Most people would spontaneously associate the term diet with nutrition (and abstinence). At least once a year, however, the diets of members of the Bundestag are also discussed – but then it is not about diet plans, but rather the salaries of parliamentarians. These are adjusted annually based on general wage developments, i.e. increased. This is also the case this year: the 734 members of the Bundestag will receive six percent higher diets as of July 1st. It is the highest increase in 30 years.

As a rule, these diets have little to do with abstinence and nothing at all to do with nutrition. With regard to MPs’ earnings, the term diet is derived from the Latin word “this” for “the day”. According to the Federal Agency for Civic Education, this originally meant the daily allowance that participants in legislative assemblies received to compensate for loss of earnings.

Nowadays, members’ diets in the Bundestag and most state parliaments are, so to speak, compensation for carrying out their mandate as well as compensation for their full-time work as a member of parliament. The level of remuneration is regularly discussed. Article 48, paragraph 3 of the Basic Law states that the amount of remuneration should be “appropriate” and ensure the independence of the MPs. The same paragraph also stipulates that parliamentarians have the right to freely use all state transport.

The diet for weight loss has a completely different conceptual background. It is derived from the ancient Greek term “díaita” for “way of life”. However, according to the “Ärzteblatt”, the Greek definition was not originally limited to a diet tailored to avoid calories. It holistically encompassed the basis of a sensible lifestyle, “which includes adequate nutrition, sensible physical activity and the avoidance of harmful behaviors.”

Sources: Federal Agency for Civic Education, “Ärzteblatt”, Basic Law

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