The Nordic Diet
The diet has been tested on people with metabolic syndrome (AKA Syndrome X) and reflects traditional Scandinavian eating principles of eating seasonal, organic local ingredients like berries, wholegrain foods, vegetables and oily fish.
Unlike the Paleo diet, Atkins diet and others, the Nordic diet doesn’t exclude food groups and therefore is very closely aligned with the popular Mediterranean diet and the Australian healthy eating guidelines.
The Nordic Diet and Weight Loss
According to researchers, the Nordic diet has many health benefits and helps you lose weight.
Among the health benefits are a reduction in cholesterol and reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.
As will all diets that have healthy benefits like these, the Nordic diet has been shown to also be very effective at weight loss. Unlike a lot of calorie controlled diets, the Nordic diet makes suggestions about what to eat but doesn’t prescribe portion sizes or a specific number of calories to consume each day. Rather it relies on the satisfying nature of the foods it promotes.
The main principles of the Nordic Diet
The main principles of the Nordic diet are:
- Eat less red meat and more fish
- Swap high fat meat for lean good quality red meat (e.g. venison & kangaroo) and eat less
- Increased consumption of oily fish (such as cod, salmon and mackerel)
- Eat more berries (e.g. raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries)
- Eat more whole grains (rye, oats and barley)
- Eat more root vegetables (such as potato, cabbage, kale, beetroot and spinach)
- Use oils low in saturated fat (like canola)
- Using herbs to flavour food (e.g. dill)
- Eat organic produce where possible
- Eat meals incorporating seasonal produce
- Eat more home-cooked meals
- Using slower cooking methods (like baking, boiling and stewing)
In addition to being a healthier diet, the Nordic diet is said to be more sustainable, by promoting things like seasonal vegetables, plant based food over animal based food, promoting the use of fish from sustainable sources, and minimising the consumption of manufactured food and waste.
Nordic Diet Recipes
Recipes incorporating ingredients promoted in the Nordic Diet, like Salmon, berries, whole grains and root vegetables, include:
What the Experts Say
The Dietitians Association of Australia is the premier authority on all matters diet related, and according to their website “The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) applauds the principles of the Nordic Diet, which are largely consistent with the recommendations of the Australian Dietary Guidelines, but it’s important to remember that no one diet is the ‘healthiest’ or the ‘best’. There are many ways to eat healthily and different patterns of eating will suit different people.”
“DAA suggests that Australian’s wanting to follow the diet apply the Nordic Diet concepts of eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, fish, whole grains, healthy oils and dairy from the local food supply, instead of attempting to source foods specific to the Nordic region (which could be expensive, and would contradict the diet’s philosophy of choosing local, seasonal foods).”
The Nordic diet has some principles that are both healthy and help with weight loss.
In countries like Australia, we shouldn’t take the diet too literally, but adapt it to what foods are available locally and in season here.
Promoters of the diet suggest that it’s very easy to adopt, which is one of the reasons why it works so well. We’re not so sure. If you like oily fish like mackerel and sardines, and gamey meats like Kangaroo, wild berries, use a wide repertoire of herbs to flavour your food and by organic vegetables, chances are you’re already eating them and your diet is already relatively healthy as a result.
Having said that, it doesn’t matter what we, or anyone else says, if it’s the Nordic diet is something you’d like to try, and having tried it you think it’s right for you, great.
This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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