New research has found clear evidence that a Nordic diet can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels even without weight loss. Previous studies pointed to the range of diseases that a Nordic diet can help prevent, but these health benefits were always associated with weight loss.
A Nordic diet is a healthy diet composed of foods common in the Nordic countries, such as fish, whole grains, berries, and vegetables. The dietary fats found in these foods are thought to be responsible for the diet’s health benefits, such as reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
This new study from the University of Copenhagen along with researchers from Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland, examined blood and urine samples from 200 people over the age of 50. All participants had elevated BMI and increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The participants were divided into two groups – one providing foods according to the Nordic dietary recommendation and a control group on their habitual diet.
After six months of monitoring, the results were clear. The group that had been on the Nordic diet became significantly healthier, with lower cholesterol levels, better regulation of blood sugar levels, and lower overall levels of both saturated and unsaturated fat in the blood. It was noted that even in participants who did not lose weight, these improvements stayed true.
Researchers point to the unique composition of fats (omega-3 and omega-6) in a Nordic diet as a possible explanation for the significant health benefits.
“We can only speculate as to why a change in fat composition benefits our health so greatly. However, we can confirm that the absence of highly processed food and less saturated fats from animals have a very positive effect on us,” said Lars Ove Dregsted, head researcher.
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