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

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Aug;57(8):947-55. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601629.


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/m(2)), 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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / standards
  • Diet, Vegetarian*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals / administration & dosage*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage*


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins