Adherence to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations in a Nordic population with metabolic syndrome: high salt consumption and low dietary fibre intake (The SYSDIET study)

  • Svandis Erna Jonsdottir Unit for Nutrition Research, Landspitali - The National University Hospital of Iceland and Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Lea Brader
  • Ingibjorg Gunnarsdottir
  • Ola Kally Magnusdottir
  • Ursula Schwab
  • Marjukka Kolehmainen
  • Ulf Risérus
  • Karl-Heinz Herzig
  • Lieselotte Cloetens
  • Hannah Helgegren
  • Anna Johansson-Persson
  • Janne Hukkanen
  • Kaisa Poutanen
  • Matti Uusitupa
  • Kjeld Hermansen
  • Inga Thorsdottir
Keywords: Diet Records, Dietary Fats, Dietary Fibre, Guideline Adherence, Metabolic Syndrome, Multicenter Study, Nutrition Policy, Nutritional Requirements, Sodium, Dietary


Background: The Nordic countries collaborate in setting recommendations for intake of nutrients by publishing the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR). Studies exploring how well the Nordic population adheres to the NNR are limited and none are available for the metabolic syndrome (MetS) subgroup. Individuals with MetS are a large part of the adult Nordic population and their diet’s nutritional quality is of great importance as it can affect the progression of MetS.

Objective: To evaluate nutritional intake in a cohort of Nordic adults with MetS or MetS risk factors and their adherence to the NNR.

Design: A multi-centre study was carried out in six centres in four Nordic countries (SYSDIET CoE). Participants (n=175) were 30-65 years of age, with BMI 27-38 kg/m2 and had at least two criteria for MetS. The NNR was used to evaluate the baseline nutrient intake calculated from the participants’ 4-day food diaries using national nutrient databases.

Results: Less than 20% of participants consumed ≤10 E% from saturated fat as recommended in the NNR. Recommended intake (RI) of polyunsaturated fat was met by approximately one-third of participants. Only 20% of men and 26% of women met the RI of dietary fibre. Intake below the defined lower intake level of 2.5 μg/day for vitamin D was observed in nearly 20% of participants. The daily median intake of salt was 8.8 g for men and 6.7 g for women.

Conclusion: Dietary quality of this Nordic population with Mets or MetS risk factors is unsatisfactory and characterised by high intakes of SFA and sodium and low intakes of PUFA and dietary fibre. Vitamin D intake was below RI level in a large part of the population. Authorities in the Nordic countries are encouraged to develop intervention programmes for high-risk groups.

Keywords: diet records; dietary fibre; guideline adherence; metabolic syndrome; multicenter study; sodium; dietary

(Published: 16 December 2013)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2013. 57: 21391 -

Special Issue: This paper is part of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations - The NNR5 project. More papers from this issue can be found at


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Jonsdottir S. E., Brader L., Gunnarsdottir I., Magnusdottir O. K., Schwab U., Kolehmainen M., Risérus U., Herzig K.-H., Cloetens L., Helgegren H., Johansson-Persson A., Hukkanen J., Poutanen K., Uusitupa M., Hermansen K., & Thorsdottir I. (2013). Adherence to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations in a Nordic population with metabolic syndrome: high salt consumption and low dietary fibre intake (The SYSDIET study). Food & Nutrition Research.
Nordic Nutrition Recommendations - The NNR5 project

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