The New Nordic Diet Scientifically Proven Best Diet for Healthy Weight Loss
According to recent dieting information from Prevention magazine, scientists are focusing more on hard facts like blood biomarkers and less on surveys when it comes to evaluating the best diet for healthy weight loss. As such, the latest winner is the New Nordic Diet that they say is more powerful toward triggering weight loss and fighting heart disease that the popular Mediterranean Diet.
The New Nordic Diet has its roots deeply embedded in the lives and health of people from the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway where the emphasis of diet was on eating seasonal, organic, locally-grown and wild produce along with a variety of salt and freshwater fishes. However, modern times have led to less of the traditional foods and more of a modern diet that has resulted in booming obesity and other health issues.
According to Prevention writer Markham Heid, the New Nordic Diet isn’t really all that new and actually dates back to 2004 when a consortium of nutritionists, chefs, and scientists created the diet in response to their regions’ growing obesity rates and the prevalence of non-sustainable farming practices.
The diet they created is based on the following three fundamentals of eating:
New Nordic Diet Fundamental #1: More calories from plants and less from meat
Meat is one of the least environmentally friendly foods we eat. Plants on the other hand are much more sustainable and provide additional nutrients along with protein. Furthermore, getting your protein more from plants than from meat means less artery-clogging saturated fats, as well as the added benefits of fiber to aid healthy digestion and elimination. Also, since plants are lower calorie, more can be eaten making a dieter feel fuller.
However, this should not be confused with an all-vegan diet. Rather, the New Nordic Diet encourages supplementing your protein intake with small amounts of lean wild meat like venison and elk. Supporters of the New Nordic Diet promote eating meat from wild game because it typically contains less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fat than meat from commercially raised animals.
And while venison or elk are not easily available in many non-Nordic countries, seeking out lean meat from free-range and grass-fed animals is an acceptable substitution.
New Nordic Diet Fundamental #2: More varieties of fresh and saltwater fish
When meat is your thing and cutting back on the beef is difficult, fresh and saltwater fish―including shellfish― are a great alternative due to they not only do they provide healthy omega fatty acids, but also a plethora of vitamins and minerals that you won’t find in your burger.
While most diets primarily recommend oily fish only, the New Nordic Diet encourages eating both oily and non-oily fish species—particularly those that are caught following responsible fishing practices that prevent over-fishing and are thereby more sustainable.
New Nordic Diet Fundamental #3: Go wild in the countryside
Take a trip into the woods with someone who has experience in showing you how to forage safely and you will find yourself consuming natural seeds, nuts and berries that will be richer in healthy fats and antioxidants (and more seasonally ripe) than what you can get in the grocery store. Research has shown that wild plants almost always have a higher vitamin C and E, and antioxidant content than store-bought produce.
So what are the research reports saying about the New Nordic Diet?
According to Prevention magazine, a study published this past summer in The Journal of Nutrition found that study participants who stuck with the New Nordic Diet had significantly lower cholesterol and blood pressure numbers and better insulin sensitivity than those who ate a Western or a modern Nordic diet.
Furthermore, another study also published this year found that dieters on the New Nordic Diet lost an average of 10 pounds―without even counting calories―and reported that following the New Nordic Diet is easier than following a Mediterranean-style diet.
How to Go Nordic
While it would be nice to migrate to the Nordic climes and embrace a new way of living and eating, you don’t have to go that far to eat the new Nordic way of health. The following is a list of recommendations from Prevention on how to go Nordic even if you live in the Tropics:
• Buy local, seasonal, and organic produce.
• Avoid food additives and pre-packaged meals.
• Focus on whole foods: whole grains, including oatmeal, barley, rye, and whole wheat, along with whole nuts, seeds, beans, and foraged foods.
• Eat lots of responsibly caught fish.
• Consume only small portions of meat, sticking to lean, free-range and grass-fed options whenever possible.
In addition, the University of Copenhagen recommends focusing on these following staples:
• Root vegetables (carrots, turnips, beets)
• Cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage)
• Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach)
• Foraged foods (chanterelles, wild mushrooms, fiddleheads)
• Legumes such as beans, seeds, and lentils
• Rapeseed (canola oil)
• Whole grains, especially rye, oats, and barley
• Apples and pears
• Fatty fish like salmon and herring
• Wild, lean game meat like elk
Image Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Reference: “The Best New Diet For Weight Loss Is…” Prevention magazine, October 2014, by Markham Heid