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Interventions and public health nutrition

Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on ambulatory blood pressure in metabolic syndrome: a randomized SYSDIET sub-study



Dietary pattern is central in the prevention of hypertension and blood pressure (BP)-related diseases. A diet based on healthy Nordic foods may have a favourable impact on BP. The objective was to clarify whether a Nordic alternative for a healthy food pattern would have beneficial effects on ambulatory BP in subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS).


In total, 37 subjects were randomized to either a healthy Nordic diet or a control diet. A healthy Nordic diet embraced whole grains, rapeseed oil, berries, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and low-fat dairy products of Nordic origin. The mean nutrient intake in the Nordic countries formed the control diet, embracing wheat products, dairy fat-based spread and a lower intake of fruits, vegetables and fish. Diets were isoenergetic. Ambulatory BP was monitored and 24-h urine was collected before and after 12 weeks of intervention.


After 12 weeks, ambulatory diastolic BP (−4.4 mm Hg; P=0.001) and mean arterial pressure (−4.2 mm Hg; P=0.006) were lowered by the healthy Nordic diet compared with the control diet, whereas changes in ambulatory systolic BP did not differ significantly between diets (−3.5 mm Hg; P=0.122). Heart rate tended to be lower in those on the healthy Nordic diet (P=0.057). Urinary sodium and potassium excretions were unaffected by diets and consequently not associated with the healthy Nordic diet-induced lowering of BP.


Consumption of Nordic varieties of health-enhancing foods for 12 weeks decreased diastolic ambulatory BP and mean arterial pressure in subjects with features of MetS during weight-stable condition, suggesting beneficial effects of a healthy Nordic dietary pattern on ambulatory BP.

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The study was funded by NordForsk NCoE in Food Nutrition and Health: Project 070014 SYSDIET (Systems biology in controlled dietary interventions and cohort studies), Aarhus University, Denmark, and the Danish Strategic Research Council (DairyHealth). The following companies provided foods for the study participants: Lantmännen, Wasa, Jan Import A/S, Royal Greenland A/S, Glyngøre Limfjord A/S, Scandic Food A/S, Ardo A/S, Arla Foods and Unilever. The companies had no influence on design, implementation, analysis or interpretation of the data.

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Correspondence to L Brader.

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Brader, L., Uusitupa, M., Dragsted, L. et al. Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on ambulatory blood pressure in metabolic syndrome: a randomized SYSDIET sub-study. Eur J Clin Nutr 68, 57–63 (2014).

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  • healthy Nordic diet
  • Nordic foods
  • ambulatory blood pressure
  • mean arterial pressure
  • metabolic syndrome

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