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

  • Nahid Ramezani-Jolfaie
  • Mohammad Mohammadi
  • Amin Salehi-AbargoueiEmail author



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.


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.


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.


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.


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



Nordic diet


Randomized controlled clinical trials


Weighted mean difference


Confidence interval


Waist circumference


Body mass index


World health organization


Cardiovascular diseases


Dietary approaches to stop hypertension


Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses


Prospective register of systematic reviews


Standard error


Standard deviations


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Author contribution

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.


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

Compliance with ethical standards

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).

Informed consent

The informed consent was not applicable for the current study.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nutrition and Food Security Research CenterShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, School of Public HealthShahid Sadoughi University of Medical SciencesYazdIran

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