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Copenhagen’s famed restaurant, Noma, was voted “The Best Restaurant in the World” by Restaurant Magazine in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Their chefs created a diet called the New Nordic Diet, which is based on seasonal and traditional Nordic cuisine. The diet was rich in seasonal and sustainable foods like fruit, berries, vegetables, with an emphasis on cabbage and root veggies, and whole grains, beans, fish and nuts.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the New Nordic Diet was compared to the average Danish Diet – which was higher in refined grains, sweets, fatty meats, cheese, and lower-fiber veggies like lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes.
They assigned either the Nordic Diet or a standard Danish Diet to 181 men and women with large waists. On average, the men had a waist measurement of 37 inches and the women had a waist measurement of 31 inches.
147 people completed the study, and after six months of being on the assigned diet, the Nordic dieters lost on average 10 pounds and 1.5 inches off waistlines. The Danish dieters lost only an average of 3 pounds and a .5 inch off waistlines. Interestingly, neither group was told to cut their calories. (1)
While much of the benefit could be attributed to the lack of processed foods and sweets in the Nordic Diet, the chefs at Noma made a point to emphasize seasonal foods as well. While much more research needs to be done on this topic, the science is clear that soil microbes change from season-to-season, and these microbes change the microbial guard and the function of our microbiome to meet the seasonal demands. (2,3,4) We also know that processed foods have less natural microbes than fresh, seasonal and whole foods – which begs the question, how much benefit can we glean from eating a seasonally changing diet that supports a healthier and more dynamic microbiome?
While science is still in progression here, the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda as well as our very own logic should suggest that the most time-tested diet of all is the one that has been feeding us for a couple of hundred, thousand, or even millions of years – a seasonal diet.
To learn more about the cutting edge science on seasonal eating, sign up for our free year-long guide to eating with the seasons, called The 3-Season Diet Challenge. Each month, you’ll receive free guidance to navigate each month of the year, with seasonal food recommendations, lifestyle tips, recipes, articles and videos.