benefits with more flexibility may be the right diet.
Alternatively, a pescatarian diet might make it much easier to increase your intake of nutrients, such as B12 and omega-3, whilst also reducing your meat intake.
Overall, they offer similar health and environmental benefits, and it depends on your goals, needs, and preferences.
Ready to hit your diet goals?
So, there you have it, the differences and similarities between vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets. Whichever diet you choose, we’re sure you’ll smash your goals!
But of course, if you need a little extra support on your journey, there’s always Trimtone. Our 100% natural formula works to fire up fat burn, suppress your cravings and boost your metabolism – and works with a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diet!
You’ve got this, ladies!