East- and west-German health inequalities that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s centered not only on cardiovascular mortality but also on lifestyle-dependent risk factors, thus a question that should be addressed is whether different dietary behaviours existed in the two sections of Germany. To answer this question, we examined two random-sample population surveys--MONICA in the east and VERA in the west--that were carried out during the late 1980s. In the eastern section of Germany, the consumption of milk, vegetable oil and fat, fresh vegetables and tropical fruits was much lower than that in the west, whereas the intake of sausages and butter was much higher. Consequently, the calorie intake in the east was higher for fat and lower for carbohydrates before reunification. Changes in dietary habits were anticipated in East Germany after reunification because of important changes in the food supply. Analysis of an east-German dietary survey that was carried out after the wall came down revealed that the improved food supply to the east, with more choices for planning a healthy diet, led to a favourable development in both macro- and micro-nutrient intake, more carbohydrates, vitamins, calcium, and potassium were consumed.