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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Pumpernickel Bread Good for Diabetes?

Is Pumpernickel Bread Good for Diabetes?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 3, 2023
5 min read 1561 Views 1 Comments
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Those with diabetes have to eat a specialized diet that focuses on low glycemic foods. Pumpernickel bread has a low glycemic index, but is it good for diabetes? We take a look in this article.

Is pumpernickel bread good for diabetes

When it comes to a good diabetes diet, there are a few things you should look out for in the food you consume. To begin with, you need to eat foods with a low glycemic index, which generally means eating foods with a lower carb content.

You should also aim to reduce the number of saturated fats and refined products consumed to keep a diabetes-friendly, healthy diet. The American Diabetes Association also recommends opting for nutrient-dense carbohydrate options, i.e., looking for carbs with lots of fiber and micronutrients in them.

These rules can make it difficult to know what kinds of bread you can eat. If you’re wondering what the best bread choice is for those with diabetes, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at traditional pumpernickel bread, how it works within a diabetes diet, and why it may be a better, healthy bread choice over other wheat bread options for those with diabetes.

Is Pumpernickel Bread Good for Diabetes?

Pumpernickel bread is thought to be a good option for those with diabetes. It is made from whole-grain rye flour and a sourdough starter, which makes it a relatively low glycemic food with lots of nutrients.

Coarsely ground rye flour is considered a better flour option than traditional white wheat flour for those with diabetes. This is because it may have benefits for blood glucose control, including its high soluble fiber content and phenolic compounds that slow the release of sugar and insulin into the bloodstream.

Rye bread, like pumpernickel bread, could also aid weight loss. With 6.5g of fiber per 100g, pumpernickel bread helps to keep you fuller for longer, boosting satiety and reducing caloric consumption. Losing weight is thought to have a positive impact on those with type 2 diabetes.

Other ways to manage weight include eating at a calorie deficit by burning more calories each day and increasing your activity level by taking up running or joining a gym class like pilates.

Finally, pumpernickel bread could help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is thought to have a negative effect on diabetes, and controlling chronic inflammation could reduce complications in diabetes and the chances of developing the disease.

When it comes to the best slice for the diabetic diet, rye loaves that use whole-grain rye flour could be a better choice than refined wheat flour and even some whole wheat options.

How Does Pumpernickel Bread Affect Blood Sugar?

Pumpernickel bread contains carbohydrates, which means it will have an effect on blood glucose. However, it has a relatively low glycemic index, which means it will not cause a massive spike in blood glucose.

Unlike refined white bread, rye is made with whole-grain rye flour, which contains more complex carbs. These take longer to break down than simple sugars and, therefore, won’t cause a spike.

In addition, rye bread contains around 6.5g of fiber per 100g. High-fiber foods are great for the diabetic diet because fiber cannot be broken down by the body, meaning foods with lots of grams of fiber will not have a negative impact on blood glucose levels.

Fiber is an important macronutrient, particularly for those on a diabetic diet. Along with artisan bread, you can find fiber in beans, pulses, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. If you feel like you’re not getting enough fiber, you could also turn to a fiber supplement, like psyllium husk.

Nutritional Value of Pumpernickel Bread

Per 100g, pumpernickel bread contains

  • Energy: 250kcal
  • Protein: 8.7g
  • Fat: 3.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.5g
  • Fiber: 6.5g

Along with these macronutrients, a pumpernickel slice also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as some B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. This bread is not suitable for a keto diet.

Glycemic Index of Pumpernickel Bread

The glycemic index of a pumpernickel slice is 50. This makes it a low glycemic food and suitable for consumption by those with diabetes. Whole-grain bread tends to have a lower glycemic index due to more complex carbs and grams of fiber per 100g.

Glycemic index refers to the rate at which food affects your blood glucose levels compared to glucose itself. A low glycemic index is usually between 1 and 55.

Is It Safe to Eat Pumpernickel Bread if I Have Diabetes?

There are many benefits of this form of rye bread for those with diabetes. It is considered safe to consume, though care should be taken not to eat too much of this bread as it still has a relatively high carbohydrate value.

With 6.5g of fiber per 100g, a pumpernickel slice should not cause a huge spike in blood glucose, but you should ensure you track the carbohydrate value to stay within a safe range each day. Those with diabetes are usually recommended a low-carb diet.

3 Benefits of Pumpernickel Bread for Diabetes

This style of whole-grain rye bread is thought to have a few benefits for those with diabetes. We’ve taken a look at them below.

#1 Great source of dietary fiber

With 6.5g of fiber per 100g, a slice of pumpernickel is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber is an incredibly important macronutrient that helps with blood glucose management.

In addition, fiber helps maintain the health of the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, and may even help you live longer.

#2 Contains B vitamins

A slice of pumpernickel contains a number of B vitamins essential to your health. B vitamins are important for energy production as well as brain function and mental health. This bread contains B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and folate.

#3 Might help reduce blood sugar levels

There is some scientific evidence that suggests rye bread, like pumpernickel, could actually play a role in blood glucose management. This is a great choice for anyone on a diabetes-friendly diet.


Which bread is best for people with diabetes?

The best bread for people with diabetes is usually made with whole-grain flour, like rye, and contains lots of grams of fiber per 100g. People with diabetes should avoid refined and processed white loaves.

Does pumpernickel bread have a lot of sugar?

Per 100g, pumpernickel has 0.53g of sugar and 47.5g of carbs. This makes it relatively high in carbs but low in sugar.

Which is better for people with diabetes: pumpernickel or rye bread?

Both rye bread and pumpernickel loaves are good for those with diabetes. It could be suggested that a pumpernickel slice is slightly better because it has a slightly lower carb content and glycemic index.

A Word From Our MD

For those with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends you eat a diet low in processed and refined foods and increase the number of vegetables and whole grains you eat. It is also suggested that you reduce carb intake and focus on foods with a low glycemic index.

There are many different ways to manage diabetes, and speaking to your doctor is the best way to set out a plan for your condition. While many people find that an alteration in diet can work, it is important not to rely solely on one “miracle” diabetes remedy. While a slice of pumpernickel may be an excellent bread choice, it cannot be relied upon to manage your diabetes alone.

When choosing the best slice for your sandwich as a person with diabetes, you should look to the nutrition label. Look out for whole-wheat flour, lots of fiber, and other micronutrients. When it comes to what you eat as a person with diabetes, you want to aim for nourishment as well as fuel.

A slice of pumpernickel offers lots of fiber, B vitamins, and other minerals essential for health. It also has a low glycemic index and can keep you fuller for longer, making it an excellent choice for a person with diabetes.


Rye bread, like pumpernickel, is a good choice for people with diabetes. It has a low glycemic index and lots of fiber and should not cause a spike in blood glucose levels. As with all carbs, people with diabetes should still keep track of their intake, even if their food choice is recommended for those who have diabetes.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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  1. user
    Pete Ventura
    27 Jun, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    According to The Rye Baker author Stanley Ginsberg, German law states Pumpernickel must be made of rye, flour, salt …nothing more. Real Pumpernickel does not use any starter or molasses to darken it. It gets dark to some enzyme action I believe he said. So, my question is, what kind of Pumpernickel are the researchers using and how does real pumpernickel affect the sugar spike?

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