The typical Nordic diet, which includes rapeseed oil, root veggies, fish, and berries, has been proved to provide many health benefits on blood lipids, inflammation, blood pressure, and weight loss. Many studies also suggest that this type of diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition measured the metabolic effects of the Nordic diet on inflammatory markers, blood lipid profiles, and glucose metabolism.
A group of scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark analyzed data from a randomized control study in 2013. It includes 200 people with metabolic syndrome and overweight. Their average age was 55 years.
All participants followed their normal diets for the first 4 weeks. After this period, they were randomly assigned to either a control diet or a Nordic diet.
The scientists asked the participants in the Nordic diet group to consume more whole grain food like barley and rye.
Participants in the control group were asked to consume less fiber wheat, such as pasta and refined white bread.
The amounts of calories were almost the same in both diets, which helped keep the weight of these individuals stable during the study.
Urine and blood samples were drawn at weeks 12, 18, and 24 for metabolic analysis later. For this project, the authors analyzed data from 71 people in the control group and 98 people in the Nordic diet group.
The results show that participants in the Nordic diet group had more fat-soluble metabolites in the blood, which are associated with lower cardiometabolic risk, better cholesterol levels, and improved glucose control.
This leads to the assumption that following a Nordic diet may result in higher levels of blood metabolites. It indicates that a high-quality diet would provide certain health benefits even when there is no weight loss.
However, the authors are not sure whether the results would be clinically significant.
To explain these results, the scientists say that all food in the Nordic diet is rich in healthy fats, including omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats, and fiber. Also, the absence of less saturated fats and highly processed products would have a positive effect on inflammation, blood pressure, glucose, and lipids.
There are, however, severe limitations in this study. For instance, the analysis would have ignored certain metabolites and the sample size was quite small.
Also, the findings would be attributed to having a healthier diet instead of due to a specific Nordic diet.