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Main conclusions of the NNR 2012

The NNR 2012 – the fifth of its kind – looks at a number of factors involved in achieving an overall good health and preventing diet-related diseases. It focuses on dietary patterns and sets recommended nutrient intakes, with an emphasis on the quality of food that provide fats and carbohydrates. It furthermore gives recommendations for adequate physical activity that will contribute to the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases.

Nutrition research has traditionally strived to identify the specific mechanisms and health impact of single nutrients. However, most food items contain many nutrients as well as bioactive substances that interact with each other.

The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2012 give Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) for nutrient intakes, but more emphasis has been put on evaluating scientific evidence for the role played by dietary patterns and food groups that could contribute to the prevention of the major diet-related chronic diseases.

Typical features of a healthy dietary pattern as described in NNR 2012 include plenty of vegetables, fruit and berries, pulses, regular intake of fish, vegetable oils, wholegrain, low-fat alternatives of dairy and meat, and limited intake of red and processed meat, sugar, salt and alcohol.


Recommendations include the following:

  • Recommended intake ranges for cis-Monounsaturated fatty acids has been changed from 10-15 percent of the total energy intake (E%) to 10-20 E%.
  • Ranges for other fatty acid categories remain, i.e. intake of saturated fatty acids should be < 10 E%, and cis-Polyunsaturated fatty acids should be 5-10 E%, including at least 1 E% as omega-3 fatty acids. Trans-fatty acid intake should be kept as low as possible.
  • Population range for total fat intake has been adjusted to 25-40 E%, compared to 25-35 E% in NNR 2004, which is based on the sum of the ranges for the main fatty acid categories
  • Recommended intake for dietary fibre is at least 25-35 g/d (>3 g/MJ) from foods naturally rich in dietary fibre foods such as wholegrain, fruit and berries, vegetables, and pulses.A limitation of added sugars to less than 10 E% is recommended. 
  • For total carbohydrates the population range has been changed to 45-60 E% compared to 50-60 E% in NNR 2004, as a consequence of the ranges for other macronutrients and also in line with studies on dietary patterns and health outcomes
  • For protein, the recommendations are given both as population ranges expressed as E% (10-20 E%) and as a recommended intake in g/kg BW per day.
  • The Recommended Intake (RI) for vitamin D is increased from 7.5 microgram to 10 microgram per day for children above 2 and adults and to 20 microgram per day for elderly > 75. Also, the RI for selenium (i.e. in adults) is increased from 40 to 50 and 50 to 60 microgram per day (females and males, respectively) and from 55 to 60 microgram per day (pregnant and lactating women). 
  • For physical activity, recommendations are given for time spent at moderate-intensity (>150 min/week) or vigorous intensity (> 75 min/week) for adults and at least 60 min/day moderate- and vigorous intensity, equally distributed, for children.