Germany’s Dietary Guidelines Now Acknowledge Plant-Based Benefits

Germany's dietary guidelines acknowledge benefits of animal-free eating


3 Minutes Read

Photo shows someone cutting fresh vegetables on a wooden chopping board in the kitchen Germany has updated it's dietary guidelines to better acknowledge the benefits of veganism - Media Credit: Adobe Stock

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung (DGE), the German Nutrition Society, just updated its position on plant-based diets to acknowledge their benefits for human health and the environment.

Read more: Major 20-Year Review Finds Plant-Based Diets Reduce Disease Risk

DGE says that in its reassessment of vegan nutrition, it considered “all four target dimensions” of a sustainable diet – health, the environment, social benefits, and animal welfare – with a particular focus on its benefits to human health and the environment.

Key takeaways from DGE’s reassessment include an endorsement of fully plant-based diets as “health-promoting” for the general population, providing they are “well-planned.”

Previously, DGE also said that plant-based diets were “not recommended” for vulnerable populations (infants, seniors, pregnant people, and so on), whereas now it neither recommends nor rejects a vegan diet for these demographics.

Finally, DGE celebrated the potential for vegan diets to minimize the environmental impact of food production, specifically when compared with traditional animal-derived foods.

“Compared to the mixed diet currently common in Germany, which includes a high proportion of animal foods, a vegan diet is to be considered more environmentally friendly,” writes DGE. “Especially due to the great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read more: Academics Call Out FAO For Leaving Meat Reduction From Food Emissions Plan

Germany’s dietary guidelines update places vegan foods ‘front-and-center’

Photo shows a lots of different varieties of fruit and plant-based foods in bowls spread out in bowls on a table
Adobe Stock Germany’s dietary guidelines already emphasized the benefits of vegan foods as part of a flexitarian diet

Plant-based advocacy NGO ProVeg International welcomed the update, with International Nutrition and Health Lead Anna-Lena Klapp describing it as a “new era.”

“It takes vegan diets out of the shadows of the policy debate and places them front-and-center instead. We are delighted that this position has been published and we expect it to influence similar bodies around the world,” said Klapp.

Back in April, DGE published updated dietary guidelines that recommended eating at least 75 percent plant-based foods. That announcement was celebrated for its move away from high-impact animal foods like meat and dairy but criticized for not going further.

Studies confirm that plant foods are better for human health, the planet, and animals, while Germany already has a particularly high rate of meat-free eaters at around 10 percent of the population. Around 55 percent identify as “flexitarian.”

Read more: Eat At Least 75% Plant-Based Foods, Say Germany’s New Dietary Guidelines

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