In the work on the new Nordic dietary advice, the draft recommendation on alcohol use has been considerably improved. Now the recommendation is likely to be that staying or going alcohol-free is the best for health.

The committee that works with the health advice is now leaning in the direction of recommending people to stay or go alcohol-free, reports VG.

At the previous drafting round, the researchers who worked on the new dietary advice wanted to set a recommended maximum intake of 20 grams of alcohol per day. That amounts to around two units of alcohol, i.e. two small cans of beer a day. That draft also stated that alcohol intake could have both positive and negative aspects.

A more recent draft says that there is no safe level, and recommends avoiding or limiting alcohol intake – which is in line with world class science, for example from the World Health Organization.

VG reports that Ragnhild Kaski, the Secretary General of Av-og-til explained one should never consume alcohol for the sake of health, and she is happy that the committee is now leaning in the direction of recommending abstinence from alcohol.

Av-og-til (Norwegian for now and then) is an organization working for alcohol awareness. They want to help reduce the negative consequences of alcohol use in society and make everyday life safer for everyone.

When the research is so clear that there is no safe lower limit when it comes to alcohol, I also think it would be a bit strange to land on a health advice other than zero units.”

Ragnhild Kaski, Secretary General, Av-og-til

The Nordic nutritional recommendations project

The new edition of the Nordic nutritional recommendations (NNR) will describe how people in the Nordic countries can eat both healthily and sustainably. The recommendations are a prominent example of regional cooperation on guidelines for dietary composition and recommended intake of nutrients. In June 2023, the new sustainability edition of the Nordic nutritional recommendations will be published.

The NNR report is an international, research-based, high-quality guide for national authorities, explained professor Rune Blomhoff. Prof. Blomhoff is the project leader for the NNR report, as per Nordic Cooperation reporting.

For several decades, the Nordic nutritional recommendations have served as an important scientific basis for national food and health policy in the five Nordic and three Baltic countries. For example, it forms the basis for national nutritional recommendations, dietary advice, food labelling, taxes and regulations, education, monitoring and research. Since this is a rapidly developing field of research and researchers have acquired more advanced methods for synthesizing research results in the field of nutrition, the report has been updated every eight to ten years. The new edition will be published in June 2023.

What makes this report different from previous reports?

The new edition of the nutritional recommendations (NNR 2023) builds on the solid foundation from the previous edition, but also includes a number of improvements and extensions. The methods for summarizing research results have been markedly improved.

The method used in the new edition is far more systematic, open and transparent, with a number of control mechanisms. The project has grown considerably in terms of the number of researchers involved, now approaching 400.

Another important difference from previous reports is the integration of sustainability.

The research group has also included new separate background articles on choline, a “new” nutrient, and dietary fibre. They have also expanded the section on food-based dietary advice by adding 15 new articles on food groups as well as meal patterns and dietary patterns.

Researchers involved in Nordic nutritional recommendations
The number of researchers involved in the new edition of the Nordic nutritional recommendations (NNR) is now approaching 400.

Who are the experts involved in this project?

The NNR research group policy is not to publish the names of the researchers who contribute to the background articles, until the articles have been published.

The interest from stakeholders, industry, organizations and individuals is enormous, and the NNR project will not allow influence or lobbying aimed at the researchers’ assessments. All stakeholders are instead invited to comment on the background articles during the public hearings to ensure that the work is done in an open and transparent manner. When articles are published, all authors, peer reviewers and reference groups will of course be made public.

The process and methodology for developing the new NNR edition

For the entire first year of the project period, the research group worked on the methods for summarizing scientific findings. They defined the methods and inclusion and exclusion criteria for the highest quality research reviews and called these reports “qualified systematic reviews”.

These overviews are often large technical reports, typically several hundred pages long, and cover specific narrow research questions.

The quality control of background articles includes peer reviews and public hearings.

Before the final publication in June 2023, more than 60 background articles and also the final report will have been out for consultation for periods of eight weeks.

The improved method has attracted the interest of several important health authorities around the world, and the recommendations have been included in a group of important international authorities with the intention of harmonizing methods for developing nutritional recommendations and dietary advice.

Additional Source

Nordic Cooperation: “Healthy and sustainability diets: Latest updates on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations

Source Website: VG