Looking to lower your cholesterol? Research recommends the Nordic diet

A recent study has found that dietary fats in the Nordic diet seem to play an essential role in improving people's health

A table of food inspired by the Nordic diet
(Image credit: Getty)

Many people are aware of the Mediterranean diet, but are you familiar with the Nordic diet? In terms of ingredients it's not too dissimilar from the Med diet and equally can have an incredible impact on your health. Recent research completed on the Nordic diet has revealed it can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, without you having to lose weight.

Previous research has identified the Nordic diet as a healthy way to lose weight. It's a well-known fact that maintaining a healthy diet as well as completing the best exercises for weight loss will help with losing weight and give you other health benefits such as, drops in cholesterol.

However, new research conducted at the University of Copenhagen has released clear evidence attributing the Nordic diet to being able to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, regardless of whether one loses weight or not.

Lars Ove Dragsted, a researcher and head of section at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports said, "It's surprising because most people believe that positive effects on blood sugar and cholesterol are solely due to weight loss. Here, we have found this not to be the case."

The researchers recruited 200 adults aged over 50, all with raised BMI and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The participants were divided into two groups, one ate foods in line with the Nordic dietary recommendations, and the second group stuck to their usual diet.

Dragsted explained that the group consuming the Nordic diet for six months experienced vast improvements to their health including, lower cholesterol levels, lower levels of both saturated and unsaturated fat in the blood, and improved regulation of glucose. The scientists also kept the weight of people in the Nordic diet group stable by asking them to increase their food intake if they lost weight. "Even without weight loss, we could see an improvement in their health," said Dragsted.

Vegetable oil

(Image credit: Getty)

The researchers recruited 200 adults aged over 50, all with raised BMI and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The participants were divided into two groups, one ate foods in line with the Nordic dietary recommendations, and the second group stuck to their usual diet.

Dragsted explained that the group consuming the Nordic diet for six months experienced vast improvements to their health including, lower cholesterol levels, lower levels of both saturated and unsaturated fat in the blood, and improved regulation of glucose. The scientists also kept the weight of the group on the Nordic diet stable by asking them to increase their food intake if they lost weight. "Even without weight loss, we could see an improvement in their health," said Dragsted.

After analyzing the blood of the participants the researchers could see that the Nordic group whose health benefitted most from the dietary change had different fat-soluble substances from the control group. These substances seem to be linked to unsaturated fatty acids from oils in the Nordic diet. This led them to conclude that Nordic dietary fats are what has the biggest benefit on people's health. 

So if you feel encouraged to try the Nordic diet and improve your diet and health through this food venture, you want to make sure you're consuming enough of the following fats: fish, flaxseeds, sunflower, vegetable oils, and nuts. You can also source healthy fats like omega 3 by taking one of the best fish oil supplements every day.

Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 


When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.