The 7 Types of Nutrition Vegetarian Diets

An ovo-pollo-lacto-flexitarian what?” you wonder after reading the latest on vegetarian diets. While a vegetarian diet is essentially a plant-based diet, there can actually be more to it than eating more whole grains, beans, and fresh produce.

What Is a Vegetarian Diet?

Broadly speaking, a vegetarian diet is an eating pattern that includes plant-based foods, including grains, fruits, veggies, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds, but omits meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter.

However, there are certain levels of vegetarianism, as some followers pick and choose allowable animal products in their diet. This tends to spark prospective followers and outlookers to wonder, “What do you call a vegetarian that eats fish?” or “Do vegetarians eat eggs?” Recognizing the various types of vegetarian diets helps enlighten such questions.

1. Lacto-ovo Vegetarian

Used interchangeably with ovo-lacto vegetarian, a lacto-ovo vegetarian eating pattern is the most common vegetarian diet in the U.S. Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish and shellfish, or insects or animal flesh of any kind, but do consume dairy and egg products (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg).

Lacto-ovo vegetarians tend to only eat free-range eggs, which are eggs produced from birds that have access to the outdoors.

2. Lacto Vegetarian

Lacto-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, or eggs, but do consume dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt.

3. Ovo Vegetarian

Ovo-vegetarians do not eat red or white meat, fish, or dairy products, but do consume egg products.

4. Flexitarian

Flexitarian is the combination of two words: Flexible and vegetarian. Flexitarians, also known as semi-vegetarians, focus primarily consume a plant-based diet though enjoys meat on occasion.

The diet was built by Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner to grant consumers flexibility, options, and an introduction to the benefits of vegetarianism.


Pollotarian is a semi-vegetarian diet in which someone chooses to eat chicken and other poultry but does not consume red meat, fish, and other animal meats.

6. Pescatarian

So if a pollotarian restricts meat consumption to poultry, what do you call a vegetarian that eats fish?

A pescatarian, which is also considered a flexitarian and semi-vegetarian diet. Pescatarians eat fish and shellfish but do not consume red or white meats.

7. Vegan

A vegan is an individual who decides to follow a vegan lifestyle, whether it be for personal, cultural, or ethical motives or concerns.

But unlike vegetarians that may enjoy a more liberal diet, going vegan is going without all animal products, even in the forms of honey, gelatin, wool, leather, and other animal by-product ingredients or products. Vegans typically do not use animal products such as silk, leather and wool, as well.

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