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Dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of a vegan population in Germany: results from the German Vegan Study

Abstract

Objective: Evaluation of dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of German vegans.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Settings: Germany.

Subjects: Subjects were recruited through journal advertisements. Of 868 volunteers, only 154 participated in all study segments (pre- and main questionnaire, two 9-day food frequency questionnaires, blood sampling) and fulfilled the following study criteria: vegan dietary intake at least 1 year prior to study start, minimum age of 18 y, no pregnancy or childbirth during the last 12 months.

Interventions: No interventions.

Results: All the 154 subjects had a comparatively low BMI (median 21.2 kg/m2), with an extremely low mean consumption of alcohol (0.77±3.14 g/day) and tobacco (96.8% were nonsmokers). Mean energy intake (total collective: 8.23±2.77 MJ) was higher in strict vegans than in moderate ones. Mean carbohydrate, fat, and protein intakes in proportion to energy (total collective: 57.1:29.7:11.6%) agreed with current recommendations. Recommended intakes for vitamins and minerals were attained through diet, except for calcium (median intake: 81.1% of recommendation), iodine (median: 40.6%), and cobalamin (median: 8.8%). For the male subgroup, the intake of a small amount of food of animal origin improved vitamin and mineral nutrient densities (except for zinc), whereas this was not the case for the female subgroup (except for calcium).

Conclusion: In order to reach favourable vitamin and mineral intakes, vegans should consider taking supplements containing riboflavin, cobalamin, calcium, and iodine. Intake of total energy and protein should also be improved.

Sponsorship: EDEN Foundation, Bad Soden, Germany; Stoll VITA Foundation, Waldshut-Tiengen, Germany

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Waldmann, A., Koschizke, J., Leitzmann, C. et al. Dietary intakes and lifestyle factors of a vegan population in Germany: results from the German Vegan Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 947–955 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601629

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Keywords

  • vegan
  • lifestyle factors
  • energy intake
  • vitamin intake; mineral intake
  • dietary intake

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