Vegetarian? Vegan? Raw Diet! What’s the difference?

Plant-based diets are gaining momentum and becoming more mainstream. Pop your head into any grocery store and you’ll be able to find numerous products marked “Vegetarian” or “Certified Vegan.” It can be difficult to know what’s what! Below are brief definitions to help guide you.mushrooms

Vegetarians do not consume any fish, meat, or poultry. A lacto-vegetarian consumes dairy products and an ovo-vegetarian consumes eggs. A lacto-ovo vegetarian consumes both dairy products and eggs, but no meat. Products labeled “vegetarian” typically do not contain any meat or meat-derived products; however, there are no regulations in the U.S. governing the use of “vegetarian” on a label.  To be certain that a product is vegetarian, contact the manufacturer. An example of a meat-derived product is gelatin, which is prepared from animal bones.

Vegans are vegetarians who do not consume any animal/insect=derived products including dairy products, eggs, and honey. This group avoids animal/insect-based food dyes, binders, and additives.

Individuals following a Raw Diet consume products that are uncooked and unprocessed.   The percentage of raw foods can vary from 50-100% raw.  Their diet may or may not be vegan.  Consumers of the raw diet do not cook foods at temperatures greater than 116 degrees Fahrenheit. Examples of raw foods are typically vegan include fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted grains, beans, and dried fruit. Depending on the individual’s preference raw meat like Carpaccio or raw fish like sushi may be eaten as well as raw milk products.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recognizes that appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful for all age groups.   Completely raw diets are not recommended for infants and children due to concerns with nutrient adequacy

About Julia Driggers RD LDN

Julia Driggers RD, LDN is a Pediatric Dietitian at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. She is very interested in Vegetarian and Vegan nutrition and regularly contributes to the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) Magazine/Website. Her most recent works include "The Vegan Teen Athlete", "Nutrition Blog-Line: Milk Alternatives", and "The Vegetarian Asian Kitchen". In addition, she also creates original Vegan recipes for VRG. In the future, Julia hopes to earn an advanced degree in Nutrition/Education and would like to one day become a college professor. Outside of work Julia enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with friends.

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