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The Dietetics or Dietetics (from Greek  δίαιτα Diaita life) is contribute a collective term, which originally included all measures under a regulated life to the physical and mental health maintenance or cure.

In addition to medication and surgery, dietetics has always been one of the three approaches of medical therapy.

The meaning of the term has changed. Today he describes the care and counseling of patients regarding nutrition as part of the treatment of a disease or for prophylaxis .

In contrast to nutritional science, the specialist discipline dietetics (in Austria dietology) is characterized by an application focus . Dietetics could therefore be described as "applied nutritional science". However, this is not entirely true, as dietetics is related to many scientific disciplines, such as B. medicine (nutritional medicine), education , psychology and sociology .

In contrast to most countries in the world, the specialist discipline of dietetics is not part of the university in Germany. The Association of Dieticians - German Federal Association (VDD) has been campaigning for the academization of dieticians for a long time , which requires the establishment of dietetics at (technical) universities. In any case, Germany is excluded from the European and international transfer of knowledge in the field of dietetics, as none of the professional groups in Germany active in diet therapy and nutritional advice meet the legal and formal requirements to be active on an international level.

Nutritional teaching

There is no generally binding nutrition theory. In addition to special diets that are developed for certain diseases, for example diabetes mellitus or metabolic disorders , there is a whole series of nutritional teachings, all of which claim to contribute to health, prevent diseases or even cure them. This also includes all forms of food that are propagated as permanent nutrition. The so-called wholesome diet in the sense of a nutrient-rich mixed diet - not to be confused with wholefood nutrition - which is preferred by the German Nutrition Society, for example , is only one variant.

Well-known nutritional teachings

A selection of relatively well-known nutritional teachings:

History of Dietetics

The topic of nutrition and the research into intolerance were already of great importance in ancient Indian medicine. Dietetics as a term for a comprehensive salutogenesis concept goes back to the Hippocratic tradition. Its authors demanded good nutrition as well as physical activity and a regular life. The texts also provided practical tips on sports, bathing, sleep and sexual activity. Also Diocles of Karystos dealt with dietary issues.

The Hippocratic approach in the Roman Empire of Galen revived and developed. He laid the basis for the sex res non naturales ("six non-natural things". What are meant are the six modes or basic conditions (of the six essential areas of life) designed by the Syrian Christian Johannitius , who is based among others on Galen , with non naturalis in the sense from "non-constitutional" can be translated as "conditional" or "dispositional"), the balance of which one has to pay attention to (according to the concept of humoral pathology ) in order to obtain a balanced mix of the body fluids:

  • Light and air ( aer )
  • Food and drink ( cibus et potus )
  • Movement / work and rest ( motus et quies or exercitium )
  • Sleep (s) and waking / being awake ( somnus et vigilia )
  • Secretions and excretions ( secreta et excreta ) or absorption and excretion / filling and emptying ( repletio et evacuatio or repletio et inanitio )
  • Stimulation of the mind / emotions ( affectus animi or accidentia animae )

Galen's post-fame led to the fact that the regulations on lifestyle (for example in the form of the sanitatis regime ) became widespread in the Middle Ages via dietary regulations in lunar and monthly calendars and via popular health manuals (e.g. in cookery books ). According to the Hippocratic model, a medieval monthly diet called Ipocras, with dietary regulations for the individual months, but also further instructions for health care, was named after the Greek doctor Hippocrates .

During the Renaissance , too , guides appeared frequently that dealt with a healthy lifestyle based on the six unnatural things :

  • Andrew Boorde: Compendyous Regyment or a Dyetary of Healthe ("Comprehensive Regimen or Healthy Lifestyle") (1547), u. a. with regulations on house building, housekeeping, diet and exercise.
  • André du Laurens: Discourse on the preservation of eyesight, on melancholic diseases, on rheumatism and on old age (1597), u. a. with the thesis that the aging process is caused by physical and mental factors, e.g. B. Idleness, accelerated.
  • Sir John Harington : The Englishman's Doctor (1608), a translation of the Regimen sanitatis Salernitatum, with good advice and the tip to stick to Doktor Ruhe, Doktor Fröhlich and Doktor Diet.
  • Luigi Cornaro : Discorsi della vita sobria (“On the moderate life and the art of reaching old age”, composed of the actual trattato, a compendio, an esortazione and a lettera to Daniel Barbaro) (1558–1565), with the council to conserve the limited supply of vitality in the body: through a moderate life with physical and mental exercise and diet in the narrower sense.

At the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, against the background of the Enlightenment and absolutist health policy , the doctrine of a healthy lifestyle experienced its next high. Above all, questions of nutrition were dealt with intensively. Famous publications were:

  • The art of extending human life (1797) by Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762–1836), which enjoyed a high degree of dissemination. Hufeland introduced the term macrobiotics and even later re-published his work under the title “Macrobiotics”. However, he understood it to be something different from what is now known as macrobiotics according to Georges Ohsawa (1893–1966).
  • An attempt at a life support science (1803) by Georg August Bertele (1767–1818), which speaks primarily of air and food as life support means.
  • Health catechism for use in schools and at home lessons (1794) by Bernhard Christoph Faust (1755–1842), which had a six-digit edition and was translated into numerous languages.


In Austria, the first academic course in dietology was introduced at the FH Joanneum in Bad Gleichenberg in 2006 . At the University of Applied Sciences Vienna you can study for a Bachelor of Dietetics.

In Germany, the state-approved dietitians are the only professional group that is qualified through state-approved training for the field of dietetics and nutrition. The dietitian is a federally regulated medical profession in Germany. The dietitians are represented professionally by the Association of Dieters - Deutscher Bundesverband eV (VDD).

At the European level, the European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD) represents the “Dietitians” (dietitians in Germany, dieticians in Austria and SRK nutritionists in Switzerland), the professional group of the member countries.

See also


  • Sven-David Müller : Practice of dietetics and nutritional advice. 2nd Edition. Stuttgart 2007.

Web links


  1. ^ Dietrich von Engelhardt : Dietetics. In: Werner E. Gerabek , Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , pp. 299–303, here: p. 299.
  2. Jutta Kollesch , Diethard Nickel : Ancient healing art. Selected texts from the medical writings of the Greeks and Romans. Philipp Reclam jun., Leipzig 1979 (= Reclams Universal Library. Volume 771); 6th edition ibid 1989, ISBN 3-379-00411-1 , p. 36 f. and 150-157.
  3. ^ Gundolf Keil: Vegetarian. In: Medical historical messages. Journal for the history of science and specialist prose research. Volume 34, 2015 (2016), pp. 29–68, here: pp. 32 f.
  4. ^ Heinrich Schipperges : The garden of health. Medicine in the Middle Ages. Artemis Verlag, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-7608-1911-7 , pp. 251-270.
  5. Wolfram Schmitt: Theory of health and 'Regimen sanitatis' in the Middle Ages. Habilitation thesis Heidelberg 1973, pp. 10-29.
  6. Wolfram Schmitt: 'Res non naturales'. In: Lexicon of the Middle Ages . Volume 7 (1995), Col. 751 f.
  7. Gundolf Keil: 'regimen sanitatis - râtes Leben'. Medieval health rules. In: Ria Jansen-Sieben, Frank Daelemans (ed.): Voeding en geneeskunde / Alimentation et médecine. Acten van het colloquium Brussel […] 1990. Brussels 1993 (= Archief- en bibliotheekwezen in België. Extra number 41), pp. 95–124.
  8. Ortrun Riha : Early Medieval Monthly Diets. Notes on a complex topic. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 5, 1987, pp. 371-379.
  9. Ortrun Riha: The dietary regulations of the medieval monthly rules. In: light of nature. Medicine in specialist literature and poetry. Festschrift for Gundolf Keil on his 60th birthday. Kümmerle, Göppingen 1994 (= Göppinger Arbeit zur Germanistik , 585), ISBN 3-87452-829-4 , pp. 339–364.
  10. ^ Rainer Reiche: Some Latin monthly diets from Viennese and St. Gallen manuscripts. In: Sudhoffs Archiv 57, 1973, pp. 113-141.
  11. ^ Gundolf Keil : The Grazer early Middle High German monthly rules and their source. In: Gundolf Keil, Rainer Rudolf, Wolfram Schmitt, Hans Josef Vermeer (eds.): Specialist literature of the Middle Ages. Festschrift Gerhard Eis. Metzler, Stuttgart 1968, pp. 131-146.
  12. Ortrun Riha: Early Medieval Monthly Diets. Notes on a complex topic. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 5, 1987, pp. 371-379, here: pp. 372 f.
  13. ^ Trude Ehlert : Knowledge transfer in German-language specialist literature from the Middle Ages - or: How did dietetics get into cookbooks? In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 8, 1990, pp. 137-159.
  14. Wolfgang Hirth: Ipocras. In: Author's Lexicon . 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Col. 415-417.
  15. Gundolf Keil: 'Ipocras' (also 'Ypocras' = Hippocrates). In: Werner E. Gerabek et al. (Ed.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. 2005, p. 680 f.
  16. See also: Werner Friedrich Kümmel: The Homo litteratus and the art of living healthy. On the development of a branch of dietetics in humanism. In: Humanism and Medicine. Edited by Rudolf Schmitz and Gundolf Keil, Weinheim an der Bergstrasse 1984 (= German Research Foundation: Communications from the Commission for Research on Humanism , 11), pp. 67–85.