The German Nutrition Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung or DGE) has updated its position on plant-based diets and now acknowledges their benefits for human health and the environment. DGE has looked at the benefits of health, the environment, society, and animal welfare, with a particular focus on human health and the environment.

Previously, DGE had said that plant-based diets were “not recommended” for vulnerable populations (infants, the elderly, pregnant people, etc.), but now it has withdrawn such advice, and it is saying that vegan diets have the potential to minimise the environmental impact of food production. This progress in approaching plant-based diets could already be detected last April when DGE published updated dietary guidelines recommending eating at least 75% plant-based foods. At the time this was criticised for not going further enough, but it seems the organisation now realises this may be true and is trying to make amends. Hopefully, in future, it will go even further and recommend that people stay away from all animal products. 

DGE writes, “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…Especially due to the great potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

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

It is not surprising that German nutritional organisations seem to be progressing on this issue. In April 2023, Germany’s Federal Information Centre for Agriculture revealed that meat consumption per capita in the country fell by around 4.2 kg to 52 kg per person in 2022, compared with the previous year, which is lower than it has been since calculations began in 1989.

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.