By Sheryl Wood
If a diet has a variety of interesting and delicious foods, it might be easier to make it a healthy habit. The New Nordic Diet may offer a tasty alternative to the Mediterranean and DASH diets.
Different cultures have foods that identify their regional cooking, and what is tasty for people in one region might not be as appealing to others. Even though it’s a healthy diet, not all people enjoy the foods featured in the Mediterranean diet, and that has led researchers to look for diets that other people will enjoy enough to stick with.
The New Nordic Diet features organic foods native to countries such as Denmark.
Recently published research showed that this diet reduced weight and lowered blood pressure in overweight people.
Sanne K. Poulsen from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and a team of researchers conducted this study of the New Nordic Diet.
These researchers studied a total of 181 Danish men and women ages 18 to 65. The women in the study had waistlines that measured at least 31.5 inches and the men’s measured at least 37 inches. The body mass index (BMI) of the study subjects was over 30, a value in the obese range.
The participants were divided into two groups. One group ate the Nordic diet, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains. The other group ate a normal Danish diet. The study lasted for 26 weeks.
Each group got to shop weekly for foods in their diet plan free of charge. They also were given a cookbook to help them prepare dishes from the foods.
The people in the study met with dieticians regularly. Physical measurements such as weight, waist size and blood pressure were taken several times over the course of the study. Blood and urine analyses were also done.
At the end of 26 weeks, participants in both groups had lost weight, but the weight loss in the group eating the Nordic diet was significantly greater. The average weight loss in the Nordic diet group was 10.5 pounds, compared to 3.3 pounds in the regular diet group.
Blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting blood sugar were all decreased in the Nordic diet group compared to the regular diet group.
The authors suggested that the lowered blood pressure observed in their study was probably due to the weight loss experienced by the participants.
“The weight loss was observed despite the fact that the diet was developed as highly palatable and offered ad libitum [eat as much as you want], and the study was not specifically designed as a weight-loss study," the researchers concluded.
Over the course of the 26-week trial, 32 people dropped out. Of the drop-outs, nine cited lack of time to participate, six had personal reasons and three didn’t like the Nordic diet.
This study was published in the January issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers disclosed no conflicts of interest.
A grant from the Nordea Foundation Denmark funded the research.