Leibniz University Hannover University News & Events Press Releases
A Plant-Oriented Diet as Key to Sustainability?

A Plant-Oriented Diet as Key to Sustainability?

Press release from
Campaign poster Campaign poster Campaign poster
© LW / LUH

Interdisciplinary collaborative project of Leibniz University Hannover and University of Göttingen

How does our diet affect our health and our physical performance? Are there any differences between "carnivores" and those following various vegetarian diets? What role do intercultural, ethical, sensory, and ecological aspects play? A collaborative project of University of Göttingen, the Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Institute for the Study of Religion at Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) will address this broad spectrum of questions on sustainable diets.

The project, which started in 2018, aims to analyse and improve the sustainability of diets. This could be achieved by implementing various measures, such as optimised food supply or a communication concept specifically designed to meet the wishes and requirements of the respective target group.

In an in-depth analysis, the Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition at LUH investigates the effects of different diets by comparing three groups in terms of their nutritional condition and state of health: meat eaters consuming an average of more than 170 grams of meat a day, flexitarians with a significantly reduced meat consumption of less than 50 grams a day, and vegans eating no animal products at all.

"Our study includes flexitarians - a diet rarely analysed by researchers until now", said Professor Andreas Hahn from the Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Within the scope of the study, researchers collect data on various parameters, such as nutrient supply, weight, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, or the condition of the immune system. The researchers are particularly interested in the immune status of the subjects. "There is very little data available regarding the effects of different diets", said Professor Hahn. It has already been proven that excess weight promotes inflammatory processes in the body, which are linked to classic diseases associated with poor diet, such as cardiac and vascular diseases or diabetes. The study aims to determine whether restrictive diets such as veganism are more beneficial for the immune system than those with reduced or increased meat consumption.

Dr. Katja Triplett and her team from the Institute for the Study of Religion focus on "Intercultural Perspectives" and conduct interviews to analyse the motivations behind various diets. How are the level of common knowledge and ethic approaches linked? Which mechanisms apply if marginal diets in a society become mainstream?

"We keep in mind well-known religious dietary practices such as kosher and halal, however, we intend to look into the diversification of diets in our society on a more general level", said Katja Triplett, whose research for the project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. In order to determine the international perspective as well as debates in other countries, researchers will analyse press reports in international newspapers.

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Andreas Hahn, Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition (Tel. +49 511 762 5596, Email hahn@nutrition.uni-hannover.de) or Dr. Katja Triplett, Institute for the Study of Religion (Tel. from 2 December +49 511 762 3809, Email katja.triplett@ithrw.uni-hannover.de).