Is rye bread good for diabetics?

Diabetes is a serious condition that needs careful management to avoid things going worse and maintain good health. Watching what you eat is one of the best and easiest strategies to help control the condition. There is a variety of options and possibilities when it comes to choosing the finest bread for diabetics to eat. For diabetics, rye is an excellent grain to consume. It is made up of bigger molecules than wheat, thus it takes longer to break down in your system. But what is rye?

What is rye?

Rye or Secale cereale is a grain closely related to wheat and barley. Rye grain is used in the production of flour, bread, beer, some whiskeys, and others. It can also be eaten whole, either in form of boiled rye berries or by being rolled, similar to rolled oats.

The ancient Romans were the first to produce this type of grain. Rye bread is popular in the Middle East today, as well as in many European countries. Pumpernickel bread, for example, is a German all-rye bread with a distinctive flavor. How does the flavor compare to other types of bread? Many people prefer rye bread because it is darker in color and has a stronger, earthier taste than typical white and wheat bread.

Typical rye bread is made with a sourdough starter. This is a mixture of water, flour, and live yeast cultures. Sourdough breads have a lower pH and are denser, with a gummier texture, than other types of bread. A slice of whole-grain rye bread appears very healthy when compared to your usual loaf of bleached white bread. But is it healthier for people with type 2 diabetes?

How does rye bread affect people with diabetes? Does rye bread increase insulin levels?

A short internet search can lead you to believe that rye bread is an excellent blood sugar stabilizer, but an actual rye bread study has given inconsistent results. Let's analyze few studies in order to understand the situation better.

Pumpernickel rye bread, for example, was found to have a lower insulin and glucose response than other forms of bread in a 2013 study. However, when compared to another type of bread, rye bread induced a larger insulin response, according to a 2003 study. When compared to wheat bread, whole grain rye crisps provided superior satisfaction and lowered appetite, according to a 2014 study. This was most likely due to the rye bread's higher fiber content.

Another study during 2015 discovered that eating rye bread enriched with green tea extract lowers blood pressure and lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome and heart disease in a group of obese men and women. However, because these positive effects were only seen in the green tea enriched rye bread group and not in the regular rye bread group, it appears that the effects were due to the benefits of the green tea extract rather than the rye bread itself.

As long as you are sticking to a healthy food regime and you are enjoying a variety of vegetables, rye bread can be a good option for your diet.

Types and varieties of rye breads

Rye bread is usually produced from rye flour and rye grains. It comes in a variety of forms, depending on the ingredients used. Types of rye bread can be:

  • Rye bread with a light crust. Only white rye flour, derived from pulverized rye grain endosperm — the starchy core of the rye grain — is used in this variation.
  • Rye bread with marbling. This variant is created with rolled light and dark rye dough. Dark rye dough is sometimes created with light rye dough that has been tinted with cocoa powder, instant coffee, or molasses.
  • Dark rye bread. This variety is prepared from entire rye grains that have been ground. Dark rye flour is sometimes made by coloring white rye flour with cocoa powder, instant coffee, or molasses.
  • Pumpernickel bread. This bread is produced using entire rye grains that have been roughly crushed.
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Nutritional value of rye bread

Rye bread has high fiber content and a nutritional profile that is excellent. The actual composition, however, is determined by the amount of rye flour used, with darker rye breads containing more rye flour than lighter rye breads.

On average, one slice of rye bread (32 grams) contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 83
  • Protein: 2.7 grams
  • Carbs: 15.5 grams
  • Fat: 1.1 grams
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Selenium: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Thiamine: 11.6% of the DV
  • Manganese: 11.5% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 8.2% of the DV
  • Niacin: 7.6% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 7.5% of the DV
  • Copper: 6.6% of the DV
  • Iron: 5% of the DV
  • Folate: 8.8% of the DV


Of course, the nutritional value of rye bread varies depending on the brand. However, rye bread, like most breads, is high in carbs but low in protein and fat. Pumpernickel bread is a better choice when it comes to rye bread, as it contains slightly fewer carbs and has a lower glycemic index. The bread's ingredients will also vary greatly depending on the brand.

A homemade loaf of rye bread fresh from the oven, for example, is much healthier than a loaf of rye bread fresh from a factory. Processed sugars, corn syrups, and additives are commonly found in store-bought loaves. Although rye bread has a longer shelf life than wheat bread, many commercial loaves incorporate preservatives to extend their shelf life even further.

Because whole wheat rye flour has less gluten than wheat flour, the bread is heavier and doesn't rise as much as wheat-based breads. It is, however, unsuitable for persons with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity because it is not gluten-free. Is it safe to eat gluten-free bread if you have diabetes? You now know that there is no straightforward “yes” or “no” response, but gluten-free bread can typically be considered a safe option for diabetics.

What are the good nutritive components of rye bread?

Zinc, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and other micronutrients are also found in small amounts in rye bread. Rye bread is often high fiber content and contains more micronutrients, especially B vitamins, than conventional breads like white flour bread and whole grains.

What are the potential health benefits of eating rye bread?

Introducing rye bread to your diet can help with a variety of health conditions. Everyone, especially people with type 2 diabetes, where the body can not respond well to insulin, needs to keep their blood sugar under control. For people with diabetes, not getting correct treatment for low or high blood sugar levels can be dangerous and lead to health complications.

Rye bread includes a number of properties that can help with blood sugar regulation. For starters, it's strong in soluble fiber, which helps reduce carbohydrate digestion and absorption through the digestive tract, resulting in a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Rye bread also includes phenolic chemicals including ferulic acid and caffeic acid, which may help manage blood sugar by slowing the release of glucose and insulin into the bloodstream.

When it comes to making a health-conscious choice for people with diabetes, choosing food with a lower impact on your blood sugar levels will ensure you have more energy and could help your efforts to lose weight. When compared to other grain products, the glycemic index of rye bread is generally moderate. The Glycemic index of rye brad can vary between 56 and 69.

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How many slices of bread can a diabetic eat per day?

Even consuming healthy 100% whole grain bread will raise your blood sugar. That is why portion size is very important. Many types of bread are having high carbohydrate and sugar values that cause blood glucose levels to spike. The majority of foods like breads, grain-based cereals, and pastas include more carbohydrates per serving than is recommended for adults with diabetes and prediabetes. Low carb diets have been proven in scientific trials to improve glycemic control, lower A1C, reduce inflammation, and promote weight reduction. This is why we advise our readers to change their dietary habits and to follow a lower-carb diet.

A regular person's calorie consumption suggests that three medium pieces of refined white wheat bread be consumed per day. This number alters when it comes to people with diabetes. Foods containing white flour have refined carbohydrate content, which can raise the glycemic index and make glucose regulation more difficult. In comparison to refined, processed options, whole grain breads like whole wheat flour, rye, sprouted breads, and organic whole grain variants are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.  It is preferable not to eat white flour bread, but if you must, limit yourself to two medium slices. A slice of bread has about 32 calories in it. The total calories consumed from bread should not be more than 90 for a diabetic patient. Furthermore, diabetics should avoid eating white bread every day. However, with a little knowledge, you can figure out which is the best bread for you.