Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Feasibility and Acceptability of a Healthy Nordic Diet Intervention for the Treatment of Depression: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial

Version 1 : Received: 30 January 2021 / Approved: 1 February 2021 / Online: 1 February 2021 (12:31:47 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Nutrients 2021, 13, 902
DOI: 10.3390/nu13030902


Healthy diet interventions have been shown to improve depressive symptoms, but there is a need for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that are double-blind and investigate biological mechanisms. The primary objectives of this randomized controlled pilot trial were to test the palatability of the meals and acceptability of the intervention in preparation for a future 8-week RCT which will investigate whether a healthy Nordic diet improves depressive symptoms in individuals with major depressive disorder, and associated biological mechanisms. Depressed (n=10) and non-depressed (n=6) women and men were randomized to receive either a healthy Nordic diet (ND) or a control diet (CD) for 8 days. Participants were blinded to diet allocation and study hypotheses. Health questionnaires were completed before and after the intervention, and, throughout the study, questionnaires assessed ratings of liking and sensory properties of the meals, adherence, and open-ended feedback. In the ND group, 75% of participants consumed no non-study foods, compared to 50% of CD participants. The meals of both diets, on average, received good ratings for liking and sensory properties, though the ND ratings were somewhat higher. Overall, results were positive and informative, indicating that the planned RCT will be feasible and well-accepted, with some proposed modifications.


Depression; Major depressive disorder; Diet; Nutrition; Randomized controlled trial, Randomized controlled pilot trial; Healthy Nordic diet; Mental health; Palatability; Food liking



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