Ask Leah! The Ingles Dietitian

Sponsored: Vegetarian vs. Plant-Based

Sponsored: Vegetarian vs. Plant-Based

What's the difference between “vegetarian” and “plant-based”?

It’s interesting when terms like “plant-based” come into fashion! Often when celebrities announce they are following a particular (fad) diet or characterize their eating habits in a certain way, we are quick to follow suit. 

There may be little or no difference between the terms “vegetarian” and “plant-based.”  A person who is a vegetarian follows a “meat-free” diet, though some vegetarians may include occasional meat (flexitarian), seafood or fish (pescatarian or pescetarian) or eggs and dairy products (lacto-ovo-tarian). The diet of someone that claims to be “plant-based” (also sometimes called “plant-focused” or “plant-forward) would typically be composed of primarily fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds and nuts. Some who describe their eating habits in this way may or may not include occasional animal/seafood proteins (meat, eggs, dairy, chicken, pork, seafood/fish, etc.) in their diet. 

Here’s an interesting thought.... take a look at the My Plate icon from the USDA Dietary Guidelines - it recommends more than half your plate should be fruits, vegetables, whole grains/grains, nuts/seeds....isn't that basically “plant-based”? 

Leah McGrath, RDN, LDN

Ingles Markets Corporate Dietitian

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