What are common types of vegetarian diets?

Kathy Freston
Nutrition & Dietetics
There are various types of vegetarian diets, depending on whether you choose to consume milk, eggs, fish, or no animal products at all. In this video, veganist and author Kathy Freston explains the differences, and what being "veganish" means. 
There are several types of vegetarian diets:
  • Vegan diet contains: Grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet contains: Grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, eggs
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet contains: Grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy foods, eggs
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet contains: Grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy foods
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

There are many types of vegetarian diets.

  • Vegan is the strictest form of vegetarian diet which includes only plant-based foods and eliminates all animal products
  • Lacto-vegetarian is plant based but also includes dairy and dairy products
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian is plant based but also includes dairy and eggs

Other types of vegetarian dies include pescatarian (include fish) and flexitarian (mainly plant based but also include some animal products).

Kristine Duncan
Nutrition & Dietetics
It's very helpful to start with some basic terms to understand this type of diet. 
  • Pesca-vegetarians: Eat seafood but no beef, pork or poultry
  • Semi-vegetarians: Try to reduce their consumption of meat or other animal foods but don't give them up completely (One example of this is eating vegetarian Monday-Friday and then allowing meat on the weekends.)
  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: Eat eggs and dairy products, but no beef, pork, fish or poultry
  • Lacto-vegetarians: Eat dairy products, but no eggs, beef, pork, fish or poultry
  • Ovo-vegetarians: Eat eggs, but no dairy, beef, pork, fish or poultry
  • Vegans: Eat only plant foods and no animal foods of any kind (no dairy, eggs, beef, pork, fish or poultry); a vegan may or may not include other animal-derived foods like chicken broth, gelatin, etc.
  • Other categories include raw foodists, fruitarians, etc.
There are lots of different terms used to describe vegetarian diets, but I've found that each person identifies their own way of eating and it may or may not perfectly fit into an established category or description. Also, many vegetarians evolve from one category to another over time.
There are many different types of vegetarian diets. The most common types are:
  • Vegan - This group does not eat meat, eggs, or dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian - This group does not eat meat or eggs. However, they will eat dairy products.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian - This group does not eat any meat. However, they will eat both dairy products and eggs.

Continue Learning about Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarian Diets

When you look at vegetarian diets, it's hard to do so without understanding that many of the practitioners believe that it is not only healthful, but more to practice vegetarianism. This is true even if the diet may include occasi...

onal meats or fish as in the Macrobiotic diet with it's Zen beliefs, or the Indian Ayurvedic diet, which finds milk and dairy central to good health along with plants. Anyone considering a vegetarian diet should learn about the food values of different vegetables, and consider getting advice on whether or not to supplement the diet with vitamins and minerals, particularly if you have special nutritional needs like growing children or pregnant or lactating women.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.