German Nutrition Society

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German Nutrition Society V.
purpose Funding, evaluation and publication of nutritional research as well as nutritional advice and education
President: Jakob Linseisen
Manager: Kiran Virmani
Establishment date: 4th November 1953
Number of members: 4130: 97% individual members, 3% trade associations and companies
Seat : Bonn , GermanyGermanyGermany 
DGE headquarters in Bonn, Godesberger Allee 18

The German Society for Nutrition e. V. ( DGE ) is an independent scientific German specialist society in the legal form of a non-profit registered association. According to its statutes, it is committed to the common good and science and primarily pursues two goals: promotion, evaluation and publication of nutritional research as well as nutritional advice and education in the service of the health of the population. The DGE promotes wholesome nutrition. It determines the need for research in nutrition-related questions, collects results, evaluates them and makes them public. The DGE issues recommendations, guidelines and statements based on scientific research. It organizes scientific conferences, seminars and courses.

Since 1954 your publication organ has been the food review . The trade journal appears monthly and addresses both researchers and nutritionists with the latest results of scientific studies. The journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism , which is also published monthly, is the DGE's English-language organ. All DGE members receive the online edition free of charge. One of its guidelines are the 10 rules of the DGE, which have been revised and changed several times since 1956.

The company was founded in 1953. About 70 percent of it is financed by the federal and state governments through public funds. The remaining 30 percent is covered by own income, fees for writing and media, advice and courses, and membership fees .

The German Nutrition Society is based in the building of the former permanent representation of the GDR in the Plittersdorf district of Bonn .


During National Socialism, nutritional science was represented by the German Society for Nutrition Research (DGEF, 1935–1945), which is to be regarded as the predecessor organization of the DGE. The DGEF was subordinate to the Reich Health Office and saw its task in "strengthening the national body", "political advice" and "public education". She wanted to improve the health of the people through nutrition. At the same time it should as conformist underpin the regime scientific professional society policies and assist in implementation. After the end of the war, the DGEF stopped its activities.

In 1953, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) was founded as a joint organization of several associations and clubs that dealt with the subject of nutrition and health. These associations became co-opted members and their chairmen automatically became members of the board. The statutes were adopted on November 4th, 1953, the first official general meeting took place on March 4th, 1954 in Mainz.

The founders of the DGE (including Heinrich Kraut ) kept silent about the National Socialist predecessor organization DGEF. There was no discussion of the National Socialist past. In the statutes of 1953, an important goal is named to " maintain and increase the health and productivity of the population through guidance on correct and wholesome nutrition ."

The first board of directors of the DGE included a. Hermann Ertel, Erich Grafe, Louis Grote, Wilhelm Heupke, Heinrich Kraut and Franz Wirz . The first president was Heupke, who, however, resigned before the first general meeting and also left the DGE. His successor was Grafe, Kraut followed in 1956 and Kühnau in 1958, who headed the DGE until 1964.


The General Assembly of the DGE is the highest body that elects the Scientific Presidium and the Administrative Council. The Scientific Presidium mainly develops positions and determines in which areas of nutrition there is a need for research. The Board of Directors monitors and appoints the management, reviews the annual financial statements and approves the DGE's work plan. The DGE is represented in public by the management, which initiates and coordinates the technical tasks of the DGE. The DGE maintains a main office with around 80 employees in Bonn. Your specialist presentations are divided into the following areas: science , specialist media / section coordination , advanced training , community catering and quality assurance and public relations, as well as the IN FORM project in community catering, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture . Since 2015, the Diet-Body-Brain (DietBB) and Geprüfte IN FORM recipes as well as the EU project JANPA have also been part of the DGE. The internal services in the main office are responsible for administrative and financial matters of the DGE. In addition, the DGE works closely with networking agencies and sections in various federal states.

At the federal state level, the DGE is represented by sections in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia. They carry the DGE's specialist knowledge into their regional networks and provide information on nutritional issues, advise and organize specialist conferences and training seminars for multipliers.

Science and journalism awards

Hans Adolf Krebs Prize (since 1981)

Every four years the DGE awards the Hans Adolf Krebs Prize for special achievements in basic research. It honors scientific work that deals with general questions about nutrition or food science and their nutritional-physiological significance. The science award is endowed with 5000 euros.

Max Rubner Prize (since 1979)

Together with the German Society for Internal Medicine , the DGE awards the Max Rubner Prize every four years for excellent scientific research in the field of nutritional therapy or the prevention of diet-related diseases. It is endowed with 5000 euros. The Foundation for the Promotion of the DGE provides both prizes.

Journalist Prize (since 1990)

Every year the DGE awards a prize to journalists in the general media in the categories of daily and weekly newspapers , general-interest magazines , radio , TV and the Internet for their special commitment to nutrition education. The prize is endowed with 2000 euros for each of the media areas mentioned.

Diet recommendations

Nutrition circle

The DGE nutrition group is a graphic scheme developed in 1956 for the wholesome nutrition it represents. Following the example of the USDA's food pyramid , adapted recommendations were published in the 1990s. In 2005, based on new findings in nutritional science (e.g. Nurses' Health Study ), a three-dimensional pyramid was chosen as the form of presentation in order to be able to make quantitative and qualitative recommendations separately from one another.

The center of this latest recommendation is again the nutrition circle. Different food groups are symbolically represented in a circle by representatives of the food groups, each with its recommended proportion of the total diet. Since 2003, a glass of water in the center of the circle has symbolized the recommended daily amount of beverages that should be consumed.

The DGE nutrition group shows the way to a healthy and wholesome diet. It divides the food offer into seven groups:

Food groups
1 Cereals, cereal products, potatoes
2 vegetables, salads
3 fruits
4 milk, dairy products
5 meat, sausage, fish, eggs
6 fats, oils
7 drinks

If these guidelines are observed, the daily energy intake is made up as follows: 30 to 35 percent fats, ten to 15 percent protein, 55 to 60 percent carbohydrates. The larger a segment of a circle, the larger the group should consume. Food from small segments, on the other hand, should be used sparingly. For a varied diet, the DGE recommends using the variety of foods in the individual groups. If the composition is not balanced on one day, this can be balanced on the following days. It depends on the weekly balance.

A study on the effectiveness of this complex 3D presentation in conveying recommendations was carried out and resulted in an average of 80% correct answers to the pyramid from 42 test subjects.

10 rules of the DGE

Since 1956 the DGE has been formulating in the 10 rules of the DGE how everyone can enjoy a healthy and at the same time healthy diet. The rules are formulated on the basis of current scientific knowledge and apply to all ages, with the exception of infants. They were last updated in 2017.

President of the DGE

  • Wilhelm Heupke (1953–1954)
  • Erich Grafe (1954–1956)
  • Heinrich Kraut (1956–1958)
  • Joachim Kühnau (1958–1960)
  • Robert Ammon (1960–1964)
  • Josef Schormüller (1964–1968)
  • Rudolf Pannhorst (1968–1972)
  • Günther Siebert (1972–1974)
  • Alfons Fricker (1974–1976)
  • Nepomuk Zöllner (1976–1978)
  • Hans J. Bielig (1978–1982)
  • Erich Menden (1982–1986)
  • Günter Schlierf (1986–1990)
  • Volker Pudel (1992–1994)
  • Günther Wolfram (three terms of office: 1990–1992, 1994–1998)
  • Helmut F. Erbersdobler (1998-2003)
  • Peter Stehle (2004-2010)
  • Helmut Heseker (2010–2016)
  • Ulrike Arens-Azevêdo (2016–2019)
  • Jakob Linseisen (since 2019)

Positioning on the vegetarian and vegan diet

The DGE takes the position that (ovo) lacto- vegetarian diet can be suitable as permanent nutrition, but emphasizes the necessity of careful food selection, especially for the nutrition of children. According to the study results available and evaluated by the DGE, as of April 2016, vegetarians cannot be expected to have a health advantage over similarly nourished mixed dinners with a low meat content in their diet. However, it can be assumed that a plant-based diet - with or without a small amount of meat - is associated with a lower risk of diet-related diseases compared to the current diet in Germany.

With a purely plant-based diet, according to the DGE, an adequate supply of certain nutrients is difficult or impossible. The most critical nutrient is vitamin B12 . The potentially critical nutrients in a vegan diet also included protein or essential amino acids and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins D and riboflavin as well as the minerals calcium , iron , iodine , zinc and selenium . The DGE expressly does not recommend a vegan diet for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, infants, children and young people. These particular populations would be at greater risk of nutrient deficiencies. If you still want to follow a vegan diet, you should take a vitamin B12 supplement on a long-term basis, ensure that you get enough critical nutrients and, if necessary, use fortified foods and supplements . For this purpose, advice should be given by a qualified nutritionist and the supply of critical nutrients should be checked regularly by a doctor.

The DGE points out that foods that are consumed with a vegan diet are not necessarily nutritionally beneficial and health-promoting. The DGE rates vegetables , pulses , fruit , nuts , seeds , valuable vegetable oils and whole grain products as beneficial. Vegan dishes or foods to which high amounts of sugar , fats and table salt have been added are, however, "not nutritionally beneficial".


Diet recommendations

The ecotrophologists Ulrike Gonder and Nicolai Worm criticized the DGE with regard to its competence and credibility. The allegation of wasting taxpayers' money was raised because of partly questionable and insufficiently substantiated recommendations for or against certain diets and foods .

Dealing with previous history

The historian Ulrike Thoms and the book author Jörg Melzer pointed out that in the initial phase of the DGE a number of people were active in managerial positions who had already dealt with nutritional issues during the Nazi era and who had partly worked with the government. Melzer speaks of "personal continuity". The name of the DGE also reminds of the German Society for Nutrition Research (DGEF), which was active during the Nazi era and was founded in 1935 .

In 2006, Thoms publicly accused the DGE of never distancing itself from its predecessor organization. "Neither the existence of a predecessor society of the same name nor the fact that its members were largely identical before and after 1945 is even mentioned." The DGE could well be seen as the successor organization of its National Socialist predecessor. The term “complete nutrition” was already used during the Nazi era, especially by Werner Kollath .

“To this day, the DGE has not dealt with its history under National Socialism. Neither the personal correspondence of Kraut nor the first publications of the DGE, above all in the magazine Ernahrung-Umschau , which has been published by her since 1954 , indicate a change in content from the earlier substantive approaches in nutritional research. "

- Ulrike Thoms : Break-in, departure, breakthrough? Nutritional research in Germany before and after 1945

In the 11/2016 food review , the DGE dealt with its past. She recognized the DGEF as her predecessor organization: “The DGE condemns that its predecessor, the DGEF, allowed itself to be instrumentalized by National Socialism and acted as a compliant helper in the implementation of a criminal ideology. [...] The DGE regrets that continuities in terms of personnel and content were not discussed or critically reflected upon when it was founded. A critical examination of the role of nutritional science in National Socialist Germany is still necessary today; it must not be forgotten. "

This statement was criticized by the historian Uwe Spiekermann , who had already pointed out the continuity of the National Socialist functional elites in the DGE as early as 2000 into the 1970s. The alleged reappraisal is inadequate, especially since the founding of the DGE as the successor organization of the German Society for Nutrition Research is disguised as a “necessary new beginning” and “the illusion of an ideology-free specialist society is cherished”.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  2. [1]
  3. The German Nutrition Society celebrates its 55th birthday  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  4. [2]
  5. ^ Statutes of the German Nutrition Society V. . As of Bonn, September 9, 2013.
  6. ^ Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism , Karger Verlag
  7. Hans-Georg Joost, Helmut Heseker: Processing: History of the German nutritional societies DGEF and DGE. 2016, accessed January 2018 .
  8. ^ A b Jörg Martin Melzer: Whole Foods Nutrition: Dietetics, Naturopathy, National Socialism. Stuttgart 2003, p. 291.
  9. . Accessed July 28, 2017
  10. Tested IN FORM recipes .
  11. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  12. Whole food and drink according to the 10 rules of the DGE. DGE, June 2, 2002, archived from the original on June 2, 2002 ; Retrieved January 26, 2011 .
  13. Peter Stehle et al .: Graphic implementation of dietary guidelines - traditional and new approaches . Ed .: Nutrition review. Vol. 4, 2005, pp. 128–135 ( [PDF; accessed on January 21, 2011]).
  14. Evaluation study on the use and benefits of the three-dimensional food pyramid in nutrition education and counseling (peer review process) - University of Flensburg, Ulrike Johannsen et al. (August 12, 2009)
  15. DGE: PM DGE. In: PM DGE 08/2017. DGE, August 29, 2017, accessed September 8, 2017 .
  16. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p German Nutrition Society (ed.): 50 years of DGE nutritional knowledge in the course of time 1st edition, pp. 22-23, Bonn (2003).
  17. Recognized nutritionist: Prof. Günther Wolfram celebrates his 65th birthday .
  18. Archive link ( Memento of the original from April 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  19. Helmut Heseker new President of the DGE .
  20. Archive link ( Memento of the original from January 24, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  21. The DGE Presidium was newly elected .
  22. ^ DGE with a new presidium .
  23. DGE elects Presidium. Retrieved March 23, 2020 .
  24. German Society for Nutrition e. V .: Is a vegetarian diet suitable for children? In: DGE-aktuell 14/98 , July 21, 1998. In the web archive ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed on: April 15, 2016)
  25. ^ Margrit Richter, Heiner Boeing, Dorle Grünewald-Funk, Helmut Heseker, Anja Kroke, Eva Leschik-Bonnet, Helmut Oberritter, Daniela Strohm, Bernhard Watzl for the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE): Vegan Nutrition - Position of the German Society for Nutrition e. V. (DGE). In: Ernaehrungs Umschau international 63 (04); Pp. 92-102. doi: 10.4455 / eu.2016.021 .
  26. Hans-Werner Loose: Criticism of nutritional advice - scientists question the German Nutrition Society In: Die Welt , September 6, 1999. Online version
  27. a b c Ulrike Thoms: Break-in, departure, breakthrough? Nutritional research in Germany before and after 1945. In: Rüdiger vom Bruch u. a. (Ed.): Continuities and discontinuities in the history of science in the 20th century. 2006, p. 123 f.
  28. Hans-Georg Joost, Helmut Heseker: Processing: History of the German nutritional societies DGEF and DGE. (PDF) November 2016, accessed January 2018 .
  29. Uwe Spiekermann : Artificial food. Nutrition in Germany, 1840 until today . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-525-31719-8 , p. 708.