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Among cereals, rye is the richest source of dietary fibre. The rye grain is also stuffed with a wide variety of bioactive compounds. These compounds may not be essential for survival but have been linked to improved health in a growing number of studies. A diet rich in rye could improve gut health, increase satiety, and affect the blood glucose curve beneficially. In the long run, this could be beneficial for weight management and type 2 diabetes. The evidence of the health potential of rye-based foods is expanding. Much of the research is conducted by Nordic research groups.


A diet rich in dietary fibre from wholegrains

have been associated with improved body

weight management in observational studies.


According to these studies, people who consume more wholegrains have a slower increase in their body weight over longer time periods than people who consume little. One explanation may be that dietary fibre in wholegrain foods decrease the uptake of energy compared to that of refined wheat.

Weight management with rye

Another explanation may be that wholegrain foods may increase both the short-term and the long-term satiety. This may result in a lower food intake overall and a lower energy intake compared to refined cereals. Porridge and bread from wholegrain rye have been shown to prolong the satiety substantially compared to refined wheat. However, the satiety may not only be affected by the cereal type but also by how the grain is processed, how the food is cooked and how the meal as a whole is composed. In general, foods with larger particle size and intact botanical structures, such as crushed cereals, are more satiating than fine milled.

Glucose and insulin and rye

A high consumption of wholegrains has consistently been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in a large number of observational studies of different populations. This is likely a result of beneficial effects on glucose and insulin metabolism. Rye bread has been shown to provide a more balanced blood glucose response than refined wheat. Refined wheat induces a fast and high peak in blood glucose, usually followed by a quite sharp drop. Wholegrain wheat also have beneficial effects compared to refined wheat, but not as strong as for rye when compared to refined wheat.

Insulin is a hormone that ‘takes care’ of the glucose in the blood and helps our cells to make use of the glucose. The less insulin that is needed for this job, the better. After consumption of rye products, less insulin is produced compared to wheat products. This response is not only due to the fiber content, but also due to other bioactive components in rye and how the carbohydrates and proteins are structured in rye and the rye products. 


Rye bread and other products containing rye fibre can improve bowel function and prevent constipation. This is due to the high content of dietary fibre in rye. Rye foods appear to be more effective in overall improvement of bowel health than whole-wheat and low-fiber foods. The preventive effect of rye fibre on constipation is explained by an excellent water holding capacity of these fibres, resulting in an increased volume of the bowel content, softer stools, more frequent bowel movements and shorter intestinal transit time. 

Gut health and rye

In addition, consumption of rye products decrease the level of certain enzymes and toxic compounds, which in turn leads to a beneficial pH of the bowel content and a higher concentration of gut friendly short chain fatty acids. Foods high in dietary fibre have been shown to promote a healthy gut microbiota, which may prevent the development of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research on the role of rye fibre on the gut microbiota is currently ongoing.





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