Move over Mediterranean diet, the traditional Nordic diet could be key to losing weight

Local, seasonal, and foraged foods were all important in the study of the diet

Instead of following faddy diets, those looking to lose weight and keep their blood pressure in check should begin eating typical Nordic fare, according to a new study’s findings.

Overweight participants in the study, who ate traditional Danish foods such as berries, nuts, grains and fish, lost three times as much weight as their counterparts who stuck to an ordinary Westernised Danish diet.

Read more: Norwegian salmon recipes

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen sought advice for the menus and recipes from the world’s best restaurant, Noma, handily located on their doorstep, precisely because of its distinct Nordic identity.

The diet was developed after many Danes complained of how difficult it was to integrate ‘healthy’ Mediterranean foods into their regular eating habits. Indeed, a key theme of the special diet was to ensure that only local and in-season foods were chosen.

Recipes included baked cod with celery, sweet water pike grilled with summer cabbage and turbot in bread crumbs. This mouth-watering food came at a price though, the Nordic diet cost around £4.75 a day, about a quarter more costly than normal.

Dr Thomas Meinert Larsen, who led the study, said:

"Our view is that eating foods in accordance with the seasons makes us less dependent on transportation. There’s particular emphasis on foraged foods because they taste better, and usually contain greater amounts of vitamins and minerals than conventionally grown plants."

As part of the study 181 obese men and women were chosen and were then asked to follow one of two diets for a period of six months. While 68 people were assigned to an ordinary diet of mainly imported foods, the other 113 ate the from the new Nordic menus. Participants were allowed to eat until they were full and calories were not counted, although portion sizes were monitored.

Results of the study, presented by Dr Larsen at the European Society of Cardiology, which met in Barcelona, found that that the mean weight change was a loss of 4.7kg for the Nordic diet group and a loss of 1.5kg for the Danish group. Further, the Nordic diet produced greater reductions of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, both down 5.1 mmHg and 3.2 mmHg respectively, than the ordinary diet.

Until recently Danes had one of the world’s worst records for heart disease, this changed when the country banned the addition of trans fat acids to processed food in 2003 and heart-related deaths began to fall dramatically. Ordinarily, Danish diets usually consist of pasta, bread, pizza, potatoes, rice and dairy products.

Dr Larsen noted at the symposium that the concept of a healthy, regional, sustainable, seasonal and tasty diet could in principle be applied anywhere in the world, not just Nordic countries. He suggested that in time that it could challenge the Mediterranean diet for the the title of world’s healthiest.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas