Whole rye breads are known for their health virtues, such as increment of satiety, assistance to the digestive system function, long term energy, vitamins, many minerals and reduction of the risk of colon and breast cancer. Furthermore, whole rye breads, especially bread from 100% whole rye flour, are extremely recommended for pre diabetic and diabetic patients, why?


Written by: Hadas Yariv (M Sc, MBA), food technician and nutrition expert.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, which causes a rise in the blood sugar levels and damages all of the body’s systems. Obesity and diabetes are the main epidemics of the current millennium. In Israel there are 500,000 diabetics and another 200,000 who don’t know they are diabetic and referred to as “pre diabetic patients”. The chance to get diabetes rises in older age up to 40%. Over 95% of diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes the insulin discharged from the pancreas isn’t effective enough to insert the sugar into the body cells, or isn’t discharged in a sufficient way. The shortage of sugar evolves gradually, and might not appear for years at all, until it becomes a real life threatening situation.

Dietary Recommendations for Diabetics

International health organizations recommended for a diabetic/ pre diabetic patient to base their diet on whole grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, low fat dairy products, chicken and fish (not fried); it is recommended to consume monounsaturated fat from olive oil, nuts, almonds and avocado. On the other hand they should reduce consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, salt and processed meat. We highly recommend on keeping a low calorie diet.

Recommendations for Carbs and Whole Grains Consumption:

Carbs are the main essential nutrient that affects the levels of blood sugar. The carbs provide energy and “fuel” for the brain and central nervous system. Dietary recommendations for carb consumption for diabetics, as published in the position paper of the American Diabetes Association, are based on daily consumption of 130 grams. The preferable sources for carbs are whole grains (whole rye bread, whole wheat pasta), legumes (lentils, beans, peas) and starchy fruit and vegetables (sweet potato, whole wheat pasta). Bread is one of the main sources of carbs for the daily menu of the world’s population. It is basic food that contributes carbs and is a source of energy. Whole grains are recommended as a source of carbs. The main and most common whole grains used in the bakery industry are rye, wheat, spelt and oatmeal.

Whole grain breads are rich with dietary fibers, provide vitamins from group B and have low glycemic index.

The benefit of whole rye bread filled with glycemic index and glycemic load is those are used to evaluate the measure of increased levels of blood sugar after eating foods containing carbs. Food with high glycemic index is digested and absorbed quickly, which causes a sharp increase in blood sugar. Food with low glycemic index is digested and absorbed slowly, which causes a moderate increase in blood sugar levels.
It is known whole grain breads have low glycemic index compared to bread that is made with white flour.

Even though, there are still differences between the whole grains.
A new clinical research published in 2013 in the science magazine “Diabetes Education” examined the effect of different bread- whole rye, white flour, whole grains- on the levels of sugar and insulin among diabetic patients. The results show that consumption of whole wheat rye bread is the most recommended for this population. The group that ate whole rye bread, the sugar and insulin levels in the blood were significantly lower than the other groups: the white flour and even the whole grains group. Furthermore, the whole rye bread group felt a better satiety and satisfaction feelings compared to the other breads. Another research, which compared between a high fiber diet and a low glycemic index diet, showed the same better and more balanced results of blood sugar and insulin levels, also levels of good cholesterol, HDL, were higher among the low glycemic index dieters. Similar results were found in past researches in a healthy population.

Dr. Yosef Klinman, an internal medicine specialist and one of the pioneers of treating diabetics, notes that a diet based on low glycemic index, such as whole rye bread, reduces the insulin as well as sugar levels in the blood. Furthermore, there are in the market today breads made with light whole rye flour, which are the ultimate recommendation for the bread consumption among diabetics. This diet also assists with reducing risk of heart disease, lowering cholesterol levels, increasing feeling satiety and maintaining a normal weight. On the other hand, it is known that diets with high glycemic index/ load increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, gallbladder diseases and cancer. It was also found the good effect the low glycemic index has on diabetes, heart diseases and colon cancer is equal and even better than the effect found in researches on whole grains and dietary fibers.

Additional Health Benefits of Whole Rye Bread

Rye seeds are known to have a lot of nutritious values:

  • Rich in dietary fibers. Dietary fibers are not metabolized by enzymes in the small intestine. Consuming dietary fibers may improve the glycemic reaction after a meal. Dietary fibers are known to assist the digestive system function better, reduce LDL cholesterol levels, help with weight regulation, contribute to feeling satiety, have pre- biotic effects and help prevent colon cancer.
  • Rich in B vitamins. B vitamins are vital to maintain the health of the nervous system and normal brain activity, important to the health of the skin, hair, eyes, liver and digestive system.
  • A source of lignans. Lignans are useful phenolic components found in plants. Studies show lignans have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, preventing high blood pressure, decreasing the incidence of vascular diseases and reducing the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer.
  • A source of manganese and magnesium. The manganese takes part in enzymatic procedures in the metabolism of the glucose and in oxygen absorbent processes. The magnesium participates in the processes of bone building, energy production and transferring nerves stimulations.
  • A source of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a vital amino acid of which the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced. Serotonin is known as an appetite suppressant that causes loss of appetite.
  • Diabetes and weight loss,

    Diabetes and weight loss, adopting a healthy diet, practicing 30 minutes a day of exercise and weight loss among pre diabetic and diabetic patients may prevent or postpone (respectively) the appearance/ symptoms of diabetes and related side effects. Losing 1 kg of body weight can reduce the disease’ incidence by about 12% and reduce systolic blood pressure up to 2.4 mm mercury. Gaining weight, especially abdominally, increases the insulin resistance and raises the risk of type 2 diabetes. That is why losing weight and maintaining a long term normal weight has the outmost importance in preventing the disease. Consumption of low calories products is recommended for the pre diabetic and diabetic population.

    In Conclusion

    Pre diabetic and diabetic patients should consume foods with low glycemic index, as well as a diet rich with dietary fibers from whole grains, such as light rye bread from whole wheat flour.
    This diet assists diabetics with balancing the blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. A low glycemic index diet help to keep the blood and insulin levels even more balanced than with consuming whole grains. The combination of light bread made from 100% whole rye flour- which has particularly low glycemic index- provides the best answer to the diabetic patient. Even more so, breads from 100% whole rye flour provide essential nutrients important to the health of our body.