Living'Nordic diet' could improve health, new study concludes

'Nordic diet' could improve health, new study concludes

The ingredients of the Nordic diet are readily available in the market. They are based on locally produced food in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Greenland, Finland, Denmark or the Fore Islands. They are sustainably produced in these countries , and include fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains and rapeseed oil.

Previous studies had shown that the Nordic diet helps prevent obesity and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Now, a new study by scientists from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland indicates that the positive benefits of this diet are independent of weight loss. The bonus goes further. It could improve general health.

“It’s surprising because most people believe that the positive effects on blood sugar and cholesterol are due to weight loss alone. Here, we have found that this is not the case. Other mechanisms are also at play”, explained Lars Ove Dragsted, researcher and section head of the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and co-author of the work published in the journal Clinical Nutrition.

Similar to the Mediterranean diet

The Nordic diet has many similarities to the Mediterranean diet , which is best known for its association with good health. But, as the authors point out, it is not always practical for people from other regions of the world to consume it, due to the limitations of the available products or even cultural factors. Among the similarities of the Nordic diet with the Mediterranean diet are plant-based foods, with moderate amounts of fish and eggs, and a small amount of dairy products and limitation of sweets, meats or processed foods.

In the new study, researchers analyzed regular blood and urine samples from 200 overweight volunteers over the age of 50 from six centers in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland over a four-week period in which they all ate their usual diet. Later, for another 19 to 24 weeks, half of the participants continued on the Nordic diet and the rest on a control diet. Both balanced to maintain a stable weight in the development of the experiment.

What was the results?

“The group that had followed the Nordic diet for six months became significantly healthier , with lower cholesterol levels, lower overall levels of saturated and unsaturated blood fats, and better glucose regulation, compared to the group. of control. We kept the weight of the Nordic diet group stable, meaning we asked them to eat more if they lost weight. Even without weight loss, we could see an improvement in his health,” Dragsted said.

With obesity levels rising around the world, the researchers note that weight loss remains important, but it is not the only factor contributing to the benefits of the Nordic diet.

“We can only speculate why a change in fat composition is so beneficial to our health. However, we can confirm that the absence of highly processed foods and less saturated fat of animal origin have a very positive effect on us ”, concluded the researcher.

Reference: Gözde Gürdeniz et al. Analysis of the SYSDIET Healthy Nordic Diet randomized trial based on metabolic profiling reveal beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and blood lipids Published December 2021. Clinical Nutrition. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.12.031

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