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Development of a Diet Quality Score and Adherence to the Swiss Dietary Recommendations for Vegans †

School of Health Professions, Bern University of Applied Sciences, 3008 Bern, Switzerland
Laboratory of Human Nutrition, Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Presented at the 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023, Belgrade, Serbia, 14–17 November 2023.
Proceedings 2023, 91(1), 101;
Published: 1 December 2023
(This article belongs to the Proceedings of The 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023)


Background: Vegan diets have recently gained popularity in Switzerland and abroad. A method to evaluate the diet quality of the vegan population for research and clinical practice is currently not available. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to develop a diet quality score for vegans (DQS-V) based on the Swiss dietary recommendations for vegans. Methods: The dataset included 52 healthy vegan adults. Dietary intake data were assessed using three-day weighed food records. Body weight and height were measured, and a venous blood sample for the analysis of vitamin and mineral status was collected. Spearman rank correlation coefficients were used due to the presence of not-normally distributed data. Dietary patterns were identified using principal component analysis (PCA). Results: The DQS-V score (mean ± SD) was 48.9 ± 14.7. Most vegans adhered to the recommended portions of vegetables, vitamin C-rich vegetables, fruits, omega 3-rich nuts, fats and oils, and iodised salt. However, the intake of green leafy vegetables, vitamin C-rich fruits, wholegrains, legumes, nuts and seeds, selenium-rich nuts, zero caloric liquid, and calcium-fortified foods was suboptimal. The intake of sweet-, salty-, fried foods and alcohol was higher than reccomended. The DQS-V had a significantly positive correlation with intakes of fibre, polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus (p’s < 0.05) but was negatively correlated with vitamin B12 and niacin intakes (p’s < 0.05). Two dietary patterns were derived from PCA: (1) refined grains and sweets and (2) wholegrains and nuts. The correlation between the DQS-V and the first dietary pattern was negative (−0.41, p = 0.004), but positive for the second dietary pattern (0.37, p = 0.01). The dietary pattern of refined grains and sweets was inversely correlated with the beta-carotene status (−0.41, p = 0.004) and the vitamin C status (r = −0.51, p = 0.0002). Conclusion: The newly developed DQS-V, based on the Swiss dietary recommendations for vegans, provides a single score for estimating the diet quality among vegan adults. Further validation studies examining the correlation of DQS-V with an independent dietary assessment method and with the biomarkers of nutritional intake and status are still needed before the general use of the DQS-V score.

Author Contributions

Study concept and design: L.H.B., N.B., K.V.D.H. and I.H.-A.; study execution: N.B., L.H.B. and G.T.; data analysis: N.B., L.H.B. and J.H.; first manuscript draft: N.B., J.H. and L.H.B.; funding aqusition: L.H.B. and I.H.-A.; All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This study was supported by the Foundation for the encouragement of Nutrition Research in Switzerland (FSEFS) and the Ekhagastiftelsen (Ekhaga foundation) under the project number 2021-78.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was performed in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration principles and was approved by the official Local Ethics Committees of ETH Zurich and the Canton of Vaud. The Ethics Commission of the Canton of Bern approved the further use of the data without consent. All subjects provided their informed consent to participate. All participant information was kept anonymous to maintain privacy.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Data are available from the authors upon reasonable request.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bogl, L.H.; Bez, N.; Haddad, J.; Tedde, G.; Van Der Horst, K.; Herter-Aeberli, I. Development of a Diet Quality Score and Adherence to the Swiss Dietary Recommendations for Vegans. Proceedings 2023, 91, 101.

AMA Style

Bogl LH, Bez N, Haddad J, Tedde G, Van Der Horst K, Herter-Aeberli I. Development of a Diet Quality Score and Adherence to the Swiss Dietary Recommendations for Vegans. Proceedings. 2023; 91(1):101.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bogl, Leonie H., Natalie Bez, Joyce Haddad, Giulia Tedde, Klazine Van Der Horst, and Isabelle Herter-Aeberli. 2023. "Development of a Diet Quality Score and Adherence to the Swiss Dietary Recommendations for Vegans" Proceedings 91, no. 1: 101.

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