What are the main differences between lacto-ovo and pesco vegetarians?

As non-vegetarian, these terms are confusing for me, and Wikipedia isn't clarifying the main differences between them.

  • The difference is obvious. Pescetarians eat fish. Please be more specific. – Turion Jan 31 '17 at 19:22
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    @gerrit Let's be careful about rubber-stamping questions "easy to Google" so dismissively. The problem with this question is it doesn't really have a problem statement. If you look up the two terms in the dictionary, they will have different definitions, so figuring out the source of confusion is anybody's guess. Often poorly labeled "what have you tried?", I don't want to begrudge comments asking for clarification when needed but, If you don't have the time or inclination to engage in conversation with the author, don't comment - just vote. – Robert Cartaino Feb 1 '17 at 2:01
  • @RobertCartaino While I partially agree with you, there is also the warning that you get while asking in private beta that fairly clearly states: "Avoid “easy” questions". I think that is a bit what gerrit meant here. And, as you of course know, there are private beta sites that were closed because the questions were not of sufficient quality, and this question is an example of a question that is not of sufficient quality, at least not for private beta. – wythagoras Feb 1 '17 at 17:26
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    @wythagoras My problem wasn't with the question. It was with the (habitural) use of curt comments that don't actually explain why a question might not be a good fit for this site. Read the linked post I included at the bottom of my comment above. Once this becomes widely accepted as normal, this is a really hard habit to abate, and it can destroy the approachability of a site. That is why I address these issues early on during the private beta so it does not become the norm of the site. – Robert Cartaino Feb 1 '17 at 17:30

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat plants, dairy, and eggs, but not meat. This is a commonly seen as the "default" form of vegetarianism.

A pesco vegetarian is somebody who eats seafood (or in some cases only fish), but not other meat.

Also, somebody who eats plants, dairy, and seafood is a lacto-pesco vegetarian.


To understand this we have to first get "context" and "viewpoint" of the "terms", "labels" & "definitions" & cultural background/ history.

Given that the population of vegetarians in India is largest/ highest by number a well as percentage across the Globe and the longest history a well, where the "holy cow" reference originates from, please do not fight on the aspect that one of the earliest "flavor" of Veg-ism can/ should be attributed to said National/ Regional/ Cultural civilization - Mostly referred to as the Indus Valley Civilization.

So, this following is coming from that side. It's the equivalent of giving perspective on yoga or kung fu from that side, not from the American / Western side of definitions.

I was born vegetarian and have family that's been veg for 5/6 generations so consider that as the base line for original vegetarianism.

We have:

  • Dairy products
  • Plant products
  • Honey

(as it does not involved killing/ consuming Genetic material that would lead to offspring i.e. It has zero life generation possibility - No killing)

Do not have:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken, Meat, Fish etc.

This is the typical "vegetarian" in India - Larges population of them, baseline.

Now, there are people in India who started to consume eggs (maybe with the advent of western medicine & fear of lack of protein and the egg lobby) and had some reasoning for it. "Pure Vegetarians" would scoff at that a well :)

So, if we walked into a placed to order food, typical pre-cursor would be we are "Pure Vegetarians" :) to avoid any egg, fish, meat etc. coming to the table.

PS: I had the repeat the same when I first moved to the US, but had to further refine/ define terms.

A large part of the above is based on Ayurvedic & Yoga fundamentals in India.

Now, when my cousins first visited Europe (I think it was Germany/ France or so) on a trip a cafe served them some meal which they said had "no meat" but, but found it had fish in it.

They did not eat it, and when we heard about it we scoffed & laughed. But, at the time apparently those people considered it "vegetarian".

Now, when I first moved to the US, I found large part of the "Vegetarian crowd" as defined in the US, had a mix of Egg & Fish consuming populace in addition to dairy products.

That's the time I came across the term Pescatarian.

And as I lived in the US I came across people who were off even dairy and honey etc, even if it was an animal product that did not involve killing or termination of life/ genetic material.

This was called the Vegan - Veganism.

Now the above is a context and viewpoint from generations of original historical vegetarianism.

Now, given that I lived in the US and the terms and understandings had to be re-termed from my viewpoint to the US viewpoint as my "Vegetarian" - which is how it is still referred to as in India.

Now, coming to the American/ Western worlds terminology use,

  • Vegan - Plant only
  • Lacto-Veg - Plant + Dairy (+maybe Honey) = Pure Vegetarian in India
  • Ovo-Lacto-Veg - + Egg to the above = Eggetarian in India, maybe vegetarian in China (as lot of dishes that Chines call veg contain eggs - We have to caution against those too)
  • Pescatarian - Veg + Fish - No meat (not sure how they are about eggs, mostly yes)
  • The Pesco-veg - Mentioned in Riker's answer is a new one to me, if at all such exists. Every day you learn something new.
  • Flexitarian - They well, define as and how and when what they wish to have and be :)
  • @Niitaku - I'd rather have the answer be present on Meta (I just happened to come across this Q first) - Plus, there is a key need to understand and define classes/ sub classes i.e. subsets/ supersets of Veg-ism. Overlaps and differences and allow each to have its own tag - This answer reply is "Nicely" written. There are no "bad" words or tonality in it. – Alex S Jul 26 '17 at 20:08
  • Duplication of an answer is gratuitous if you can simply link to an answer (e.g. "I wrote a more expanded definition of the different terms here" and then explain how that is relevant to the Meta question asked). – Erica Jul 28 '17 at 12:40

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