A traditional Nordic diet featuring whole grains, berries, canola oil, fish, and low-fat dairy may improve heart-related risk factors, even if people following the diet don't lose weight, a new study finds.
The study included 200 people from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland who were overweight; their average age was 55. Researchers randomly assigned them to follow either a Nordic diet or a control diet for 18 to 24 weeks. Control diet participants were told to eat refined grains (white bread, white pasta, and white rice) and not to track their fruit and vegetable intake. All were told to keep their weight stable.
Blood and urine tests revealed that those following the Nordic diet had lower cholesterol levels and better blood sugar control compared with those in the control group. Like the heart-healthy (and better-known) Mediterranean diet, the Nordic diet may foster weight loss, although that advantage does not appear to explain the health benefits observed in this study, which was published in the February 2022 issue of Clinical Nutrition.
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