VEGAN VS PLANT-BASED
By PW Nutritionist Aleena Khusro
It’s hard to keep track of the latest healthy eating trends: Paleo, Keto, FODMAP… the list of strange terms goes on. Two buzz words in the nutrition world at the moment: The plant-based diet and the vegan diet.
Wait, aren’t they the same thing!? While lots of people think they’re exactly the same, there are actually some important differences between the two!
Veganism The Vegan diet is much clearer cut than a plant-based diet, so let’s start off with this.
Vegan diets are against using animal products in all forms – not only is meat, dairy and eggs cut out, but also things like honey!
Being a vegan is a lifestyle - animal products are not only eliminated from the diet, but also from all other aspects of life. We’re talking no leather, wool, silk, and no products derived from insects, which means a ban on many well-known make up, skin care and hair brands.
However, it is a common misconception that following a Vegan diet is great for weight loss. Modern vegan diets include a whole variety of animal product-free junk food such as ice creams, burgers, sweets etc. These products are no better for you than a regular packet of crisps as they are still packed with sugar and fat. It’s important to note that just because something is labelled vegan that does not necessarily make it healthy – this is a very easy trap to fall into. One could technically still live off chips and soft drinks and still be considered a vegan! Did you know that McDonald’s fries are vegan approved!?
Plant-Based Plant-based can mean different things to different people - put simply, this involves incorporating more plant products and plant proteins and cutting all or almost all animal-based products out of your diet.
It sounds exactly the same as a vegan diet doesn’t it? Well the key difference in the most layman phrase is: Someone following a vegan diet can eat a packet of Oreos whereas this is a no go for someone following a plant-based diet.
This way of eating is based around unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Day to day eating includes mostly whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, unsalted nuts and healthy oils. Some plant-based eaters believe that animal products are allowed, however they should just be eaten in smaller portions or be cut out completely if possible. Unlike vegan diets, processed foods such as white flour and refined sugar have to be cut out completely. This style of eating has recently been linked to health benefits, especially related to improving heart health!
Which one is right for you?
Well, one way of eating is not better than the other, it really depends on your long-term goals or your motivation behind changing up your dietary habits. The health benefits that both eating styles bring are quite similar – as per research, increasing the plant to animal product ratio in your diet can help reduce risk of developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
If your main motivation is weight loss and boosting your immune system, the plant-based diet is the way to go! This way of eating is suggested to be great for the prevention or reversal of chronic illnesses. This is likely to be due to a number of beneficial nutritional changes such as increased fibre intake, increased vitamin and mineral rich foods and cutting out processed foods completely.
However, if you are looking to make more of an impact in terms of ethical treatment of animals, going Vegan is something you should consider! Those who choose to go Vegan for ethical reasons tend to find it less restrictive and enjoy it more than who choose veganism to achieve weight loss.
Remember that you don’t need to drastically switch to either plant-based eating or a vegan lifestyle in an instant! In fact, it’s better if you set small goals for yourself, such as aiming to eat animal products only once a week and filling your meals up with more plant-based foods such as veggies, grains and beans or trying and testing different vegan friendly products and brands. If you’re currently using our Slender Blend as a meal replacement, for example, try switching to the Vegan Blend – this already cuts out a lot of animal derivates from your diet. You can then go on to making further changes such as switching to Vegan Pancake Mix and swapping those Oreos for a sweet vegan Pizza made with our Slender Pizza Mix!
If you want to know more about which one of these styles of eating is more suited to you, our nutritionists are available to answer any of your queries – just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!