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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Rye Bread Good for Diabetes? Facts You Should Know

Is Rye Bread Good for Diabetes? Facts You Should Know

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
5 min read 1541 Views 0 Comments
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Trying new products for your diet can be challenging, especially if you don’t know which food triggers high blood sugar levels. Rye bread might be a good option for a high-density snack, but is it really suitable for diabetes? Find out more about this product in our detailed guide.

Is rye bread good for diabetes

Not every food is good for maintaining normal blood sugar content. 

You might have learned that the hard way, but there are still meals you can have that actually reduce glucose in your bloodstream. Bread seems like a scary product to have due to its high-carb count. However, what if it supports strong blood sugar control? 

Rye bread is a specific type of bread that uses both rye flour and grains. This dark, dense loaf has a number of properties that help with glucose regulation. Although it might not be suitable to eat every day, you can still snack on rye bread when you feel faint or slightly sick.

So, should this food be a part of your diabetes diet?

Is Rye Bread Good for Diabetes?

Yes, rye bread can be good for managing blood sugar in your body. Rye flour contains less gluten, meaning it doesn’t disrupt glucose levels. People with type 2 diabetes should still limit this type of bread, as too much of it might trigger unwanted side effects.

A diabetes diet means eating the healthiest foods to regulate blood sugar levels. You need a nutrient-dense meal plan that is low in fats, sugar, and calories. This bread doesn’t contain many of these, making it a great alternative to white and normal wheat bread.

Eating rye bread every now and then might support blood sugar control due to the high amount of soluble fiber. This mineral slows down the digestion of carbs, leading to a steady change in blood sugar. Just make sure it’s a dark rye bread that contains whole grains.

Some people also try whole-grain rye crisps to reduce their appetite. Rye grains usually have lots of dietary fiber that can slow the release of sugar after meals. Pumpernickel bread is another good snack option, as it has a low GI score (45) and is made with dark rye flour.

However, even though rye flour is better than wheat flour, it can still cause insulin spikes. The GI score is just above 55, so it might not fit into your everyday diet. You can still eat this food in moderation if you pair it with foods like leafy greens, avocados, and chopped-up salmon.

If you want to eat rye bread in small amounts, try making a homemade loaf of it fresh from the oven. Baking your own dark rye dough ensures there are no preservatives. You can eat it knowing there aren’t any extra net carbs to raise blood glucose levels.

Rye Bread Nutritional Value

Rye bread has plenty of important nutrients that can benefit your overall health. Magnesium and selenium, two common chemical elements, can improve food absorption in the gut. There are lots of other vitamins that protect your red blood cells and make you feel healthy again. 

Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of regular rye bread per 100g

Rye Bread
is rye bread keto
Not Keto Friendly
Key nutritional facts (per 100g):
Net carbs
Total carbs
Glycemic Index

Darker rye bread has a small amount of fat and sugar, making them suitable for a diabetes diet. 5.8g of fiber can help with glucose control and weight management. If you do want to lose weight, try to limit rye bread and go for a long run to improve insulin sensitivity.

There is also a common myth that people with diabetes should limit their protein intake, but that’s not entirely true. Protein is important for your muscles, organs, and nervous system. You need at least 50g of this nutrient a day to keep your body functioning properly. 

8.5g of protein can actually help manage sugar levels in your bloodstream. Choosing rye bread over common whole-grain bread may fill your diabetes diet with plenty of protein. This nutrient is also great for weight loss, so try to make your own protein shakes at home. 

Rye Bread Glycemic Index

Rye bread has a glycemic index of between 56–69, depending on the brand and how it was made. Products with a higher GI score aren’t suitable for those with type 2 diabetes. Aim to eat foods that score 55 or lower, as they won’t raise your blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index is a system that ranks food from 1 to 100 based on its ability to increase blood sugar. Products scoring over 55 usually don’t fit into a diabetes diet and should only be eaten in small amounts. Rye bread is a perfect example of something you must eat in moderation.

If you end up eating too much bread, it could lead to hyperglycemia. You might experience symptoms like increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain. The best way to avoid this is by checking the GI of each product, especially ones with high-carb content.

Does rye bread increase insulin levels?

Eating too much bread can definitely increase your insulin levels. This is due to the moderately high GI score, meaning you shouldn’t eat this on an everyday diet. Bread is rapidly digested by the body and causes extensive fluctuations in insulin production. 

Carbohydrates have a tendency to trigger insulin spikes after food consumption. Your blood sugar quickly rises, leading to temporary high blood glucose levels. People with diabetes may not have steady blood levels until they drink lots of water or change their diet accordingly.

Whole-grain rye bread is probably the best type of bread to eat for diabetes. It releases less insulin than other forms of common bread (classic white and brioche). Anything containing whole grains can regulate insulin production due to the high amount of various micronutrients.

How Does Bread Affect People With Diabetes?

Bread usually has a high amount of refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sugar that can increase blood cholesterol levels. This will then lead to insulin resistance – a state in which your body doesn’t respond well to insulin and can’t use glucose for energy. 

White bread or normal whole-grain bread might not appeal to those with diabetes. The greater carb content can lead to weight gain due to the lack of micronutrients. Not all types of bread are unhealthy, but they may contribute to type 2 diabetes worsening symptoms.

High GI foods can also raise blood glucose too quickly, leading to side effects like headaches, rapid heartbeat, vision problems, severe constipation, and fatigue. It’s better to choose rye grains over common wheat flour, as these won’t disturb glucose levels too much. 

Some people might follow the keto diet food list to avoid high-carb foods affecting them. This diet involves eating low-carb and high-fat foods that encourage the body to burn fat for energy. People with diabetes can enjoy keto without worrying about a negative glucose response.

How Much Bread Can a Person With Diabetes Eat per Day?

You should only eat around two medium slices per day to avoid high blood glucose levels. This amount should be enough to reach your protein and dietary fiber intake. Just make sure to consume rye bread containing whole grains instead of white rye flour. 

Rye bread or pumpernickel rye bread are good options to eat. White bread is something you definitely need to avoid when managing diabetes. Bread that has a lower glycemic index can be eaten once a day, as long as it is made with sourdough starter and ground rye.

If you consume more than two slices, your digestive tract won’t break down carbs properly. This can trigger a range of diabetes-related problems. Some people might experience stomach pain, and others could feel faint. Just make sure to limit how much rye bread you have every day.

Always choose bread that has a low glycemic index and try to follow a gluten-free diet. Gluten may be the secret ingredient that raises blood sugar levels. You can even eat one slice of rye bread per day to avoid potential side effects of increased glucose and insulin production.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Rye bread is much better than white bread or wheat bread containing lots of wheat flour.

Many types of rye have fewer calories, fat, and sugar that disrupt diabetes management. There is also some evidence that white bread can increase the risk of celiac disease in type 1 diabetes. It’s worth choosing whole rye grains for the amazing health benefits.

You can try the ketogenic diet to avoid gluten-based products. You won’t be able to eat rye bread or pumpernickel bread, but that can save you from experiencing high blood glucose. Eating low-carb foods on this type of diet will limit any heart disease risk factors.

Just remember that whole-wheat bread can still damage your digestive health. Try to eat darker rye bread or products with no refined grains. Rye bread that has a sour, earthy taste is much better for your health and can remove cholesterol-rich bile from your stomach.

High-fiber bread is the best option for your diabetes diet. You can talk to a dietitian about what products to consume and how you can avoid whole-wheat bread. They might also suggest ways to support better blood sugar control when incorporating more rye flour into your meals.

Some people prefer to make their own plain rye bread using whole-wheat flour. The same goes for sourdough bread or anything that doesn’t contain lots of gluten. You’ll gain better health benefits by using your own diabetes-friendly ingredients.


So, is rye bread suitable for those with diabetes?

Rye bread is much better than other bread on the market as it contains fewer refined carbs, fats, and processed sugars that trigger high blood glucose. You can choose rye instead of regular wheat bread, especially if you want to avoid gluten-based products in your diabetes diet.

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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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 8, 2023
5 min read 1541 Views 0 Comments

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