Think you can’t get skinny eating bread, cheese, meat and potatoes? “Think again!” says University of Copenhagen obesity expert Arne Astrup, M.D. He and his team burst onto the international weight-loss scene with an “undiet” clinically proven to melt three times more fat than traditional plans. The approach — inspired by the Nordic region of the world, where even swimsuit models enjoy hearty fare and yet remain effortlessly slim — promises no calorie counting, no fuss over portions, no bland low-fat food — ever. Simply follow a few healthy guidelines, and you’ll eat dramatically less without really trying. “You feel great, your waist shrinks and life is good,” promises Dr. Astrup.
Proof the University of Copenhagen undiet really works: When we asked Woman’s World readers to test it for us, they shed up to 14 pounds in a week. “It’s amazing,” marvels Ohio mom Tracey Ellis, 46, down 13.5 pounds in seven days. “I can’t believe how much weight I lost.” Georgia mom Christina Vincelli, 40, is also wowed. “All I could think about was how good the food tastes. And the next thing I knew, I’d shrunk by five inches!”
Eat up, slim down
Impressed by studies on Mediterranean-style diets, Astrup and his team set out to prove that a Nordic-style strategy — based on habits from obesity-resistant nations like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway — can be equally powerful. From the get-go, scientists knew that Mediterranean and Nordic approaches have plenty in common: Both emphasize naturally slimming foods like seafood, fresh veggies, fruit and good fat; both limit calorie-bomb restaurant meals and hunger-inducing processed fare.
Perhaps the key difference? “Because of our cooler climate, there is considerably more stick-to-your ribs fare,” notes Astrup. Think crusty bread, full-fat cheese, roast beef and herbed potatoes. Though often considered fattening options, with over 800 test subjects reporting in, the Nordic undiet has demonstrated it can produce “greater weight loss and fat loss” than a traditional diet. Adds Astrup: “We never tell people to eat less. We simply encourage them to eat more of the best things. Weight loss comes naturally!”
Easy rules of undieting
Rule 1: Eat more produce — even potatoes. “You can freely eat all fruit, beans, peas, beets, corn and potatoes,” insists Astrup. Potatoes in particular get a bad rap — but this, the doc notes, is largely due to frying. Baked or boiled, potatoes are packed with fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients.
Rule 2: Eat more whole grain — especially hearty rye bread. Whole-grain foods contain more protein, antioxidants and especially dietary fiber, which “increase feelings of satiety, thus causing you to eat less,” says Astrup.
Rule 3: Get more protein — even beef. “Protein is proven to keep you fuller longer. And it raises your metabolism because it requires more energy to digest than fat or carbohydrates,” says Dr. Astrup. Seafood, a Nordic staple, contains belly-fat-busting omega-3 fatty acids. That said, “Fish protein is not necessarily superior to meat for weight control,” says the doctor. Lean grass-fed beef, lamb and venison — thanks to their grassy diets — actually provide a decent dose of omega-3s; they also generally offer more fatigue-busting B vitamins and iron than fish.
Rule 4: Eat foods close to nature. The more unprocessed, additive-free, locally produced options you choose, the better off your health and waistline will be, says Astrup.
Your “undiet” sample menu
Drink all the healthy, natural beverages you like — including water, tea, and coffee. Freely add seasonings like herbs, spices, vinegar and lemon juice to flavor meals. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Option 1: Dark rye toast, Neufchâtel cheese, smoked salmon, fresh dill to taste with 1 piece fruit
Option 2: 1 bowl low-fat regular or Greek yogurt sprinkled with whole-grain cereal and drizzled with honey with 1 serving of berries
Option 1: Baby spinach, chilled diced beets, chilled barley or brown rice, crumbled goat cheese, olive oil, herbs and balsamic vinegar to taste with 1 hard-boiled egg
Option 2: Nitrate-free deli meat, cheese, baby arugula, a little mayo and a squirt of lemon on thin dark rye bread together with fresh coleslaw mix with slaw dressing, dill to taste
Option 3: Cooked shrimp, cocktail sauce and creamy Potato Salad: 1 boiled, cubed medium red potato with skin, 1/2 cup each peas, diced celery and plain low-fat yogurt, 1 tsp. mayo and fresh chives, dill and salt to taste
Option 1: Grilled fish over steamed spinach or kale, lemon and pepper to taste with sliced red bell pepper or Brussels sprouts sautéed in olive oil and crusty whole-grain bread
Option 2: Grilled Kebobs: Cubed chicken breast, grass-fed lamb or shrimp, mushrooms, bell pepper and tomatoes threaded onto skewers and grilled with hummus as dip and a piece of corn
Option 3: Grass-fed beef or wild salmon, seasoning to taste with steamed vegetables, baked potato, plain yogurt and chives to taste
Option 1: 1/ 4 cup trail mix made with dried cranberries, pistachios, raisins, and/or cashews
Option 2: 1 cup berries with 10 roasted almonds
Option 3: 1 cup vegetables with 1 oz. cheese
Create your own Nordic meals.
Fill your plate with unlimited produce. Add a serving of protein like fish or grass-fed beef and a side of whole grains such as rye bread or brown rice. For best results, aim for unprocessed, local ingredients.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.