What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (2023)

The confusion surrounding the different types of vegetarian diet never ceases to amaze us here at Happy Happy Vegan.When most people are asked what a vegetarian is, their response is probably usually something along the lines of“Someone whodoesn’t eat meat.”

I am constantly surprised that people are not aware that there are many types of vegetarian; ranging from those who occasionally add meat or fish (controversial, I know!) to their diet to people who exclusively eat raw fruit and vegetables.

In order to clear things up, I’ve put together a list of all the different vegetarian diets out there. Many of you who are already fully vegan maysee this as a strange thing to have on a vegan website, but I’m not promoting or judging any of them.

Instead, all this aims to do is lay down the differences between the diets and let people know that there are many different forms of vegetarianism in the world today. No rights, no wrongs, just what they are.

Here we go!


  • Flexitarian
  • Pescatarian
  • Pollotarian
  • Macrobiotic diet
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian
  • Lacto-vegetarian
  • Ovo-vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Raw vegan diet
  • Fruitarian
  • Learning more
  • Finishing up


‘Flexitarian’ is a relatively new term and flexitarians are often criticized for their lack of commitment as a vegetarian. This is a type of on-off vegetarian diet where a person generally follows a plant-based way of livingbut will occasionally eat meat or fish, dairy and eggs.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this doesn’t sound all that different from a regular omnivore, but it does have its benefits. Many people follow this type of diet for a short period until they make the full transition to a vegetarian, so it can be a great place to start for anyone looking to lessen their consumption of animal products.

Any move towards less meat being eaten can only be a good thing, so give those flexies a break!


A pescatarian does not eat meat, poultry or fowl, but they do eat fish and seafood. This is a semi-vegetarian diet similar to the flexitarian diet and some people do not consider this a vegetarian diet at all. Pescatarians also include eggs and dairy in their diet.

With fish stocks rapidly depleting, it’s easy to see why pescatarians get so much grief. However, as with their flexatarian friends, they are still eating feweranimal products than those who stick to the Standard American Diet. (1)


(Video) 6 Types of Vegetarian Diets: A Dietitian Explains


What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (1)

Another controversial type of semi-vegetarian diet is pollotarian and this involves not eating red meat, fish or seafood. However, their diet does include poultry, fowl, dairy products and eggs.

As the term pollotarian stretches the definition of a vegetarian somewhat, people on this type of diet are often simply referred to as semi-vegetarians.

Macrobiotic diet

While this is not strictly labelled as a vegetarian diet per se, I thought it was worth a mention.

People following a macrobiotic diet eat only unprocessed and unrefined foods that predominantly include fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Although those who follow this diet can occasionally eat fish, the diet is mainlymade up of vegan foodstuffs. (2)

The emphasis on the inclusion of Asian vegetables in this diet is what makes it unique and many consider the macrobiotic diet to have healing properties.


Now we are getting into the realms of what many regard as the ‘true’ vegetarians.

Of all the different types of vegetarian diet, lacto-ovo-vegetarianisthe most common according to the Vegetarian Society. However, it is important to remember that they do not consider any of the above diets to be vegetarian at all.

Although all meat, poultry, fish and seafood is eliminated from this diet, a lacto-ovo-vegetarian caneat both eggs and dairy products.Many find this caveat advantageous, saying that the addition of these products helps them avoid meat.


What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (2)

The term ‘lacto-vegetarian’ is derived from the word ‘lactis’, meaning milk in Latin. Lacto-vegetarians do include dairy products in their diet, such as milk, cheese and yoghurts, but they do not eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, orproducts made using eggs.

Some people follow this type of vegetarian diet to due to their religious beliefs; typically ones that include a respect for all living beings.

These include Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, all of which follow the spiritual doctrine of Ahimsa. Roughly translated, Ahimsa means “to do no harm”.

(Video) 6 Types of Vegetarian Diets A Dietitian Explains - Lacto-OVO vegetarian


An ovo-vegetarian does not eat any meat, fish or dairy products, but they do include eggs in their diet.

Both lacto-ovo-vegetarians and ovo-vegetarians will usually only eat free range eggs due to the welfare of the chickens, but this can often be misguided. Free-range chickens often suffer from horrendous conditions, too. (3)


Hey, that’s me!

Vegans do not eat meat, fish, poultry, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products orany ingredients that are derived from an animal or animal produce. We vegans avoid all forms of animal products in the name of animal rights, the environment and our own health.

It is important to remember that the term vegan not only refers to the diet, but also to the lifestyle. For example, vegans will not use or wear anything that is made from animal by-products, such as leather or wool.

Veganism goes way beyond food, it is a way of life.


Raw vegan diet

A raw vegan diet is as above, but consists entirely of raw and unprocessed food.

This means that raw vegans willnot eat food that has been heated above 46 degrees Celsius. This is because raw vegansbelieve that doing sois harmful to the food and significantly reduces its nutritional value.



As the name would suggest, fruitarians rely solely on fruit for their sustenance.

(Video) What you need to know before switching to a vegetarian diet

Fruitarianism is largely considered to be an offshoot of veganism and has some famous followers over the years, including the likes of Gandhi and Steve Jobs.

Many fruitarians will only consume foods that have been harvested without the need to kill the host plant from which the fruit came from.

Nuts and seeds can bea topic of heated debate amongst fruitarians, with some believing it is okay to eat them while others say that it is not. For those that do use them, a decent nut butter grinder is an essential piece of kit (as it is for anyone, in my opinion!)

Learning more

What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (3)

The vegan diet is often considered to be at the extreme end of the scale, but that’s usually by those who have never even attempted it!

However, if you are thinking about it but feel a little daunted, there are plenty of resources out there to help. Heck, Happy Happy Vegan was created to help you!

Also, learning how to eat a balanced and nutritious diet is essential. Try reading a book, such as Vegan Diet for Beginners by Jessica Brooks. This gives you plenty of advice, tips, meal plans and recipes to help you make the switch successfully and in a healthy way.

Finishing up

Being a vegetarian is not simply a case of just not eating meat. There are many different types of vegetarian diet and lifestyle options from which you can choose.

If you are considering switching to a predominantly plant-based eating regime, learning more about your options and researching how to include all the right nutrients is really important.

Each of these diets has its own pros and cons and your reasons for becoming vegetarian or vegan are also likely to influence your decision about the best type of diet and lifestyle for you.

So, start exploring all of the different types of vegetarian diet optionsavailable and get ready to lower your consumption of animal products…or ditch them altogether!

What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (4)
About The Author:
David Bedford
What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? (5)

David Bedford is a longtime vegan with a particular interest in nutrition and mental health. He is also a co-founder of happyhappyvegan.com.

When he isn’t sifting through PubMed or watching Dr. Greger do his thing, he’ll be banging away at a keyboard producing either copy or code. On the rare occasion when a screen isn’t in front of him, you’ll find David walking in the nearest available green space with his four-legged sidekick, Ralphie.

(Video) What is a Vegetarian Diet?

(Video) 10 Type Of Vegetarian Diets That You Should Know About

  1. Gaia Vince |How the world’s oceans could be running out of fish |https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20120920-are-we-running-out-of-fish
  2. Kushi Institute |What is Macrobiotic Diet? |https://www.kushiinstitute.org/what-is-macrobiotics/
  3. David Derbyshire |Up to 16,000 hens crammed into a shed, and many NEVER see daylight. But believe it or not, THESE are free-range chickens |https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508173/16-000-free-range-chickens-crammed-shed-NEVER-daylight.html


What Are the Different Types of Vegetarian Diet? ›

Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs. Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.

Are there different types of vegetarian diets? ›

Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs. Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs. Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.

What are the 7 vegetarians? ›

Check out the most common versions of vegetarianism below:
  • Vegetarian (aka lacto-ovo vegetarians)
  • Flexitarian.
  • Pescatarian.
  • Lacto-vegetarian.
  • Ovo-vegetarian.
  • Vegan.
  • Raw vegan.
Mar 14, 2022

What do Flexitarians eat? ›

More specifically, the flexitarian diet is a flexible eating style that emphasizes the addition of plant or plant-based foods and beverages, incorporates dairy and eggs and encourages meat to be consumed less frequently and/or in smaller portions. There are no set calorie or macronutrient goals in a flexitarian diet.

What do you call a vegetarian who eats eggs? ›

As you can see, vegetarians who eat eggs are considered ovo-vegetarians or lacto-ovo vegetarians depending on whether they eat dairy. Summary. Vegetarians are still considered as such if they eat eggs, but they're referred to by a different name than vegetarians who avoid eggs.

What is the most common vegetarian diet? ›

Lacto-ovo vegetarianism, the most common type of vegetarian diet, involves eliminating all meat, poultry, and fish.

What is the best type of vegetarian? ›

1. Veganism. Veganism is by far the strictest form of vegetarian diet out there. It requires the elimination of all animal products and by-products, whether they require animal slaughter or not.

Is pescatarian healthier than vegan? ›

“Compared to following a vegan diet, eating a pescetarian diet means there's less risk of nutritional deficiencies and it's easier to meet the recommended levels of vitamin B12, iron and zinc. Seafood contains Omega-3 and other fatty acids that have a protective impact on your heart health. It's also anti-inflammatory.

What is Jesus a vegetarian? ›

Many biblical scholars believe that Jesus was a vegetarian. Jesus' message is one of love and compassion, and there is nothing loving or compassionate about factory farms and slaughterhouses, where billions of animals live miserable lives and die violent, bloody deaths.

What is the white stuff vegetarians eat? ›

Seitan. Sometimes referred to as "the vegetarian white meat," this wheat-based protein is a great option and provides a similar mouthfeel to chicken (in fact, many imitation chicken products on the market are made with seitan). You can buy seitan where you find tofu in most large grocery stores.

Can a vegetarian eat eggs? ›

Vegetarians do not eat fish, meat or poultry, but do eat eggs and dairy. Vegans also follow the no-meat rule, but also exclude animal products or by-products such as eggs, dairy and honey. In the past, eggs have had a bad reputation, as their yolks contain a lot of dietary cholesterol. Well, never fear.

What is a Level 5 vegan? ›

Level 5 vegans are those who are seen as incredibly committed to the vegan lifestyle, and are often hailed as “extreme vegans”. Level 5 vegans go to an extensive effort to follow a vegan lifestyle that is free of any type of animal product or animal exploitation.

What is a pure vegetarian? ›

A Pure Vegetarian diet abstains from all kinds of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and also includes abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Like a lacto-vegetarian diet, it includes dairy products but NOT eggs.

What is a junk food vegan? ›

A junk food vegan is a vegan who regularly consumes highly processed foods that are primarily made in science labs. Some popular choices are the famous Oreo biscuits as well as a variety of vegan “cheeses.”

Why is broccoli not vegan? ›

Because they are so difficult to cultivate naturally, all of these crops rely on bees which are placed on the back of trucks and taken very long distances across the country.” “It's migratory beekeeping and it's unnatural use of animals and there are lots of foods that fall foul of this. Broccoli is a good example.

What is a Demi vegetarian? ›

Definition of 'demi-vegetarian'

1. a person who eats poultry and fish, but no red meat. adjective. 2. denoting a person who eats poultry and fish, but no red meat.

What is a vegetarian who eats chicken called? ›

Also known as pollo-vegetarian, the pollotarian diet is considered to be a type of semi-vegetarianism, as some forms of animal meat are allowed. While the prefix “pollo” literally translates to “chicken” in Spanish, pollotarians generally eat all forms of poultry, including turkey and duck.

What are vegetarians who eat fish called? ›

A pescatarian diet refers to a vegetarian diet with the addition of seafood. Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds supply many vitamins, phytochemicals, and minerals, and seafood provides protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Who is a Carnitarian? ›

A carnitarian is often confused with someone on the all meat carnivore diet. However, many people on the carnivore diet are carnitarians. So what is a carnitarian anyway? A carnitarian is someone who intentionally avoids eating seafood but who still eats a lot of meat.

Can vegetarians eat shrimp? ›

Fish and seafood of any kind—just like the meat of other animals—is not vegetarian. Fish is not vegetarian, shrimp is not vegetarian, lobster and crab are not vegetarian, and eating any kind of animal which lives in the sea, lake, or river is not vegetarian.

What are the 6 types of vegetarian? ›

6 Types of Vegetarian Diets: A Dietitian Explains
  • Why follow a vegetarian diet? ...
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. ...
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet. ...
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet. ...
  • Flexitarian diet. ...
  • Pescatarian diet. ...
  • Vegan diet. ...
  • How to choose a vegetarian diet.
Dec 7, 2020

What are 3 nutrients lacking in vegetarian diet? ›

The nutrients of concern in the diet of vegetarians include vitamin B(12), vitamin D, ω-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and zinc. Although a vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients, the use of supplements and fortified foods provides a useful shield against deficiency.

What food do vegetarians miss most? ›

The nutritional deficiencies that are most common with vegan and vegetarian diets include:
  • Vitamin B12. This particular vitamin is created by a bacteria and found primarily in animal products such as dairy, meat, insects, and eggs. ...
  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin! ...
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids. ...
  • Zinc. ...
  • Iron.
Jul 5, 2018

What are the strictest vegetarians? ›

Strict vegetarians, or vegans, eat plant foods and reject all animal products—meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and sometimes honey. Those who also eat dairy products are called lacto vegetarians. Vegetarians who eat both dairy and eggs are called lacto-ovo vegetarians.

What are the 3 main vegetarian alternatives to meat? ›

Meat alternatives are growing in popularity
  • Tofu. Tofu is the classic meat alternative and has been one of the basic sources of nutrition in Asia for centuries. ...
  • Soy protein. ...
  • Tempeh. ...
  • Seitan/wheat protein. ...
  • Lupin protein. ...
  • Green spelt. ...
  • Oat flakes. ...
  • Black beans.
Nov 11, 2019

What is the healthiest diet in the world? ›

Mediterranean Diet, DASH Diet, and Flexitarian Diets Remain the Best Diets of 2023. All three diets are highly recommended by doctors because of their known health benefits. “The Mediterranean eating plan doesn't have a set calorie range or portion guidelines, which is why it can fit almost anyone's needs.

What is the life expectancy of a vegetarian? ›

A team of researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States has shown vegetarian men live for an average of 10 years longer than non-vegetarian men — 83 years compared to 73 years. For women, being vegetarian added an extra 6 years to their lives, helping them reach 85 years on average.

How do vegetarians get protein? ›

Vegetarian protein options include: Beans and lentils – chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans. Soy products – tofu, edamame, tempeh, seitan. Whole grains – quinoa, oatmeal, couscous.

What meats did God say not to eat? ›

The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

Does the Bible say to be vegetarian? ›

"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb-bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food." In the second chapter of Genesis (2:16-17) vegetarianism is re-affirmed as people's spiritually proper diet.

What religion is vegetarian? ›

Researchers estimate that there are more than 400 million people that identify as vegetarian. Plant-based eating is deeply rooted in three of the prominent religions practiced in India – Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.

What happens if you don't eat meat for 30 days? ›

Reduced Inflammation

If you avoid eating meat for a month, you should notice a decrease in your overall inflammatory markers. This happens due to the anti-inflammatory properties of plant-based foods that you consume instead of meat (5). They are rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in toxins and saturated fats.

Why do vegetarians have clear skin? ›

Cutting down on processed meat means less intake of saturated fats and sugar. A vegan diet is rich in anti-inflammatory food, which boosts skin radiance, improves hydration and plumpness. A healthy, balanced vegan diet is rich in wholefoods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds.

Can vegetarians eat pizza? ›

Good news! Many pizzas are 100% vegetarian-friendly. A basic pizza contains crust, marinara sauce, and cheese, which are all vegetarian ingredients. The best way to ensure that your pizza is vegetarian is to skip out on any meat toppings, such as pepperoni and sausage.

Can a vegetarian eat cheese? ›

A vegetarian diet excludes foods containing an animal itself (such as meat), and cheese can be vegetarian friendly providing it doesn't contain animal rennet.

Can vegetarians eat chocolate? ›

Chocolate itself comes from a plant and is therefore suitable for vegetarians and vegans. However, during the production process some additives or ingredients that are not suitable for these types of diets can be added to chocolate-based products.

What is a Cheagan? ›

Chegan (pronounced chee-gen) is short for “cheating vegan.” The word is commonly misspelled, “cheagan.” Chegan reference someone who eats vegan nearly all the time, but deliberately slips up—probably most often in the presence of pizza or ice cream (see: Bill Clinton).

Why do vegans eat yeast? ›

Unlike animals, yeast lacks a nervous system. Therefore, its consumption causes no animal suffering, exploitation, or cruelty. This makes yeast a suitable choice for vegans.

What country is the hardest to be vegan? ›

China. This is one of those countries where you will find animal products in almost every dish. They commonly use lard in almost every dish and even chips are not safe for vegetarians.

What is a silent vegetarian? ›

Perhaps the cleverest adaptation strategy that caterers and party planners employ is the so-called silent vegetarian option, or SVO, whereby the vegetarian option is unannounced.

Is being a vegetarian the healthiest? ›

It can be one of the healthiest ways to eat, because we know plant foods are loaded with nutrients to protect our health.” According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

Which country has the most vegetarians? ›

India is the leading country when it comes to the share of vegetarians amongst its population. Almost a quarter of respondents from Indian were following a vegetarian diet according to a survey carried out in 2021.

Are Ritz crackers vegan? ›

Yes – it turns out that Ritz Crackers are one of those surprising vegan foods! You'd be wise to be sceptical as there's literally an image of cheese on the box, but maybe the designers at Ritz intended it to be interpreted at a nice cashew-cheddar.

Is Peanut Butter vegan? ›

But of course! Most peanut butter is a simple mixture of ground peanuts and salt. Others might also contain oil or added sugar. Once in a blue moon, you may find a kind that contains honey, but nearly all peanut butter is 100 percent vegan.

Are French fries vegan? ›

Are French fries vegan? Short answer: Yes! Most fries are 100 percent vegan—but in some (rare) cases, they aren't. For example, McDonald's French fries contain beef fat!

What is level 4 vegetarian? ›

Level 4 vegans are incredibly committed to veganism, and follow a strict dietary regime. A level 4 vegan's diet is likely to contain more fruits, vegetables and nuts. Level 4 vegans will often only eat out at vegan restaurants, or if that is not an available option they will only choose a vegan option.

What are the 5 main food groups for vegetarians? ›

But here is a guide of the five plant-based food groups that make up a healthy, wholesome and balanced diet:
  • Vegetables. No doubt we all know how amazing vegetables are for us! ...
  • Fruit. Despite what most people seem to believe, fruit is not just sugar. ...
  • Whole grains. ...
  • Legumes. ...
  • Nuts and Seeds.
Sep 9, 2017

What is the strongest vegetarian? ›

Patrik Baboumian is a strongman born in Iran to Armenian parents. He moved to Germany with his mother and grandma. He is currently living in Germany. He developed interested in strength and weight training at a very tender age.

What is the strictest vegetarian called? ›

Strict vegetarians, or vegans, eat plant foods and reject all animal products—meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy and sometimes honey. Those who also eat dairy products are called lacto vegetarians. Vegetarians who eat both dairy and eggs are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. Some vegetarians eat fish but not meat or poultry.

What is 5.2 vegetarian? ›

The fundamentals of the 5:2 vegetarian diet are essentially the same as the meat version – for two days of the week, you must restrict your diet to 500 calories a day (or 600 for men), while eating normally for the remaining five days.

Is strict vegetarian the same as vegan? ›

Both vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat and fish. However, veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism that prohibits the consumption or use of any products that come from animals, including dairy, eggs, honey, leather goods, wool, and silk.

What religion requires you to be a vegetarian? ›

The practice of vegetarianism is strongly linked with a number of religious traditions worldwide. These include religions that originated in India, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism.

Are eggs vegetarian? ›

Are Eggs Considered Vegetarian? By definition, vegetarianism is classified as excluding any form of animal flesh (the tissue, muscles or meat of an animal). The humble egg doesn't fall into this category and is therefore included in a vegetarian eating pattern.

Can vegetarians eat cheese? ›

Most vegetarians generally avoid foods that require the death of an animal. Although there are different types of vegetarians, cheese is often considered vegetarian-friendly. However, certain cheeses contain animal rennet, which contains enzymes commonly sourced from the lining of animal stomachs.

Why is white flour not vegan? ›

Yes, flour is vegan. As long as we talk about those sourced from plants, not cricket flour. Most vegans avoid white flour, however, because of benzoyl peroxide or sodium benzoate that's used as a bleaching agent, which may be harmful. Some strict practicing vegans consider this as non-vegan flour.

Can you be a half vegan? ›

The Flexitarian Diet is a style of eating that encourages eating mostly plant-based foods while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation. It's more flexible than fully vegetarian or vegan diets.


1. Guide to Vegetarian diet
(Scholar Idea)
2. Vegan vs. Vegetarian Diet: The Difference
3. How Can Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?
(Wall Street Journal)
4. Types of vegetarian diets
(Vegetarian Cheffings)
6. What is Veganism? Is Vegan diet good for your brain and body? Difference in Vegetarian & Vegan
(StudyIQ IAS)


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