Nordic Diet Benefits. Quality Ingredients, Fish, Berries, & Oils FTW:
There are several ways to improve your health through diet.
This is a popular route because 1) People hate math, so they won’t count calories even though it works,
2) They like to eat according to themes, because the idea is easier and the possibility that a notion or picture can overcome strict details is appealing.
An endless stream of diets became popular because of this like Keto, MIND, DASH, Mediterranean, South Beach, Carnivore, Bananavore, you name it.
Well there is another diet that westerners are trying in increasing numbers, and if the non-fad-based studies are correct, it may present another alternative to the endless parade of wacky plans for the math-averse…
The Short Answer:
- History has been the graveyard of many things; especially fad diets.
- The Mediterranean Diet has some real scientific study behind it.
- A more recently-popular one, The Nordic Diet does too.
- Copenhagen University ran a study on 200 overweight adults, aged 50 on average to test the benefits.
- After 6 months on the plan, all of them had lower cholesterol, fat in the blood, and better blood-sugar.
- This type of diet & results can prevent cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and many other problems.
- The researchers speculate it’s the quality of the oils in the diet that make the difference.
- However, the added oils are largely from Canola, which is higher in omega-6 than olive oil.
- There is a possibility the good results come from the omega-3 oils in the fish, the berries, and the quality of the food.
- The diet also excludes a ton of unhealthy food, like UPFs and added sugar.
- Regardless of the mechanics if the plan can help overweight people improve in so many ways, it looks like it works.
Read on to find out the details…
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One of the nicer things about recent diets is they seem to be increasingly based on studies of one type or another.
It’s at least a little less like the 80s or 90s, where any huckster not already in the supermarket checkout aisle could tell you to jump into an aerobics outfit and eat nothing but margarine.
One of the more recently studied plans is the Mediterranean, which seems to be very tasty, successful and healthy.
But with the increasing popularity of all things IKEA, another diet is sweeping out of the north like a butt-kicking Led Zeppelin song.
Strangely enough, The Nordic Diet has become popular in about the last decade not just for its insistence on Lingonberries,
But the weight-loss effects it seems to generally have.
And that may be no accident, because it’s quite a bit like The Mediterranean Diet.
However, researchers have noticed something quite odd recently; people on the Nordic Diet didn’t just lose weight, they got healthier.
Their recent study out of The University of Copenhagen on 200 subjects shows it.
The team looked at people who were over 50, with high BMI that probably qualified them as overweight, and also at risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
They were then put on the Nordic diet plan for 6 months and compared versus a control group not on it.
Those subjects had their metrics checked at the end of the program, and they turned out to be much healthier.
1) Lower cholesterol
2) Lower fat levels in the blood
3) Better blood-sugar control
This was all done additionally while trying to keep the subjects at the same weight!
So for those who lost weight, the team asked them to eat even more.
Just imagine what would have happened if they were allowed to keep the weight off!
That’s a pretty amazing proof, especially for people who were overweight.
So it’s no surprise after these results that the general claims for this diet are that it can:
1) Prevent obesity
2) Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
3) Reduce the risk of high blood-pressure
4) Reduce the risk of high cholesterol
5) Reduce the risk of diabetes
Now there’s no word on what the control group was eating.
And the study authors do express that despite the weight-stable aims of this work, weight-loss is an important part of the benefits.
But just as in the really interesting biochemistry stuff done on Olive Oil,
The researchers speculate that the big reason things get better across-the-board is due in large part to the fats and oils in the Nordic Diet.
These come from:
1) Fatty omega-3-rich fish
3) Sunflower (oil? I guess)
4) Canola oil
What’s interesting about this is, you could guess the contribution from the fish.
And even though they’re hard to chew and digest unless they’re milled for bread, flaxseeds might be the next most obvious culprit.
But it’s hard to imagine seed-oils like sunflower & canola being that much help.
They’re extracted with heat & solvents, and not put into light-proof bottles.
One study even claims there’s a connection between canola and Alzheimer’s.
Not only that, but the Saturated Fat, Omega 3,6,9 percentage-profiles of the oils are as-follows:
1) Olive oil: 15%, 1%, 9%, 75%
2) Canola oil: 7%, 11%, 21%, 61%
3) Sunflower oil: 12%, 1%, 71%, 16%
4) Soybean oil: 15%, 8%, 54%, 23%
5) Flaxseed oil: 9%, 57%, 18%, 16%
You can see that although olive oil has tons of omega-9, it doesn’t have that much omega-6.
But canola has 2x the omega-6 and sunflower has more than 7x.
The results are strange, since it there’s a ton of evidence olive oil is super healthy and the Nordic-emphasized canola has 2x the omega-6.
Perhaps it’s something else?
When we look at a general “Eat this, not that.” survey for the Nordic Diet, here’s what we get:
1) Whole grains, most specifically rye, barley, oats, and whole grain bread
2) Fruits, with a real emphasis on berries (~2 cups/day)
3) Vegetables, with an emphasis on root vegetables like beets, turnips, and carrots
4) Real emphasis on fatty saltwater fish we know like salmon, but also herring and mackerel
5) Low-fat dairy versions of, milk, yogurt, skyr, cheese
7) Poultry and game meats that are lean
8) Eggs in moderation
9) Alcohol in moderation
Do Not Eat:
1) Sugar or added-sugars, sweetened beverages
2) Red meat
3) Processed foods and meats
6) More than 1 serving of fruit or berry juice/day
7) Pasta and almost all bread
So perhaps with that in mind, maybe it’s not so much the loss of magic-elixir olive oil for the higher omega-6 canola that’s improving things.
Maybe it’s the amount of fatty fish and overall quality that does it, and if you believe the study on grapes lowering bad cholesterol, some of the hidden beneficial effects of all those berries.
Also, we all know it’s not just what you include but what you exclude.
Fats from land-animals tend to be nothing but saturated cardio-bombs, so avoiding red & non-lean meats is probably a great idea.
Outlawing added-sugars, and processed foods is probably a great idea also.
So perhaps we can view The [new, created in 2004 btw] Nordic Diet as just a Mediterranean with a few changes and different oil.
There may be some disadvantages but the results on even overweight, likely pre-diabetic subjects are clear indications it’s a winner regardless of specifics.
• Source: Copenhagen U.
• Source Study: J.Clin.Nut. – Analysis of the SYSDIET Healthy Nordic Diet randomized trial based on metabolic profiling reveal beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and blood lipids