New Nordic Diet: The Weight Loss Approach

New Nordic Diet: The Weight Loss Approach

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 29 Dec 2014 - 17:15.

Move over the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet, there is another healthy diet making its mark in the culinary and gastronomy world: the New Nordic Diet.

What is New Nordic Diet?

The New Nordic Diet is a new food culture with key emphasis on gastronomy, health, and environment. It was developed in 2004, when food professionals and chefs from the five Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway)met in Copenhagen to define a new regional cuisine, which, in contrast to traditional eating habits, would be healthier.  

New Nordic Diet is the only well-researched weight-loss approach that emphasizes eating organic, seasonal, and locally grown food and research also shows it to be ideal for human health and the environment. The New Nordic Diet is built around 15 food groups: fruit and vegetables (especially berries, cabbage, root vegetables, and legumes), potatoes, fresh herbs, plants and mushrooms ideally gathered from the wild, nuts, whole grains, wild meat, fish, shellfish, and seaweed. According to the NORDIET study, the Nordic diet (ND), mainly based on traditional Nordic foods, improved blood lipid profiles and insulin sensitivity and lowered blood pressure and body weight in hypercholesterolemic subjects.It isa diet known to taste good, sustainable and includes local ingredients.

Guidelines for the New Nordic Diet:

1. More fruit and vegetables every day

2. More whole-grain produce

3. More food from the sea and lakes

4. High quality meat, but less of it

5. More food from wild landscapes

6. Organic produce whenever possible

7. No food additives

8. More meals based on seasonal produce

9. More home-cooked food

10. Less waste

The New Nordic Diet is described by the following guidelines:

  • More calories from plant foods and fewer from meat

A diet in in high protein can reduce the risk of several diseases, particularly in the sedentary and slightly overweight individuals. Meat is among the least environmentally friendly foods, so more environmentally friendly protein sources, with greater health benefits, are to be preferred. A replacement of some of the meat we eat today with plant foods would lead to a reduction in the intake of saturated fat and increased intake of unsaturated fats, dietary fibres, vitamins and minerals.

Being low in calories,plant foods make it possible to eat larger portions while lowering the energy density of the diet and giving a feeling of satiety. Therefore high intake of plant foods can reduce the risk of weight gain, obesity and the development of several lifestyle diseases.

  • More foods from the sea and lakes

The Nordic countries are surrounded by water, and abundant in high-quality fish, shellfish and seaweed which have a significant health-promoting potential. Studies have shown that n-3 fatty acids, present in significant amounts in fatty fish, may improve child brain development and help prevent heart disease and nervous disorders in adults. In addition, they have high contents of valuable vitamins and minerals,including vitamin D, iodine and Se, which are difficult to find naturally in other foods.

Fish also contain high amounts of protein and an increased intake may help to prevent weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and sarcopenia(loss of muscle mass) in the elderly. Seaweed contains a range of bioactive compounds which may play a role in the prevention of CVD and possess certain antiviral and anticancer effects.

  • More foods from the wild countryside.

In the Nordic countries the population has reasonable access to large quantities of foods from the wild countryside, e.g. plants, mushrooms, berries, fruits and meat. Wild plants contain higher amounts of vitamins C and E, phenols, minerals, antioxidants. Meat from wild animals and fowl generally contains less fat and has less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat, than meat from commercially reared animals. Further, they have significantly higher content of omega-3 fatty acids.

The Manifesto:

The New Nordic Diet must:

  • Express the purity, freshness and simplicity.
  • Reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals.
  • Be based on ingredients that are particularly excellent in Scandinavian climate, landscapes and waters.
  • Combine palatability with modern knowledge about health and wellbeing.
  • Promote animal well-being and sustainable production in the seas and in cultivated and wild landscapes.
  • Develop new uses of traditional Nordic foods.
  • Combine the best Nordic methods of food preparation and culinary traditions with impulses from other regions.

Studies on Nordic Diet:

  • According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the New Nordic Diet can help you shed a significant amount of weight.
  • Volunteers on a Nordic diet were found by researchers at Sweden's Lund University to have lower levels of harmful cholesterol, resulting in healthier hearts and reduced odds of developing diabetes.
  • Eating a traditional, balanced Nordic diet was associated with lower death rates in a Danish cohort study, Denmark.This study shows it is possible to achieve a healthful diet that promotes longevity and such dietary pattern has been linked with lower risks of disease such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer and with lower mortality.

Foods to include

  • Fruits, berries, vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Organic Meat and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Cereals and seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Fresh Herbs, spices

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods
  • Refined grains 
  • Added sugars
  • Fatty red meats


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.