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Opinion on DGE rules: No healthy person needs a single nutritional rule

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Opinion on DGE rules: No healthy person needs a single nutritional rule

Expert opinion on new DGE rules: “No healthy person needs a single nutritional rule”

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The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has updated its nutritional recommendations and now places more emphasis on plant-based foods. Nutritionist Uwe Knop has looked at the new rules – and has a clear opinion on them.

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What are the main reasons for the DGE to place a greater emphasis on plant-based foods in the diet?

The new recommendations are essentially: consume around three quarters of plant-based food and only a quarter of animal food. The main reasons are, on the one hand, “health”: For example, the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer is supposed to decrease because observational studies have shown this. But that is and remains pure speculation – because nutritional science fundamentally cannot provide any evidence (cause-effect relationships).

About the expert Uwe Knop

Uwe Knop, born in 1972, is a qualified nutritionist, author, and speaker for lectures at professional associations, companies and at medical training courses. His book “Successfully lose weight and stay slim” was published by Springer-Verlag.

You can read the detailed explanation of why this is the case here: “Does Lauterbach not know the difference between correlation and causation?”

On the other hand, this eating behavior is intended to reduce land consumption, environmental damage and greenhouse gases. Whether this happens needs to be evaluated – otherwise it remains pure speculation.

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What is the serious difference to the old 10 DGE rules on “healthy eating”?

In short: more plants, less animals. And: Both legumes – beans, peas, lentils – and nuts are no longer subsumed under “5x day fruit and vegetables” but are listed with independent consumption recommendations.

What evidence is there that the old “10 rules of the DGE” actually promoted the health of citizens?

No. There is not a single scientific proof of the “health-promoting” power of the old 10 rules. This has never been investigated – because it is not possible. A nice example of this is the “Truth about the “5 a Day” Rule”. Ergo, the new “eat and drink well” recommendations will forever remain nebulous in their effects – both in terms of desired and undesirable effects.

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If there is no proof of benefit, can harm be safely ruled out?

Nobody can say for sure whether these eating rules will have negative effects. That sounds strange at first – but it could be that “nutrition-sensitive gullible people” who firmly believe in the health benefits of the DGE recommendations consume far too much healthy food – in the true sense – on a daily basis that they simply cannot tolerate in large quantities.

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I had already made a “free-spirited correlation” to the 5-day campaign 10 years ago (see Article), which revealed astonishingly stringent developments in the connection between intestinal diseases and the launch of the campaign. Nobody knows whether there are causal influences here – but it looks “a bit worrying” and encourages critical reflection.

Should you stick to the DGE’s new “eat and drink well” rules?

Everyone has to decide for themselves – and best use individual tolerance, enjoyment and conscience as a basis: Do I feel comfortable and satisfied with it, both physically and mentally? Then wonderful. If not, then leave it alone and eat as naturally as possible, eat intuitively – because no common sense person needs a single nutritional rule including freely invented quantities of all possible foods.

That’s far too much confusion at an evidence-free small-small level. Instead: Trust in the signals of your absolutely individual body (hunger, desire, tolerance (!), satiety), because only it knows which diet is best for you personally. There are as many healthy diets as there are people because: Every person is different.

Book recommendation (advertisement)

“Successfully lose weight and stay slim” by Uwe Knop

Were the old 10 rules of the DGE well received by citizens?

No – or rather the ecotrophological universal credo applies: Nothing precise is known. Several years ago, surveys showed that around 5-10% of the population were “adherent”. There are no current figures. It can therefore be assumed that the new recommendations will primarily be “perceived favorably” but will not be adopted into one’s own life.

Frequently asked questions on this topic

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The focus on the “right” diet has pseudo-religious traits, is that so?

The focus on the “right” diet has definitely taken on pseudo-religious overtones in some circles. There is no holy scripture on nutrition, and no divine being has given us the ultimate rules for eating…

Uwe Knop

Evidence-focused nutritionist, journalist, speaker and author

Why is food so important for many people? Why do so many people claim that they have found the only valid truth?

Eating is important (for survival), it is the number one evolutionary drive, even before sex. But the claim that we have found the only valid truth here is ridiculous. Every body is different and there is no one…

Uwe Knop

Evidence-focused nutritionist, journalist, speaker and author

But what does it mean for the body if you eat strictly according to a certain pattern with fixed rules?

The body is not a machine with a hard-wired schematic. Following a strict diet is like trying to fix a computer with a cookbook. Individual flexibility with the best possible…

Uwe Knop

Evidence-focused nutritionist, journalist, speaker and author

How do you realize that such an eating regime might not be right for you?

You notice that your eating regime is not right for you when you are in a bad mood more and more often, you feel bad physically and mentally, your friends can’t stand you anymore and your reflection in the mirror gives you…

Uwe Knop

Evidence-focused nutritionist, journalist, speaker and author

This text comes from an expert from the FOCUS online EXPERTS Circle. Our experts have a high level of specialist knowledge in their subject area and are not part of the editorial team. Learn more.

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