Does vegan mean dairy-free?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Does vegan mean dairy-free?” and will discuss the difference between vegan and dairy-free.

Does vegan mean dairy-free?

No, vegan doesn’t mean dairy-free. While vegan and dairy-free diets have certain commonalities, they aren’t synonymous. A vegan diet eliminates all animal products, including dairy, eggs, meat, and fish, while a dairy-free diet forbids all milk products but not necessarily any other animal items. While all vegan meals are fundamentally dairy-free, not all dairy-free foods are vegan.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet may be described as the absence of animal products in one’s diet. Veganism is a way of life as well as a diet. When someone chooses to become vegan, they do their utmost to avoid items that utilize or abuse animals.

Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains comprise a vegan diet. Dairy, eggs, and other products produced from animals are not permitted in the diet. Veganism may be chosen for a variety of reasons, including environmental, animal welfare, health, and/or ethical considerations. Animal-derived components or goods that have been tested on animals tend to be excluded from vegan diets. Cosmetics, apparel, and personal care products all fall within this category.

What is a dairy-free diet?

A dairy-free diet does not include any dairy products. Dairy-free dieters avoid all forms of dairy in their diet. Dairy products like cheese, yogurt, butter, and cream are all included in this category since they are all manufactured from milk.

Although this eating pattern allows individuals to consume other animal products like meat and fish (as well as shellfish), it does not prohibit them from consuming eggs.

Lactose intolerance, a disease in which your body cannot digest the lactose sugar lactose, leads to diarrhea and flatulence following dairy consumption, is a major reason people choose dairy-free diets. Dairy-free eating is also popular among those who do so for moral grounds.

What meals to eat and how to choose them?

You may want to know whether a product is vegan or lactose-free before you buy it.

See if there is a label on anything.

Vegan or dairy-free are common labels for products that fit either diet. Additionally, certain items may bear the label “certified vegan,” indicating that they have not been subjected to animal testing and do not include any ingredients or by-products derived from animals.

If you are looking for dairy-free products, look for the kosher label pareve (also known as parve). This Yiddish phrase denotes vegetarian or vegan cuisine. Not all pareve foods are vegan, even if they bear the label “vegan.” This is because some pareve meals include eggs and other animal-derived components.

Take a look at the list of ingredients.

Check the ingredient list if the label isn’t clear. In terms of allergies, milk is right up there with nuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish as well as peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. It is the responsibility of manufacturers to properly identify them in their ingredient lists so that customers are aware of their existence. They are often shown in large types.

If a product is dairy-free, it means it doesn’t include any milk or derivatives of milk. It’s vital to study the ingredient list even if a product claims to be vegan since vegan goods shouldn’t include any animal products.

In certain cases, vegan goods are made in facilities that also process non-vegan ones. To avoid cross-contamination, you may notice a warning stating that the item may contain traces of animal products such as milk, shellfish, or eggs.

Can You Eat Dairy-Free and Be a Vegan At The Same Time?

A vegan can eat steak and eggs for breakfast, smoothies with honey and bee pollen for lunch, and fish tacos with citrus aioli for supper while still adhering to the dairy-free diet guidelines. Any of those items are off-limits to vegans.

While all vegan diets exclude dairy products, a dairy-free one is not. Dairy-free individuals who are not allergic to or sensitive to any other animal products may eat all other animal products.

Seeing “dairy-free” on a product at the grocery store leads people to believe it’s vegan. This is particularly true when it comes to items like ice cream, which we generally identify with dairy. Likely, dairy-free dessert doesn’t include meat, but there’s a chance it contains eggs or honey instead of those two ingredients. Carmine, a dye created from crushed insects, is thought to be the source of the hue. 

It’s prudent to presume that a product isn’t vegan unless the label makes that clear. When you’re on a tight diet and can only eat specific things, knowing the components of everything you purchase is critical.

No matter what your dietary needs are, learning to read food labels is a useful skill to have. For optimal health, learn to identify fake chemicals and needless additions in your food before consuming it. Start paying attention to the ingredients on the label, such as protein, carbs, added sugar, vitamins, and minerals. By reading labels, you give yourself the ability to make better choices.


In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Does vegan mean dairy-free?” and discussed the difference between vegan and dairy-free.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.