The main difference between vegans and carnivores is in the diet choice where vegans consume plant-based foods without meat products while carnivores have meat as the main part of their diet.
These two lifestyle choices are just among the different diet choices out there and there have been debates about which one is the best diet to adopt.
In this article, we will further discuss the key differences between these two dietary choices. If you’re concerned about which one is more beneficial for you in the long run, then continue scrolling down.
Diet and Lifestyle
Now that you know the main difference between a carnivore diet and a vegan diet, we will further explore the diet and lifestyle of meat eaters and those who solely rely on plant foods.
We will also clear the confusion between vegans and vegetarians.
Vegan Diet and Lifestyle
A vegan’s way of eating and living excludes all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it for food, clothing, or any other purpose. Vegans adopt a plant-based diet devoid of animal products including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, and honey.
Some vegans also avoid using products that are tested on animals or contain animal-derived ingredients.
The vegan lifestyle goes beyond just what we eat. It also incorporates how we live our lives to ensure that we don’t contribute to animal exploitation and cruelty in any way.
So, a vegan might avoid using products made of leather or wool and choose only cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care items. They might also choose not to visit places like zoos or circuses that keep animals in captivity.
While the vegan movement started as a way to promote animal rights, it has now evolved into a lifestyle choice for many people who believe in living ethically and sustainably. For some people, veganism is also a way to improve their health and protect the environment.
Carnivore Diet and Lifestyle
For those adopting the carnivore diet, this diet focuses on animal-based products and food groups including seafood, meat, dairy, and eggs while excluding plant foods including whole foods like grains, nuts, legumes, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.
Without the plant-based products, you may now have realized that this way of eating lacks essential nutrition like fiber that you can get from plants and is high in fat and salt content.
Included in a carnivore diet is also the avoidance of eating foods that are low in lactose content like butter and hard cheeses.
A carnivore diet lifestyle sprung from the belief that our ancestors relied on foods like fish and meat and that the high-carb diet that most masses follow causes chronic disease and that carbs and sugar increase the hospitalization rate.
Followers of this diet claim that following a carnivore lifestyle or meat-eating can treat some illnesses but there are no solid studies to support these claims.
For those following this lifestyle, the main part of their diet includes eating meat from pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, organ meats, salmon, and many others.
A carnivore diet also discourages drinking coffee, tea, and drinks made from plants and instead promotes drinking water and bone broth.
Vegan vs Vegetarian Diet – A Brief Overview
The main difference between the vegan diet and a vegetarian diet is that vegetarians still consume dairy products and eggs while vegans exclude all animal products from their diet.
Both these diets are plant-based but a vegan diet is a more restrictive form of eating than a vegetarian diet.
Now that we know of the diet and lifestyle of a vegan diet vs a carnivore diet, you might now have a pretty good idea about where the meat eaters get their protein sources which are from animal products but wondering how vegan can supplement their protein with their diet focusing on the plant-based product.
Or if you are looking to get into a carnivore diet then you might find this section helpful in finding the foods to start incorporating into your diet.
Vegan Diet Protein Sources
The following are the main protein sources of a vegan diet:
- Nuts and Seeds – walnuts, almonds, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hempseeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds
- Legumes – Black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, kidney beans lentils, and peas
- Non-dairy milk – Soy milk and Pea milk
- Grains – Quinoa, Brown rice, Amaranth, Millet, Oats, and Spelt
- Soy Products and Vegan Meat – Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Beyond Meat Meatballs, and Impossible Burger
- Fruits and Vegetables – Brocolli, Artichoke, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Banana, and Blueberries
You can also look into plant-based whey protein products. There is a wide range of vegan protein powder in the market that can supplement your daily protein needs, especially for those who are always on the go and has less time for food preparation.
Among the top vegan protein powders are Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder, TRUVANI Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Isopure Vegan Protein Powder.
Carnivore Diet Protein Sources
A carnivore diet, with an abundance of meat, is easy to follow. The following are a carnivore diet’s list of protein sources:
- Meat – beef, chicken, pork, organ meats, lamb, turkey,
- Fish – Salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, and catfish
- Shellfish – shrimp, crab, oysters, scallops, clams, and lobster
- Eggs, Bone Marrow, and Low-lactose dairy
- Animal-based fats – Grease, Lard, and Other Animal-based fats
- Spices and Seasonings – Salt, Pepper, and herbs
Health Benefits Comparison
A plant-based diet and a carnivore diet have their pros and cons when it comes to the health of your body.
Before you adopt any of these diet types, you have to know how it could potentially affect your health both in a good and bad way.
The following sections will show a comparison between a vegan diet and a carnivore diet regarding health benefits.
Vegan Diet Health Benefits
Here are the health benefits of following a vegan diet:
- Promote Weight Loss – Research has shown that people following a vegan diet leads to lower body mass index compared to other types of diet. With the absence of high-calorie meat products, vegans who consume low-calorie products and get their nutrition from plants tend to manage their weight better. But it’s also important to take note that like meats, plants also have processed foods referred to as vegan junk food that can lead to weight gain.
- Lower cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of developing heart disease – A vegan diet promotes better heart health with high-fiber consumption. Weight loss and lower body mass index also prevent obesity which increases the chance of heart disease.
- Lower Risk on Some Forms of Cancer like Colon Cancer – There is also a lower risk of developing some forms of cancer when you eat plant-based products. Studies have shown that a person’s chances of developing cancer decreased by 15%. This might be because of the nutrition from high-fiber content and vitamins from plants.
- Vegans are more likely to manage diabetes with lower AIC Levels – Plant-based diet can also aid in preventing Type 2 Diabetes because of the healthier nutrition from whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Better Digestion – Adopting a vegan diet promotes good digestion because of the high-fiber content of plants. This type of diet also decreases the risk of developing other digestive problems like constipation, diverticular disease, and Hemorrhoids.
Carnivore Diet Health Benefits
Here are the benefits of a carnivore diet:
- Carnivore diet helps in reducing inflammation – A carnivore diet aids in better nutrition by helping reduce inflammation because it cuts out all the plant-based foods that contain lectins. Lectins are found in grains and legumes and are known to increase inflammation in the body.
- Aids in weight loss and management – The carnivore diet is also effective for weight loss. Research has shown that people who consume a carnivore diet have lower body mass index and smaller waist circumference. With high-protein content from meats, the body enters the state of ketosis that burn fat for energy.
- Lowers the risk of some chronic diseases – The carnivore diet can help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. This is because a carnivore diet promotes healthy eating habits and provides the nutrients needed by the body to function properly.
Health Risks Comparison
Each diet type poses health risks that you need to be aware of.
Meat-eaters and those who want to switch to plant-based food by eliminating some food needed for a balanced diet can affect your body’s health.
The following section provides information about the possible health risks of a vegan diet and a carnivore diet.
Vegan Diet Health Risks
Some of the health risks of limiting yourself to just eating plant-based food include:
- Hormone Disruption from Soy Protein – Unfermented soy products contain phytoestrogens that can disrupt hormone function. This might be the reason why some studies have linked the consumption of soy to breast cancer.
- Calcium Deficiency – Meat contains significant amounts of calcium needed by the body. Calcium is important for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Plant-based food has lower calcium content which might lead to the deficiency if not taken in moderation.
- Risk of Anemia – Anemia is a condition caused by the lack of iron in the blood. Meat contains high amounts of heme iron that is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron found in plants. This makes vegans more prone to developing anemia.
- Decreased Omega 3 Fatty Acid – Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain function and heart health. Marine animals are the best source of Omega 3 fatty acids but vegans can get it from plant sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. However, the body finds it difficult to convert plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids into the active form needed by the body.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency – Vitamin B12 is found mostly in animal-based food. This vitamin is important for the nervous system and the development of red blood cells. Vegans are at risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency which can lead to anemia and neurological problems. But don’t lose hope as there are vegan diets with B12.
- Decreased Ability to Absorb Zinc – Zinc is a mineral needed for cell growth, immune function, and wound healing. It is found in meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy products. Plant-based food has lower zinc content and the body finds it difficult to absorb it. This can lead to zinc deficiency which manifests as hair loss, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
Carnivore Diet Health Risks
The carnivore diet also has some health risks that you need to be aware of:
- High Cholesterol Levels – The carnivore diet can cause high cholesterol levels because of the saturated fat from meat. This can lead to heart disease and stroke.
- Risk of Bacterial Infection – Meat can be a source of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When meat is not cooked properly, it can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella.
- Excess Protein Intake – Too much protein can stress the kidneys and lead to kidney damage. The carnivore diet is high in protein which makes it important to limit protein intake to prevent kidney damage.
Environmental Impact Comparison
The controversy of environmental impact when it comes to either vegan diet or carnivore diet is still going on.
Some people believe that a vegan diet is more sustainable and causes less environmental damage than a carnivore diet. Others believe that a carnivore diet is more sustainable and causes less environmental damage.
The following section provides information about the possible environmental impacts of a vegan diet and a carnivore diet.
Vegan Diet Environmental Impact
The vegan diet has a lower environmental impact than the carnivore diet because it requires less land, water, and energy to produce.
Vegans also generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat-eaters. A vegan diet is more sustainable and causes less environmental damage.
Carnivore Diet Environmental Impact
The carnivore diet has a higher environmental impact than the vegan diet because it requires more land, water, and energy to produce.
Carnivores also generate more greenhouse gas emissions than vegans. A carnivore diet is less sustainable and causes more environmental damage.
More Comparison of Terms
We’ve added this section to help you differentiate the other terms that might have confused you with the vegan diet and carnivore diet. See below for some helpful comparisons:
Carnivore vs Paleo
A carnivore diet focuses on meat-based food and eliminates plant-based products for food sources while with a Paleo diet, you can eat both meat and plant products but you have to stay away from processed foods.
Herbivore vs Vegan
Herbivore is a general term for any organism that eats plants as a food source. The term vegan on the other hand refers to a person who has chosen not to consume any animal-based products.
Vegetarian vs Omnivore
Vegetarian compared to an Omnivore diet, a vegetarian diet eliminates meat and animal-based products while an omnivore diet includes both plant and animal-based products.
The Bottom Line: Which Diet Suits me Best, Vegan or Carnivore?
There are a lot of things to consider before you decide to switch to either a vegan diet or a carnivore diet. It is important that you do your research and consult with a healthcare professional to know which diet is best for you.
Both diets have their pros and cons and it is up to you to decide which diet suits you best.