6 Types of Vegetarian Diets: Do You Know the Differences?


by Matt Weik

Are you a vegetarian? Your diet is full of plants and fruits, right? Well, if you are someone who thinks a vegetarian diet is all about plants, read this article through to the end.

Plant-based diets have been gaining a lot of popularity over the past few years. Don’t believe me? Go look at Instagram profiles, they’ll tell you, just look at people’s bios (LOL). There are several reasons for people to make the switch to a plant-based lifestyle and nutrition plan, the primary reasons being environmental and health benefits, plus ethical issues.

Many people tend to confuse a vegan diet with a vegetarian diet. However, you will be surprised to know that a vegan diet is just a type of vegetarian diet that falls under the same umbrella.

In total, there are six main types of vegetarian diets. Let’s have a closer look at the segments of the vegetarian diet, which can help you choose which dietary variation is perfect for you should you feel the urge to make some drastic changes to your current nutrition plan.

The Types of Vegetarian Diets

Below are the six types of vegetarian diets that we will be discussing in this article and breaking down what each entails.

1.      Veganism

Veganism is the strictest form of the vegetarian diet and excludes all animal-derived food items like eggs, meat, fish, and more. Not only this, but it also includes excluding the by-products like honey, gelatin, and more.

Veganism is not just a form of diet but a lifestyle as it extends beyond food choices. Vegans avoid using consumer products that involve animal exploitation.

The vegan diet is entirely based on plants and includes food items like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lentils, and more. The diet tends to substitute animal products with plant-based alternatives like tofu, jackfruit, etc.

The vegan diet is lower in nutrients, and hence, healthcare professionals recommend taking supplements to fill in nutritional gaps in regard to vitamins and minerals like B12, Zinc, Omega-3, and more.

2.      Pescatarian Diet

The word “Pesce” is an Italian word meaning fish. A pescatarian diet is one that includes a lot of fish. Someone on a pescatarian diet can consume fish-based products like tuna, salmon, sushi, etc., but avoid meat products like chicken, beef, etc.

Now, coming to dairy products and eggs, it comes down to personal choice whether someone wants to include such items to eliminate them.

A pescatarian diet contains Omega-3 fatty acid (naturally present in fish), which is otherwise lacking in some of the other types of vegetarian diets.

3.      Flexitarian Diet

As the name suggests, a flexitarian diet is flexible, meaning it allows some amount of animal products to be present in the diet. A flexitarian diet emphasizes more on including plant-based products than restricting animal-based products. It allows you to enjoy animal-based products in moderation.

The main aim of a flexitarian diet is to get most of the protein sources from plant-based food when possible, consume limited sugar and processed food, and incorporate animal products occasionally into meals.

4.      Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

An ovo-vegetarian diet does not include dairy products like cow’s milk, cheese, butter, etc. However, it includes eggs and food that contains eggs like boiled eggs, omelets, cakes, muffins, and more.

Eggs are a great source of protein and Vitamin B12. However, ovo-vegetarians need to make sure to replace dairy foods with other calcium-rich food items.

5.      Lacto-Vegetarian Diet

A lacto-vegetarian diet is a plant-based diet that includes dairy products like cow milk and food items made from them like yogurt, cheese, ice cream, etc. The diet excludes eggs, meat, beef, and more.

This is a more flexible alternative to a vegan diet which includes more plant-based items and reduces the environmental impact.

A lacto-vegetarian diet is also common in various religions, such as those who follow Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

6.      Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet

When you think of the types of vegetarian diets, the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet may not be one that you’ve heard of. A lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is one that includes eggs, milk, ice cream, butter, cheese, and more. At the same time, it excludes all the animal-derived meat like beef, pork, chicken, etc.

This vegetarian diet is generally used for cultural and religious reasons.

Thinking of Implementing a Vegetarian Diet into Your Lifestyle?

Shifting to one of the types of vegetarian diets is an excellent way to improve your overall health. Also, the best part is that you can add more plants without cutting animal products completely out of your nutrition program.

With so many types of vegetarian diets to choose from, it might get overwhelming. However, there exists no “best” diet. The best way to choose is to go for a diet that matches your nutritional requirements and is sustainable according to your lifestyle and personal preferences.