Nordic Diet: Eat Like a Viking to Get Ripped

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Nordic Diet
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A new study published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that the Nordic Diet up-regulates key proteins in adipose tissue to enhance fat loss.

Nordic Diet: Eat Like a Viking to Get Ripped

First there was Atkins Diet, then the Zone Diet, then the Mediterranean, now it’s the Nordic Diet.  If you have never heard of the Nordic Diet, it officially came to fruition in 2004, with a group of nutritionists, scientists and chefs, in order to address growing obesity rates and unsustainable farming practices in the Nordic countries. Compared with an average Western diet, it contains less sugar, less fat, twice the fiber, and twice the fish and seafood.

The Nordic Diet is characterized by a high content of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish. The Nordic Diet is very similar to the Mediterranean Diet, but the biggest difference is the fat source, whereas the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes olive oil, the Nordic Diet emphasizes canola oil. A new study published in the prestigious Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that the Nordic Diet up-regulates key proteins in adipose tissue to enhance fat loss. 

A previous study reported that the Nordic Diet was more beneficial for weight loss and health, with the Nordic Diet showing reduced markers of inflammation and better glucose and lipid profiles compared to the average Danish diet. Researchers wanted to take the Nordic Diet a step further and examine how Nordic Diet impacted adipose tissue and muscle tissue directly through biopsies.

Volunteers consumed a Nordic Diet or an Average Danish Diet for 26 weeks in a controlled, free-living setting. 64 moderately obese women and men participated in the study. The Nordic Diet was comprised of organic and Nordic foods as fruits and vegetables (especially berries, cabbages, root vegetables and legumes), potatoes, fresh herbs, wild plants and mushrooms, nuts, whole grain, meats from livestock and game, fish and shellfish and seaweed. The average Danish Diet was similar to a western diet, and consisted of refined grains, meat, dairy products, sugary products, convenience foods, and a confined extent of low-fiber vegetables and imported fruits; e.g., citrus, bananas, and melons.

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Nordic Diet induced greater reduction in fat mass than average Danish Diet. In subcutaneous adipose tissue this was associated with increased AMPK ( AMPK plays a role in the regulating expression key proteins for fat burning in adipose tissue) and AMPK has also been proposed to be activated by increased lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue.
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Fasting blood samples and biopsies from the vastus lateralis muscle and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue were obtained at week 0 and 26. At the end of the study, the Nordic diet has improved glucose and insulin responses and lowered plasma triacylglycerol concentration after Nordic Diet which coincided with molecular adaptations in subcutaneous adipose tissue, but not in skeletal muscle. Nordic Diet induced greater reduction in fat mass than average Danish Diet. In subcutaneous adipose tissue this was associated with increased AMPK ( AMPK plays a role in the regulating expression key proteins for fat burning in adipose tissue) and AMPK has also been proposed to be activated by increased lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue. ACC phosphorylation (ACC expression in adipose tissue has been linked to the regulation of fat mass in humans). Nordic Diet induced metabolic improvements were accompanied by increased AMPK signaling in subcutaneous adipose tissue, suggesting a role of AMPK in these adaptations in the reduction in adipose tissue. The concomitant up regulation of key glucose and lipid handling proteins suggests an improved metabolic capacity in adipose tissue enhanced weight loss.  The really interesting finding of this study was that the Nordic diet has direct effects on adipose tissue by increasing the machinery for fat loss by increasing AMPK in adipose tissue.  Whether this is due to the canola oil or fish is yet to be determined.

Sample Nordic Diet:

Sample Nordic Diet Meal Plan

Fritzen AM, Lundsgaard AM, Jordy AB, Kellebjerg Poulsen S, Stender S,
Pilegaard H, Astrup A, Meinert Larsen T, Wojtaszewski JF, Richter EA, Kiens B.
New Nordic Diet induced weight loss is accompanied by changes in metabolism and
AMPK signalling in adipose tissue. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun
30:jc20152079.

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