Plant-Based vs. Vegan Diet – What is the difference?

Plant-Based vs. Vegan Diet

A plant-based diet is getting popular, and a large number of people are switching themselves to it. This is the reason that most of the popular restaurants and food stores are now serving plant-based foods. Some people get confused between these two terms vegan and plant-based. This article will explain that what is the difference between a plant-based vs. vegan diet?

The idea behind plant-based and vegan diet

Donald Watson – founder of “The Vegan Society” – proposed the term vegan. A Vegan is a person who relies on plant-derived foods like nuts, spices, fruits, legumes, and vegetables. The practice of being vegan is termed veganism.

Later on, the idea of veganism extended and added other aspects covering environmental and animal welfare. Gradually, people have become aware of the negative impact of processed meat and its health effects.

Concerns have also been raised for choosing unhealthy fats over healthy unsaturated fats.

The term plant-based diet was introduced by Colin Campbell to define a low-fat and high-fiber diet. This diet mainly focuses on eating plant-based foods and sometimes products derived from animals.

Plant-based vs. vegan diet

A plant-based diet is typically referred to as a diet that is solely based on plants. Some people eat other animal-based products and still call themselves plant-based.

The major difference between plant-based and vegan diets is that in a plant-based diet, people usually eat plant products – but in a vegan diet, people even avoid those plant-based products that can cause harm to the environment or animals during their harvesting.

Like some people do not use palm oil as it may require destroying the natural habitat of many species of animals or can cause damage to the environment.

Environmental impact

Studies have suggested that eating a plant-based diet may reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts by up to 60% by 2050. Eating an animal-based and high-calorie diet have caused the following impacts on the environment:

  • Up to 900% increase in usage of nitrogen fertilizers since 1961, that has increased the water pollution
  • Threat to biodiversity
  • Harm to agricultural and fertile land
  • Increase in the emission of harmful gases
  • Increased risk of species extinction
  • Habitat destruction

Is a plant-based or vegan diet healthy?

Plant-based diets are healthy and nutritious. Eating plenty of fruits, nuts, and vegetables will provide you with all the important nutrients. There is no need to go vegan. You can add different options to your diet. But if you strictly want to adhere to the vegan diet, then make a plan with the approval of your doctor.

Add as many healthy options as you can to fulfill your nutrient requirements. If you do not like the eggs, then add quinoa or beans to your diet.

An ideal diet consists of 50% vegetables, 25% fruits, and 25% lean meat. While choosing meat, try to stick with the fish or poultry. 


Many people want to choose plant-based or vegan diets due to health or environmental concerns.

A typical plant-based diet includes fruits, vegetables, or nuts: however, people on a plant-based diet also eat animal-based products occasionally in small quantities.

On the other hand, a vegan diet only includes plant-based products and adopts few lifestyle changes to avoid causing harm to animals or the environment. Vegans strictly avoid animal-based products. They even avoid plant-based products that may cause damage to the animals or environment while harvesting.

Both diets are healthy and primarily different but also share similarities. Whenever choosing a diet, always add more healthy food options to get the maximum health benefits.

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