The Mediterranean diet, recognized worldwide as the healthiest of all possible, has just emerged a competitor that seems far removed from its standards: the Stockholm diet. This time the hot countries and the cold ones are equal in matters of wellness since according to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is evidence that this eating plan, also known as the new nordic Diet, can help reduce the risk of developing diseases that are usually associated with excessive weight. “Behind obesity are diabetes, hypertension, problems cardiovascular (heart attacks, stroke), cancers associated with being overweight (postmenopausal breast, colon, kidney, esophageal, pancreatic), kidney failure and fatty degeneration of the liver”, says the doctor Miguel Angel Martinez-Gonzalezprofessor at the University of Navarra, specialist in Preventive Medicine and Public Health and author of the book ‘What do you eat?’.
And we are not only talking about physical problems, we should also include in that long list those that affect our mental healthbecause according to Martínez-González, recognized as the great expert in the Mediterranean diet, there is “growing evidence that a poor diet contributes to depression.”
In his opinion, to avoid all this, there is nothing better than keeping the scale at bay by regularly following a good diet about which he has no doubts: “No other eating pattern surpasses the Mediterranean diet“. But, as now asserted by the WHO, at least it equals it. According to this institution, although more unknown, the new nordic diet It is on par with the Mediterranean and is very beneficial for babies and children, as confirmed by a study carried out by researchers from the University of Umea (Sweden), the Epidemiology Center of the Stockholm County Council and the University of California ( USA).
Why does the WHO recommend the Stockholm diet?
The stockholm diet “It is an eating pattern developed in the Nordic countries for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases,” explains Rinat Ratner Goldenberg, director of the Faculty of Nutrition and Dietetics at the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) and nutritionist at Clínica Alemana. And it is not so different from the Mediterranean diet since they are based on common principles: give priority to foods of plant origin, reduce protein and avoid refined sugars (we are talking about sugary drinks, including juices, industrial pastries, cookies and cakes), ultra-processed foods and excess salt.
According to the nutritionist, both diets are very similar and the main difference between the two lies in the type of healthy fat that they recommend, “in the case of the Mediterranean it is olive oil olive and in the Nordic, that of rape. The rest is very similar,” she says.
We are well aware of the benefits of EVOO, “the liquid gold of our gastronomy and essential for the proper functioning of the body’s main engine, the heart,” says Dr. Leandro Plaza, who has also been president of the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC). Some virtues endorsed by a study by the Department of Cellular Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the University of Córdoba that affirms that it exerts a protective effect against different diseases, improves the antibacterial and antiviral activity of the organism and acts as a anti-inflammatory natural. But what are the hitherto little valued rapeseed oil?
They reside in their high content in unsaturated fats, especially the kind Omega 3, that help reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, known as LDL, and increase the ‘good’, HDL. In addition, the large amount of fatty acids monounsaturated which it provides -64%, only 10% less than olive oil- reduces the risk of suffering from diabetes and contributes to maintaining bone density after menopause. “It is a good option to prevent and control cardiovascular diseases and other pathologies associated with oxidative stress,” he points out. Maria Isabel Giacopini de Zambranoprofessor and researcher at the Central University of Venezuela in a report on its effects on health.
And it is, together with olive oil, a good pillar for a healthy diet. “It is convenient that the fats that are ingested are of this type, instead of the saturated ones, which increase the levels of cholesterol and therefore of cardiovascular risk“says the doctor Petra Sanz, member of the FEC and cardiologist at the Hospital Fundación Alcorcón.
What is the Stockholm diet?
As its name indicates, the stockholm diet or Nordic diet “is a type of diet that develops in northern European countries and is based on foods such as fruits (with special attention to the berries), the vegetables root, whole grains, legumes, rapeseed oil, oily fish such as Salmonnuts, and lean meats,” explains Irene Lezcano, dietician and nutritionist at Nutritienda. At the same time, it is a plan that “restricts processed foods with a high salt or sugar content.”
Its healthy virtues are due, first of all, to the fact that it “reduces the consumption of meat and, on the contrary, encourages the vegetables“, assures Lezcano. In addition, in this diet other factors are taken into account, for example, that they always choose “products freshlocal and season“. That is why it is a “healthy nutritional strategy for weight control, although you have to take into account the area where you live to adapt it to the food available.”
“It is a very healthy type of diet since its nutritional profile includes a high content of antioxidantsvitamins and healthy fats“adds the nutritionist. In addition, “the consumption of sweets and processed foods is restricted” and has another positive point, because among its objectives, along with healthy eating, “includes fighting against food waste with recipes for use”, he points out.
Is the Stockholm diet better than the Mediterranean diet?
“You both know they look like more than they differ,” replies lezcano. “The Mediterranean diet promotes the consumption of olive oil instead of rapeseed, but since the Nordic diet also opts for fruit, vegetables, cereals (especially whole grains), nuts, legumes, dairy… And it suggests consuming less red meat, prioritizing fish and eggs”, summarizes the nutritionist.
In addition to the different oilsanother factor that separates both diets is that the Mediterranean includes camein moderation, “however, any amount of alcohol consumed is harmful for health, so it should be part of a very occasional consumption, if it is done”, warns lezcano. That is, both are healthy and since “they promote the consumption of fresh and local food, it is best to adapt the dietary pattern to the area where you live,” he points out.
What is eaten in the Stockholm diet?
Basically foods with which “it is possible to protect the cardiovascular health“, explains the nutritionist Rinat Ratner Goldenberg. They are those with an “important contribution of antioxidantspolyphenols, omega 3, polyunsaturated fats, fiber, potassium and magnesium”. The specialist has ordered them into the following list:
- Whole grains.
- Fatty fish like salmon.
- Rapeseed oil.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Low fat dairy.
Is the Stockholm diet good for losing weight?
Yes, say the experts. “The Nordic diet is a healthy nutritional strategy for the weight control“, assures Irene Lezcano, in the same vein as Rinat Ratner:” It is recommended for all people; when the goal is to be more healthy, everyone can follow it. And since it is low in sugar and rich in fiber, which is why it has a satiating effect, it favors weightlossalthough this is not the fundamental objective”, concludes Ratner.