You may have watched the programme on Channel 4 last week that looked into ‘The World’s Best Diet’. If so then you will have noticed that some of the healthiest diets on earth were from those populations that ate minimal processed foods and refined sugar, and yet ate plenty of lean protein sources such as fish (occasionally comprising 5-6 servings a day), essential fats and ample carbs. Is this a coincidence, are their low rates of heart disease and diabetes to do with luck, genetics, or is the low prevalence of such conditions testament to fresh and varied nature of their diet…the researchers feel it’s the latter.
Number 1 on the ‘healthiest diets’ list was Iceland, as a nation with limited agricultural potential due to the weather, they had to focus their attention to what was available to them. Consequently their diets mainly consist of fish, all kinds of fish, fresh meat (usually venison (meat that is killed by hunting) and dairy.
You’ll notice that there is no extreme food group restriction, nor is there a ‘clever’ concoction of fruit juice, smoothie or detox shake (although they do have their place), the Icelandic way of eating is generally clean, simple and balanced. There is a distinct reduction in red meat and processed food consumption, the majority of protein sources are either fish, shellfish or plant based protein such as beans, peas and rye. If red meat is consumed it is usually lean venison (usually deer) or elk. The thing to remember with this diet is this…include all food groups (using the Eatwell plate for reference), do not exclude natural foods, do not include processed foods if you can help it, and just eat the recommended portion of each for your size, weight and body composition.
Metro, (2014). Iceland has the world’s best diet, but it’s bad news for the UK… Retrieved 7th July, 2014, from http://metro.co.uk/2014/06/30/iceland-has-the-worlds-best-diet-but-its-bad-news-for-the-uk-4781913/