The purpose was to study the composition of the Inuit diet, to assess the adherence to nutritional recommendations among the Inuit in Greenland, and to discuss the potential role of traditional food in improving dietary quality.
Cross-sectional study of adult Inuit (18+ years) from Greenland (n=2752, 43% men). Data were collected by a food frequency questionnaire. Dietary contribution of nutrients was compared between quartiles of traditional food intake. A recommended macronutrient distribution range (RMDR) was constructed from the recommendations of Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (2004). The adherence to the RMDR was estimated and the food items' contribution to energy, macronutrients, subclasses of fats, fibres, and refined sugar were calculated.
Consumption of refined sugar and saturated fat decreased by increasing consumption of traditional food whereas the fat profile improved due to increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids. Fibre intake decreased with increasing traditional food and 18% among both men and women complied to fibre recommendations. Compliance with polyunsaturated fatty acid recommendations was 27% for men and 36% for women. Compliance with n-3 fatty acids was 88% for men and 85% for women.
Increasing consumption of traditional food could benefit the dietary fat profile but will result in low fibre intake. Promotion of healthy-fibre-dense and low-fat imported food will increase the compliance to the fibre recommendation while traditional food could stay an integrated part of the Inuit diet and provide less saturated fat.