The current 5th edition of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR 2012) puts the whole diet in focus. The recommendations emphasize food patterns and nutrient intakes that, in combination with sufficient and varied physical activity, are optimal for development and function of the body and that contribute to a reduced risk of certain diet-associated diseases. The development of the NNR is based on current scientific knowledge and an overall assessment of the available evidence.Previous editions of the NNR mainly focused on setting DRVs for the intake of, and balance between, individual nutrients for use in planning diets for various population groups. In the current 5th edition, however, more emphasis is put on the role of dietary patterns and food groups in contributing to the prevention of the major diet-related chronic diseases. Nutrition research has traditionally strived to identify the specific mechanisms and health impacts of single nutrients, but most foods contain many nutrients as well as a multitude of other potential bioactive constituents that can affect bioavailability, uptake, and metabolic responses. Nutrients and other constituents interact with each other and the surrounding food matrix in complex ways. Thus, associations between single factors and chronic disease can be difficult to identify and difficult to interpret. In contrast, studies of dietary patterns or whole diets examine the association of combinations of many foods and nutrients with health.The NNR 2012 has established the scientific evidence for an optimal intake and combination of nutrients for various groups in the general population. The evidence underlying the DRVs for nutrients includes the scientific evidence regarding food and nutrient intakes and dietary patterns and thus also accounts for factors other than nutrients.Long-term energy balance and adequate physical activity are other importantcharacteristics of healthy nutrition and lifestyle. NNR 2012 putsemphasis on the importance of adequate physical activity that, in combinationwith an appropriate food pattern, supports the long-term maintenanceof a healthy body weight.The scientific documentation is found in the individual chapters.