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Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials

Abstract

Objectives

Studies on the effect of the Nordic diet (ND) on body weight and adiposity indices were conflicting. This study targeted to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) examined the effect of the ND on body weight and composition.

Methods

PubMed, Scopus, ISI web of Science, ProQuest and Google Scholar were searched for the eligible studies up to August 2019. The weighted mean difference (WMD) in body weight and composition indices between the ND and control groups/periods was derived using random-effects model.

Results

In total, seven studies (n = 774 participants) were included in the present study. Five studies had illustrated the effect of the ND on weight, three on waist circumference (WC), two on body fat, and two on body mass index (BMI). The pooled analysis of eligible trials showed that those adhered to the ND lost 1.83 kg [95% confidence interval (CI) − 2.94, − 0.73, P = 0.001] more weight compared to controls. Qualitative assessment of other anthropometric indices also showed a beneficial effect of this dietary pattern in improving body fat and BMI values; however, these findings are not conclusive because of limited number of studies.

Conclusion

Adherence to the ND significantly improves body weight; however, there is also no certainty that this diet is effective for improving other anthropometric indices. Future studies regarding the effect of the ND on weight and body composition in populations other than Nordic populations are highly recommended.

Level of evidence Level I, systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

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Abbreviations

ND:

Nordic diet

RCTs:

Randomized controlled clinical trials

WMD:

Weighted mean difference

CI:

Confidence interval

WC:

Waist circumference

BMI:

Body mass index

WHO:

World health organization

CVDs:

Cardiovascular diseases

DASH:

Dietary approaches to stop hypertension

PRISMA:

Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses

PROSPERO:

Prospective register of systematic reviews

SE:

Standard error

SDs:

Standard deviations

PUFAs:

Polyunsaturated fatty acids

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Funding

The study was funded by the Nutrition and Food Security research center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

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Authors

Contributions

The authors’ contributions were as follows: ASA, MM and NRJ conceived and designed the research; MM and NRJ conducted systematic research and study selection; MM and NRJ extracted data; ASA and MM analyzed data; NRJ, MM and ASA wrote the manuscript; and all authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Amin Salehi-Abargouei.

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Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest to report for this study.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was registered and ethically approved by the research council of Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences (registration code: IR.SSU.SPH.REC.1397.059).

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The informed consent was not applicable for the current study.

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Ramezani-Jolfaie, N., Mohammadi, M. & Salehi-Abargouei, A. Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on weight loss in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Eat Weight Disord 25, 1141–1150 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00773-x

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Keywords

  • Nordic diet
  • Baltic Sea diet
  • Body weight
  • Body fat percent
  • Waist circumference
  • Systematic review