The Effect of Rye-Based Foods on Postprandial Plasma Insulin Concentration: The Rye Factor

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Consumption of whole grain has been associated with lower incidence of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and their risk factors including improved glycemic control. In comparison with other whole grain products, rye bread has been shown to induce lower insulin response in the postprandial phase, without affecting the glucose response. This phenomenon has been referred to as the “rye factor” and is being explored in this review where we summarize the findings from meal and extended meal studies including rye-based foods.

Overall, results from intervention studies showed that rye-based foods vs. (wheat) control foods had positive effect on both insulin and glucose responses in the postprandial phase, rather than on insulin alone. Mechanistic studies have shown that the rye factor phenomenon might be due to slowing of the glucose uptake in the intestine. However, this has also been shown for wheat-based bread and is likely an effect of structural properties of the investigated foods rather than the rye per se. More carefully controlled studies where standardized structural properties of different cereals are linked to the postprandial response are needed to further elucidate the underlying mechanisms and determinants for the effect of specific cereals and product traits on postprandial glycemic control.

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