New Nordic diet emphasizes plant-based food and sustainability

Credit: Unsplash+

The latest edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) has just been released.

For the first time, it includes scientific recommendations for a diet that is not only good for our health but also beneficial for the environment.

These recommendations encourage people to adopt a largely plant-based diet, consume more fish, and reduce their intake of red meat.

A group of researchers from the University of Eastern Finland contributed significantly to the formation of these new guidelines, including Professor of Nutrition Therapy Ursula Schwab, who served on the committee that updated the NNR.

According to Schwab, the NNR provides an excellent foundation for the updating of national recommendations, which in Finland is slated for 2024.

The new guidelines are more detailed with regard to certain nutrients, which will influence food group level recommendations while considering the specific characteristics of different countries.

This sixth edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations represents the most significant update in its 40-year history.

It encapsulates the latest and most comprehensive scientific knowledge on what constitutes healthy and environmentally friendly food.

The NNR is backed by the best available research on the relationship between food intake, health, and the environment.

The report confirms that in most cases, what is healthy for individuals also tends to be good for the planet.

Key recommendations from the report include a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, berries, pulses, potatoes, whole grains, fish, and nuts.

Moderate intake of low-fat dairy products is encouraged, while the consumption of red meat, poultry, processed meats, alcohol, and refined foods high in fat, salt, and sugar should be limited.

The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, a four-year effort involving hundreds of Nordic and international researchers, were published on June 20, 2023, by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Each Nordic country will decide how to implement these recommendations while taking into account their national priorities and circumstances.

The NNR 2023 also highlights significant changes in the recommended intake or reference value of nine nutrients, including vitamins E, B6, B12, C, thiamin, folate, calcium, zinc, and selenium.

The report strongly advises against alcohol consumption, as no safe threshold can be established.

It also promotes a higher intake of whole grains, vegetables, berries, fruits, and sustainably sourced fish, and it advocates for a significant reduction in the consumption of red meat for both health and environmental reasons.

These recommendations form the scientific basis for the national nutrient intake recommendations and food recommendations of the Nordic and Baltic countries.

Since its first edition in 1980, the NNR has been an important resource for decision-makers, researchers, and students, with the 2012 edition being downloaded more than 300,000 times.

Copyright © 2023 Scientific Diet. All rights reserved.