Vegan Diet

  • 15.06.2016
  • English Articles
  • Margrit Richter
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Dorle Grünewald-Funk
  • Helmut Heseker
  • Anja Kroke
  • Eva Leschik-Bonnet
  • Helmut Oberritter
  • Daniela Strohm
  • Bernhard Watzl

Position of the German Nutrition Society (DGE)



The vegan diet is exclusively restricted to the consumption of plant-based foods. As with other forms of vegetarian diets, it is becoming increasingly popular among the population of the Western world. It is not known precise- ly how many individuals in Germany adhere to a vegan diet. The data vary between 0.1% and 1% of the population, corresponding to between 81,000 and 810,000 individuals.

Excluding animal foods from the diet is usually a conscious and voluntary decision [1, 2]. A vegan diet as part of a “Western” lifestyle differs from a “traditional” plant- based diet, which is mostly practiced in developing countries, where it is often accompanied by restricted food availability and low energy intake, due to low incomes and lev- els of education [3]. In Western countries, the typical vegetarian is female, young, educated and wealthy, lives in a city and follows a “healthy lifestyle” [1, 2].


On the basis of current scientific literature, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) has developed a position on the vegan diet. With a pure plant-based diet, it is difficult or impossible to attain an adequate supply of some nutrients. The most critical nutrient is vitamin B12. Other potentially critical nutrients in a vegan diet include protein resp. indispensable amino acids, long-chain n-3 fatty acids, other vitamins (riboflavin, vitamin D) and minerals (calcium, iron, iodine, zinc and selenium). The DGE does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, lactating women, infants, children or adolescents. Persons who nevertheless wish to follow a vegan diet should permanently take a vitamin B12 supplement, pay attention to an adequate intake of nutrients, especially critical nutrients, and possibly use fortified foods or dietary supplements. They should receive advice from a nutrition counsellor and their supply of critical nutrients should be regularly checked by a physician.

Keywords: vegan diet, critical nutrients, vitamin B12

Full text PDF (free access)



Das könnte Sie interessieren
Legumes in human nutrition weiter
Legumes in human nutrition weiter
Reimbursement of dietary counseling in Germany weiter
Consumers’ awareness of food-based dietary guidelines in Germany weiter
The impact of social factors on the nutrition of German children and adolescents weiter
Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS) weiter