It depends on what you actually eat. However, health-wise, a vegan diet is more likely to be healthy than a vegetarian diet is. While vegetarian diets can be great for you, there’s still a lot of junk food that you can eat. Veganism cuts a lot of the really bad stuff out. Yet you should be aware that a good amount of junk food is vegan as well. The best is a well-balanced diet, vegan, vegetarian or omnivorous.
I agree with the second comment, but not with the adamancy of the first. The reason a vegetarian decides to become vegan is two-fold. Firstly, one might realize that growth hormones commonly fed to cows and found in dairy foods, continue to “grow” even after being eaten. That is, they are more likely to cause weight gain. It’s interesting to note, as explained in the book The China Study, that the countries who consume the most beef and dairy are also the countries that have the highest rate of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Furthermore, animal fat (ie saturated fat), including dairy fat, is the most likely substance to attract pesticides eaten by food-animals. Therefore dairy pesticides are far more potent and harmful than those found on non-organic fruits and vegetables.
Secondly, dairy is not as “cruelty free” as you may think. Many dairy cows, after losing their value as givers of milk, are sold to the beef industry after a few years. Furthermore, cows that are not grass-fed and raised compassionately suffer immensely in factory farms.
It really depends on what you eat. I’ve been trying to go vegan recently, and I have found it a lot more frustrating than when transitioning into vegetarianism. That is not better. I think a lot less foods are open to vegans, and that is also not better. Is it healthier and potentially as craving-satisfying? Yes, but vegans also need to rely a little more heavily on supplements to make sure they are meeting their nutrient requirements. That said, if you are really willing to put your time and effort into being a healthy and satisfied vegan, it probably is the healthiest and the most eco-friendly diet (especially is you are a locavore or raw vegan!).
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