If it is inspired by the ancestral eating habits of scandinavian peoples, the Nordic diet was devised in 2004 by a team of experts – in health, nutrition and sustainable agriculture – with the aim of curbing the rise in obesity and unsustainable practices in the Nordic countries. So what is this Viking diet all about?
“Overall, the principles of the Nordic diet are similar to those of the Mediterranean diet : decrease in meats and saturated fats, increase in the consumption of fish, seasonal and local fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, seeds and whole grains” summarizes Raphaël Gruman, nutritionist and dietitian.
The main difference lies in the choice of products, which must remain local to respect the environment: olive oil – absent from northern latitudes – is therefore replaced by rapeseed oil, white bread is banned in favor of black bread – or rugbrod – made from rye, and on the fruit side, Scandinavian red berries are given pride of place.
But if the Nordic diet is perfectly adapted to the inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries and their culture, it can be more difficult to follow in our regions far from the polar circle. So how can we take advantage of its benefits by adapting it to our local foods? The advice of Raphaël Gruman, dietitian and nutritionist in Paris.
Pamper the cardiovascular system
By giving pride of place to fish, and in particular to oily fish – salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel – with seafood and oilseeds, the Scandinavian diet provides its share of monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids, including the famous Omega 3 cardia-protectors.
Advice from the nutritionist:
“To be in accordance with the French recommendations of the PNNS, we can consume 3 servings of fish per week including 1 fat and 2 lean. In addition, large predatory fish such as tuna or salmon – potentially sources of heavy metals – will be limited to one serving per week maximum.
Side vegetable oil : it will be interesting to alternate rapeseed oil rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which must be reserved for cold seasoning, with an oil rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil, which we are lucky enough to cultivate in France and which tolerates cooking well”.
Advising to limit dairy products and red meat, to avoid sugary and processed foods, and to favor berries rich in antioxidants the Nordic diet respects all the main principles of the anti-inflammatory diet, recommended for limit a certain number of pathologies such as cancers and diabetes.
Advice from the nutritionist:
“Reducing dairy products is a good thing: in France, the PNNS recommends 3 dairy products per day, which is too much. The High Public Health Council recommends 2 and that is more than enough. Dairy products can be preferred made from goat’s or sheep’s milk, less inflammatory than cow’s milk. “.
Better control your blood sugar
Maintain a blood sugar low and stable is essential for maintaining good health and controlling weight. In fact, when you eat foods rich in fast-absorbing carbohydrates, blood sugar levels go crazy and the body reacts by secreting a spike in insulin. Problem: this hormone, which quickly reduces blood sugar levels, also activates lipogenesis, namely the storage of this blood sugar in the form of fat cells, therefore fat.
“The Scandinavian diet advocates whole grains, legumes, oilseeds, seeds, fruits and vegetables, namely foods rich in fiber and with a low glycemic index. Conversely, it limits sugary and processed foods with a high glycemic index that disrupt blood sugar levels and promote weight gain. »
Slowly (but definitely!) regain your healthy weight
We now know, the low calorie diets, strict or fanciful, do not work in the long term. They do – of course – lose weight quickly, but are always followed by a resumption of weight at the origin of the famous yoyo curve and end up generating resistance to weight loss. Additionally, they generate the frustration and the cracking and promote the onset of eating disorders. The Scandinavian diet does not impose calorie restrictions, it only encourages people to eat healthier and to listen to their hunger and satiety signals to self-regulate perfectly. “This is what is recommended for progressive and lasting weight loss,” concludes the nutritionist.
Stay young !
The Nordic diet also involves foods known to slow aging. They contain :
The advice of the nutritionist:
“As Scandinavian berries are not easy to find in France, we can fall back on our seasonal fruits, which are also very well supplied with antioxidants, in particular red fruits – blueberries, blackberries and currants – but also grapes and citrus”.