Types Of Vegetarian Diets Explained

Different Types Of Vegetarians

Vegetarian diets have become popular among people, especially in recent years. More and more people prefer the vegan diet for the various benefits of the vegan diet. However, few know that there are different types of vegetarians like diet plans. 

People who eat plant-based food and emphasize plant food instead of animal products like meat are, in general, called vegetarians. Although it is right in general, there are various types of vegetarians according to their food and diet

In the article, we explore the different types of vegetarian diets, including the details like which food to include in a particular diet plan and which to avoid. 

Moreover, we will also explore some of the reasons for which people prefer the various types of vegetarian diets and foods. 

Why Go For A Vegetarian Diet?

When we look at this aspect of the different types of vegetarian diets, we see mainly three reasons why people choose a vegan diet. These reasons are basically related to public and personal health, along with the environment. The conditions and other aspects of the animal raised for meat is also a reason. 

Health Reasons

Many studies have also shown that animal products may contain unwanted substances. This is true for animals raised specifically in large-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The animal products from such plants were seen to contain antibiotics. 

The antibiotics in these farm animal products are generally fed to them for faster growth and weight gain. Thus eating antibiotic containing animal products may lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans. It has also been proven in many pieces of research that eating these products is harmful to humans. 

Studies have also shown that different types of vegetarians diet if well planned, is beneficial. The vegan diet, if planned according to the needs of the individual, has various health benefits. Moreover, the side effects of the vegan diet are less in comparison to the benefits of the vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian food is also known to help in weight loss, reducing the chances of obesity. It also helps in lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. 

Environmental Reasons

When a person chooses any of the various types of vegetarian diet plans, they contribute to the environment. This is because industrialized animal agriculture has many environmental side effects. It negatively affects the air, soil, and water around the farms. 

For example, the nutrients and the manure from the CAFOs may influx and contaminate the water sources like groundwater. These may also make their way to the other water bodies like the oceans. Later they can lead to the development of dead zones in the water bodies. 

Dead zones are the areas in water bodies where marine life is dead due to lack of oxygen. 

Other than this, the concentration of animals at a single place contributes to greenhouse gas generation as the animals produce nitrous oxide, CO2, and methane, which contribute to global warming. 

Animals Plight

Animal welfare is also a reason for people to choose the different types of the vegetarian diet. The unethical practices and poor condition of the animal in the CAFOs are against some people’s personal ethics. Thus they choose vegetarian food over animal-based food. 

People are also against the dairy industry as in it the milk is drawn from them just after they have given birth. The calves of such cows are also separated from them just after birth. Some specific hormones are also drawn from pregnant cows for the fashion industry, which makes it even more painful for the animals. 

Cost is also a reason why people go for various types of vegetarians as animal products are costly comparatively. 

These are some reasons, along with the vegan diet’s various benefits, why people prefer the vegan diet. 

Different Types Of Vegetarians

Some of the common types of vegetarians that we will explore are:

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Diet

The Lacto-Ovo vegetarian diet is one of the most common and traditional types of vegetarians. In this variant of the vegan diet, people avoid eating fish and meat. However, other foods like dairy and egg are included as they are considered vegetarian food in it. 

The term ‘Lacto’ in these types of vegetarians comes from the term ‘lac’ is a Latin word that means milk. Thus the dairy products are a part of this vegetarian food plan.

The other word in the name of these types of vegetarian diets refers to the eggs. It comes from the term ‘ovum’ that is a Latin word meaning egg. 

When a person follows this vegan diet plan, it means to include foods like milk, egg, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, and other dairy products. However, other foods like animal-derived meat, fish, and pork are avoided. In it, dairy products are considered vegetarian food. 

Lacto-Vegetarian Diet

These types of vegetarians include dairy products in their diet along with the plant based food. This is the reason for the use of the term ‘Lacto’ in it, which in general translates to lactose.

The vegetarian food recipes in this type of vegan diet include dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, and more. Other vegetarian foods in this diet are yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and sour cream. 

One difference in this diet from the Lacto-Ovo is that it excludes the eggs with other meat products. 

Sometimes these types of vegetarians follow this diet basically due to religious reasons. Therefore it is commonly seen among the followers of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Other than this, the Lacto-vegetarian diet is also seen in people due to some cultural reasons. 

Ovo-Vegetarian Diet

As the ‘Ovo’ prefix in the name suggests, these types of vegetarians include the egg in the diet but exclude the dairy. 

The ovo-vegetarians, including the fish and meat, also exclude the dairy products. Products made from dairies like cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream are also excluded from this diet. 

However, a person following the ovo-vegetarian diet includes the various vegetarian food recipes made using egg. For example, omelets, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, and more are part of this vegan diet. 

These types of vegetarians also use the egg in other foods like cakes, muffins, and bread. 

Flexitarian Diet

A flexitarian diet is designed to be more flexible compared to the other vegan diet plans. Thus, this diet’s name is’ flexitarian diet,’ in which the word Flexi means flexible. 

This diet allows small amounts of animal products while emphasizing the benefits of plant food. It is mainly an approach from different types of vegetarians towards eating based on plant food but including some meat and other products like egg, dairy, and more, at moderate levels. 

The basic principle of the flexitarian diet is to get most of the protein and food from plants instead of animals. This limits the intake of processed food and sugar while occasionally incorporating animal products. 

A flexitarian, if we see, is not a vegetarian technically. This is because these types of vegetarians include small amounts of meat in their vegetarian recipes. However, it’s up to the individual to incorporate the different food in their vegan diet plan. 

Pescatarian Diet

The pescatarian diet is common among the types of vegetarians who include seafood in their food recipes. Like suggested by the word Pesca in its name that is derived from ‘Pesce,’ which is an Italian word meaning fish. 

Thus, people following the pescatarian diet avoid meats like chicken, pork, and beef. At the same time, they include fish-based products like sushi in their vegan diet plans. The inclusion of eggs and dairy products in the pescatarian diet varies from person to person. 

Pescatarian diet is comparatively healthy in comparison to other vegetarian diets. This is because they provide healthy omega three fatty acids to the person following it. The omega 3 is generally absent in other vegan diet plans. 

How To Choose The Right Vegan Diet 

When you want to choose the right types of vegetarian diets for you, you must consider some factors. The factors that you must consider are cost, nutritional quality, and sustainability of the diet you are choosing for yourself. 

You must also know which variation from the different types of vegetarians is most suitable for you. Whether the plan you are choosing suits your lifestyle and values, as it will determine your plan’s sustainability. 

One thing that can help in choosing the right variation for you is experimenting with the diet plans. This will let you know which is best for you according to factors like lifestyle, cost, and quality. 

Bottom Line

A vegan diet is basically a plant-based diet. However, the inclusion of animal products varies according to types of vegetarians. 

A plant-based diet, which is the basis of the vegan diet, is beneficial for health, good for the environment, and helpful for animals’ welfare. 

When are you trying any types of vegetarian diet plans? Please do let us know your thoughts in the comment box on vegetarianism and the types of vegetarians. 

Jatin Choudhary