A vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian diet could be perfect for you, if you’re someone who is considering cutting back on the amount of meat you’re consuming. There are many reasons why people choose to follow these diets; whether it be for health, animal welfare or the environment. Let’s take a look into the differences between them to see which one could be for you.
The basics of vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian diets
All of these lifestyles are rather similar as they revolve around eating less meat; but there are some differences to tell them apart.
Vegetarian diets remove all meat and fish, but they may still eat dairy and eggs. However, some people may opt to avoid or limit the amount of these products.
A vegan diet is much more restrictive and eliminates all products that are derived from animals. This means that a vegan diet will not include:
- Honey (some vegans also avoid honey as it’s made by insects)
Pescatarian diets are no meat, for example, beef, pork, and chicken, but they still mostly include seafood, dairy, and eggs.
Pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan: the similarities
Whilst there are some differences between a vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian diet, the one common theme is they all exclude meat. Red meats such as beef, lamb and pork are rich in iron, protein, B12 and zinc. It’s not all good though, as consuming red meat has been known to increase the risk of strokes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Additionally, all of these diets emphasize a plant-based approach. This means eating a diet that largely involves the following foods:
- Whole grains
Therefore, many plant-based diets have a great variety of health benefits, such as weight management and protection against chronic diseases. Not only is this good for you, but plant-based diets are also good for the planet.
Also Read: 14 easy healthy swaps to get started with this week
One study revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from vegan and vegetarian diets are 50% and 35% lower than diets including meat.
The differences between being vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian
Of them all, a pescatarian diet is considered the more flexible and easy to follow as the diet still includes seafood, dairy, and eggs. It is therefore simpler to meet your nutritional needs as foods like seafood contain 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 iron, calcium and zinc.
Vegan and vegetarian diets require planning to meet your nutritional needs, and often, supplements like B12 and iron are recommended.
Could following a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian diet help with weight loss?
Many 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.
Additionally, a review of 12 studies discovered that following a vegan diet for 18 weeks resulted in an average weight loss of 5.5 pounds, in comparison to 3.3 pounds on a vegetarian diet. This suggests that by simply lowering your meat intake and increasing the amount of plant-based protein may boost your weight loss.
However, you’ll need to 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. Further research is needed to determine the long-term weight loss effects of vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets.
Are there any other health benefits to these diets?
Due to vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets all eliminating meat, there could possibly be benefits to your heart health. Studies have revealed that eating high amounts of red meat could be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and higher risks of certain types of cancers.
In addition, there is other research that suggests reducing your red meat intake could also be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and improve control of blood sugars.
Also Read: Metabolism boosting foods for women (and ones to avoid)
It’s also worth remembering that a pescatarian diet includes fish and seafood, which is a great source of essential nutrients like omega-3. Whilst those eating a vegan and vegetarian diet can get omega-3 from certain plant-based foods, it’s not as active in your body.
Vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian: which is the right one for you?
Now ladies, we’ve given you a bunch of information to help you decide which diet is best for you. However, this is still completely up to you! The diet you follow should take into account your health goals, needs and preferences. Whilst a vegan diet shows some promising results for weight loss and reduced greenhouse emissions, it does require some planning and can be quite restrictive. Therefore, you may find that a vegetarian diet, offering many of the same benefits but 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 consumption.
Overall, they all offer similar health and environmental benefits, and again it’s all dependent on your goals, needs, and preferences.
Well, ladies, there it is, the similarities and differences between vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets. We’re sure that you’ll absolutely crush your goals, no matter which diet you choose!
Are you ready to change your lifestyle and reach your goals?
If you find that you need a little extra support on your journey, there’s always PhenGold. Our 100% natural formula works to burn fat, boost your metabolism and reduce those cravings. Don’t worry, they’re vegan and vegetarian friendly too, what’s not to love?