Sign up to the health and fitness newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
Links
Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
This Month In Diet
  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet
    When suffering from an infection, virus, or injury, your immune system triggers an inflammatory response to protect and heal the body. Unfortunately, sometimes the immune system sets off an inflammatory response when there’s no foreign invader to protect against. While medications are available to help fight inflammation, you may also find lasting relief by eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong. Read >>
  • Get More Magnesium
    Many people are deficient in magnesium and their poor health shows it. Read on to learn the many ways magnesium is good for you and how to get more of it in your daily diet. Read >>
  • Breakfast with Diabetes
    Have diabetes? As you’re planning your meals, make it your goal to include a source of protein and fiber with each morning meal. Here are a few healthy breakfast options that will keep your taste buds and blood sugar levels pleased at the same time. Read >>
  • Diet Review: The Nordic Diet
    This unique diet encourages consumption of whole foods that are seasonal and locally harvested, a lifestyle that includes relaxed meals with friends, and a concern for the environment. But does it work? Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Diet Review: The Nordic Diet

Can eating like a Scandinavian help you lose weight and improve health?

Initially developed in 2004 by nutrition scientists and chefs in Denmark in an effort to improve public health, the Nordic diet attempts to incorporate the modern-day traditions and culture of the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Norway. This unique diet encourages consumption of whole foods that are seasonal and locally harvested, a lifestyle that includes relaxed meals with friends, and a concern for the environment.

What can and can’t you eat on the Nordic Diet, is it a diet you should try, and what are the pros and cons of going Nordic? You’re about to find out.

What to Eat

The goal of the Nordic Diet is to get back to nature. With the diet, you can eat like a true Scandinavian and enjoy elk meat, Icelandic yogurt, rye bread, and rutabaga, or you can choose to eat foods that are local for you. Either way, you’ll want to skip fast food and highly processed foods and choose whole foods instead. Fresh seafood, local produce, berries, root vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products should make up the majority of your diet.
Off-limit foods include white breads of all kinds, highly processed foods, food additives, and grilled or smoked meats.

There are other foods that are allowed in small amounts. This this includes grass-fed beef, lamb, and pork; whole-fat foods such as butter; and very rarely, sugar, sweets, and sweet drinks. Alcohol in moderation can be a part of the diet, though water is the beverage of choice.

Diet Objectives

As you choose which foods to eat on the Nordic Diet, the goal is to keep a healthy carb-to-protein ratio of 2:1. For each meal, a quarter of your plate should contain protein, a quarter low glycemic index (GI) carbs, and half fruits and veggies. Carbs are chosen based on where they fall on the glycemic index. Foods low on the scale don’t raise blood sugar levels the way high GI foods do, so seek these out to be a good Nordic eater.

Pros and Cons

Is the Nordic Diet something you should try? Possibly. But before jumping in, you should consider the pros and cons first.

Con: The diet can be time consuming. Eating out isn’t easy on the Nordic Diet and pre-packaged or processed foods aren’t part of the plan, so you may have to spend more time than usual researching recipes, shopping for local foods, and preparing home-cooked meals in the kitchen.

Pro: Unlike many fad diets, you don’t have to go hungry on the Nordic Diet and you don’t have to count calories. You eat until you feel satisfied, and then you stop. A couple snacks a day are acceptable, and the emphasis on protein helps fill you up. Eating this way can aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation, and help prevent diseases such as diabetes.

Con: The recommended foods are pricier than what you may be used to. Local farmers markets and fresh fish from the grocery aren’t as cheap as canned beans and frozen chicken nuggets.

Pro: Studies show that following this diet will lead to slow and steady weight loss.

Con: Like other diets, when you return to your old way of eating, the weight returns.

Pro: On the diet, your health should improve. High blood pressure should go down and there’s a good chance the diet will also help lower high cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and inflammation markers, though results are inconsistent.

As an added perk, by following a diet that emphasizes locally sourced foods that are sustainably farmed, you can play a small part in helping to protect and preserve the environment.