New research claims that the Nordic low-protein diet is best for weaning young children and can help teach them correct, healthy diets.
Starting a low-protein, Nordic-style diet with a greater preference for plant-based foods such as infants and toddlers may be the key to developing healthier eating habits early in life (and possibly even later.).
These are the results of a study that will be presented in the coming days at the 54th annual meeting of the European Society of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Pediatric Nutrition (ESPGHAN), which is planned in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Researchers from Umeå University (Sweden) from the Stockholm County Council Center for Epidemiology and the University of California (USA) followed two groups of children aged 4-6 months up to 18 months as part of the OTIS study.
A total of 250 children were monitored, of which 82% completed the test. The little ones were divided into two groups and in this way it was possible to highlight how the different eating habits affected them.
Those who followed the new Nordic diet, and who received recipes for homemade baby food, reduced protein products and offered support to parents via social media, took 42-45% more fruits and vegetables at 12-18 months of agecompared to those fed the conventional diet currently recommended by the Swedish Food Safety Authority.
Babies on the Nordic diet had 17-29% lower average protein intake than those on the conventional diet at 12-18 months of age, but this was still within recommended protein intake levels and calorie counts.
Some of the proteins in the Nordic diet group have been replaced by more carbohydrates, but not – as one might expect – taken from grains, but from vegetables, along with some extra fat from rapeseed oil.
But can protein reduction be a problem for children?
Lead researcher, Ulrica Johansson, a pediatrician and registered dietitian at Umeå University, Sweden, said that there do not appear to be any negative effects of eating less protein.
In a comment on the results, the doctor states that:
A Nordic diet with reduced protein, introduced to children who were naive about this eating pattern, increased their intake of fruits, berries, vegetables and roots, establishing a preferred 12-month eating pattern. There were no side effects on breast-feeding duration, iron status or growth. A Nordic diet with reduced protein is safe, feasible and can contribute to healthy and sustainable nutrition in infancy and early childhood.
The new research can therefore potentially provide an effective strategy for learning healthier eating habits early in life, which is known to be the most important.
But which foods are most present in the Nordic diet for babies and children? In addition to, of course, breast milk or breast milk substitute, the pups were weaned off by using mainly fruits, vegetables, roots and berries.
The most important foods in the Nordic diet
The Nordic diet provides a greater intake of the following foods:
- legumes of regional and seasonal production
- Whole grains
- vegetable fats and oils
Much reduced, on the other hand, are both meat and sweets, various desserts and dairy products.
Typical Nordic fruits are very important in this diet, they are:
- sea buckthorn berries
While high-fiber vegetables and tubers are especially recommended:
Follow us on Telegram | Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Youtube