Pescatarian vs. Vegan: What Is the Difference?

Pescatarians, vegans, and vegetarians — oh my! You’ve likely heard about all of the potential health benefits of these lifestyles before, but are these diets really that different? Whether you’re just curious, are looking to make a change, or want to be inclusive of friends and family during your next dinner party, we’re here to help.

What’s a Pescatarian Diet?

Pescatarians practice healthy eating by enjoying plenty of veggies, cereal grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs, and dairy. 

What they don’t eat? Poultry or red meat. Pescatarians still eat fish and other seafood, but mammals are off the table (both metaphorically and literally).

The potential benefits of a pescatarian diet include weight loss, a lower risk of heart disease, improved gut health, and lower blood pressure, thanks to all those yummy plant-based foods. Many people choose pescetarianism for their health, sustainability, and the global impact they can have.

What Is a Vegetarian Diet?

Vegetarianism has impacted food scenes from Ancient China to 1960s hippies to today. There are three main types of vegetarians: lacto-ovo vegetarians, ovo-vegetarians, and lacto-vegetarians. 

Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets consist of the same veggies, whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs, and dairy products that you’ll enjoy as a pescetarian. They also avoid poultry, pork, and beef, much like their pescatarian friends. 

The difference is that all vegetarian diets exclude fish, and lacto-vegetarians also exclude eggs (although both lacto-ovo and lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products). On the other hand, ovo vegetarians do include eggs in their diet, but they exclude dairy products.

Think of vegetarianism as one step removed from pescatarian diets. Those who choose a vegetarian diet seek out sustainable food sources with an even lower impact on land and sea — and even less animal protein.

How Are Vegetarians and Pescatarians Different?

Wondering what the difference is between vegetarians and pescatarians? A pescatarian is not the same thing as a vegetarian because vegetarians exclude all animals from their daily diets, even the ones under the sea.

You may say that a pescatarian follows a vegetarian diet, with the addition of fish, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and other sea-dwelling animals.

Some people are looking to transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet and find that going pescatarian first makes it easier to wean off of animal products. Other people just don’t want to picture a life without sushi (and those essential omega-3s)! 

What Is a Vegan Diet?

Veganism has taken the mainstream by storm these last few years! We’re sure you’ve seen news outlets covering some of the breakthrough products for non-meat-eaters — even dairy lovers admit that MiiRO makes a tasty chocolate bar. 

Like both pescatarian and vegetarians, a vegan diet consists of plant-based foods like veggies, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. However, unlike vegetarians, they do not eat any animal products — full stop. No meat products, no dairy, no eggs, and no honey. If vegetarians are one step removed from pescetarians, consider veganism one more step towards sustainable deliciousness.

Vegans are conscious of their food choices for environmental reasons, health reasons, the protection of animals, or a mix of the three. 

What’s the Best Diet for You?

Many people embrace pescetarian, vegetarian, or vegan eating styles for the environment and for themselves. Figuring out a healthy diet that works for your nutritional needs is simply a matter of learning about each of these dietary philosophies!

Maybe you feel like veganism is right for you or want to include fish into your meals like pescatarians. Whatever label you choose, research shows that eating more plant based meals can be beneficial for your health. The most important thing is to be informed when deciding what you’d like on your plate!

Sources:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids | National Institutes of Health

The Effects of Vegetarian and Vegan Diets on Gut Microbiota | PMC

Plant-Based Diets - PMC

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