Health Benefits of Rye
Rye Reduces Body Weight Compared to Wheat
In this study conducted at Lund University in Sweden, mice were fed whole grain diets based on either wheat or rye, for 22 weeks. Body weight, glucose tolerance, and several other parameters were measured during the study. The researchers concluded that whole grain rye “evokes a different metabolic profile compared with whole grain wheat.” Specifically, mice consuming the whole grain rye had reduced body weight, slightly improved insulin sensitivity, and lower total cholesterol.
Nutrition. February 2010; 26(2): 230-9. Epub 2009 Jul 31.
Rye Lowers Insulin Response, Improves Blood Glucose Profile
In the fight against diabetes and obesity, foods that produce a low insulin response and suppress hunger can be extremely useful. Scientists at Lund University in Sweden examined the effects on 12 healthy subjects of breakfasts made from different rye flours (endosperm, whole grain rye, or rye bran) produced with different methods (baking, simulated sour-dough baking, and boiling). This cross-over study showed that the endosperm rye bread and the whole grain rye bread (especially the “sourdough” one with lactic acid) best controlled blood sugar and regulated appetite.
Nutrition Journal. September 25, 2009; 8:42
Rye Bread Satisfies Longer than Wheat
At the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, researchers fed rye bread (with three varying levels of rye bran) and wheat bread to 16 people, then asked them to rate their appetite (hunger, satiety and desire to eat) for 8 hours afterward. [It’s not known if the wheat bread was whole wheat or refined wheat.] All through the morning and into the afternoon, the three rye bread breakfasts all decreased hunger and desire to eat, compared to the wheat bread control, with the rye bread containing the highest level of bran providing the strongest effect on satiety.
Nutrition Journal. August 26, 2009; 8:39
Rye Porridge More Satisfying for Breakfast
Scientists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala decided to investigate whether whole grains keep people full and satisfied longer than refined grains – and whether specific types of whole grains are more satisfying than others. Working with 22 healthy adults, they fed their subjects either rye porridge or refined wheat bread for breakfast and then whole wheat pasta or refined wheat pasta for lunch. In both cases, the two options offered equal amounts of energy (calories). They found that the two pastas varied little in their subsequent effects on appetite, but that the rye porridge had “prolonged satiating properties up to 8 hours after consumption, compared to refined wheat bread.” (However, even though the rye breakfast made subjects feel full longer, it did not diminish subsequent food consumption.)
Food & Nutrition Research, 2008; 52. Doi 10.3402/fnr.v52i0.1809. Epub Jul 28.
Rye may Reduce Inflammation in People with Metabolic Syndrome
At the University of Kuopio in Finland, scientists assigned a group of 47 adults with metabolic syndrome to one of two different 12-week diets. The first group ate a diet with oat, wheat bread and potato (high post-meal insulin response) and the second group at a diet with rye bread and pasta (low post-meal insulin response). The researchers found that the rye/pasta group showed less inflammation than the oat/wheat/potato group. Since inflammation may raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, the researchers concluded that choosing cereal foods wisely may be important to reduce diabetes risk, especially in those who already have metabolic syndrome.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May 2008; 87(5): 1497-503.
Rye Down-Regulates Some Risky Genes
For decades it was believed that genes determined destiny: if you’ve inherited genes that predispose you to heart disease, for example, you will develop cardiovascular disease. More recently, we’ve learned that genes have on/off switches: the potential may be there for your heart attack, but your diet and lifestyle may help you keep that switch turned off, by “down-regulating” the gene. Scientists at the University of Kuopio studied gene expression in 47 middle-aged adults who ate either an oat/wheat bread/potato diet or a rye/pasta diet for 12 weeks. They found 71 down-regulated genes with the rye/pasta group, including some involved with impaired insulin signaling, in contrast to 62 up-regulated genes in the oat/wheat/potato group, including genes that related to stress and over-action of the immune system, even in the absence of weight loss.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May 2007; 85(5): 1169-70.