A life without carbs is one that’s hard to imagine — especially if you’re a bread lover like me, always reaching for another slice. Luckily, in recent years we’ve learned that bread is not the enemy, as long as you’re opting for the brown variety. Wheat has long been the go-to alternative to white bread, but we’ve learned there’s an even healthier option that reigns supreme. Research reveals that rye-based foods, including bread, are a better choice for weight loss than those made with refined wheat.
A 2021 study published in Clinical Nutrition looked at the positive effects for weight loss that came with consuming a diet rich in rye compared to wheat products. “Our hypothesis was that people who consume high-fiber rye (whole grain rye) instead of refined wheat (same calorie amount) would feel more full and therefore in the long run would find it easier to be on a hypocaloric diet [also referred to as a low-calorie diet],” study co-author, Rikard Landberg, tells Woman’s World.
This 12-week study included 242 obese men and women in Sweden between the ages of 30 and 70. They randomized participants into groups that consumed either 30 grams of rye a day through foods like bread, breakfast cereal, and crackers, or 8 grams of those same kinds of fiber-rich foods — except in the refined wheat variety — each day.
Landberg notes that they compared a high fiber rye diet to a low fiber refined wheat diet to test the weight loss effectiveness of Sweden’s national dietary recommendations, which encourage everyone to eat whole grain foods instead of refined versions. Participants remained on a low-calorie diet throughout the study period. Researchers measured their body weight and composition at weeks zero, six, and 12 along with collecting fasting blood samples.
They found that both groups experienced weight loss, with the fiber group losing 3.9 kg (about 8.6 pounds) and those who consumed wheat losing 2.8 kg (about 6.2 pounds). Landberg notes that this might sound like a small difference, but the fiber group losing 1.08 kg (roughly 2.4 pounds) and 0.54 percent more body fat is quite significant. He points out that losing even a few pounds can have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and other risk factors of heart disease and type 2 diabetes due to loss of fat around the organs.
While there were no differences found for rye or wheat being the better option to keep the participants fuller longer, they ultimately concluded that rye-based foods are the clear winner out of the two. “As we continue to look for the exact reasons why [whole grain rye is good for weight loss], our advice is to choose the rye bread instead of the sifted wheat bread,” study co-author, Kia Nøhr Iversen, said in a statement.
During your next trip to the store, pick up a loaf of rye bread to slice up and enjoy topped with a few slices of avocado for a healthy and yummy breakfast. If you’re on-the-go, keep a plastic bag of rye crackers (Buy on Amazon, $6.21) to snack on and curb cravings. Also, check to see if there’s a rye-based cereal like Kashi GO Peanut Butter Crunch Breakfast Cereal (Buy at Walmart, $4.98) to swap with your regular flakes.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to add more rye into your diet. Plus, it really pays off in the long run by keeping excess body fat under control!
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