- Best and Worst Breads for People With Type 2 Diabetes
- Read Nutrition Labels – Carefully
- Healthiest Breads You Can Buy
- Breads to Avoid
- Do’s and Don’ts: A Recap
- Bread and diabetes
- White bread, tiger bread, pumpernickel bread, granary bread, flat bread, seeded and pitta bread
- Sourdough, rye and soda bread
- Garlic and ciabatta bread
- Naan and chapatti
- What’s the best bread for people with diabetes?
- Bürgen® Wholemeal & Seeds Bread
- Sonya’s Story
- Breads with high fibers
- Understanding carbs and glycemic index
- Bread in America
- Glycemic index
- Having a meal plan in place
- Counting Carbohydrates
- Exchange lists
- Grocery shopping for bread
- Make your own bread
- Brotchen Roll recipe
- What about a wheat-free bread recipe?
- Over to you
- Are Grains & Flour Really Good For Fiber?
- Changing A Grain Into A Flour Changes The Way It Affects Blood Sugar
- Whole Grain Flours Are A Better Option
- Using These Flours Is Even Better
- Your Choice Of Flour Can Cut Carbs In An Instant
- Flours By Total Carb Content
- Flours List By Net Carb Content
- Flours By Glycemic Index
- Are grains and flour really good for fiber?
- What changes when a grain is converted into flour and does it affect the blood sugar differently?
- Whole grain flours are a better option
- Better flours to use as a diabetic
- Low-Carb Flour for the Diabetics
- Flours by their Glycemic Index
- Key things to have in mind
- Is Rye Bread Healthy?
- What is Rye Bread?
- Rye Bread Nutrition Facts
- Comparing Rye Bread to Other Breads
- Debunking the “Whole Grain” Myth
- Research on Rye Bread and Diabetes
- The health benefits of rye bread – 5 reasons to switch
Best and Worst Breads for People With Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, at some point someone has probably looked disapprovingly at your toast and told you, “You can’t eat that.” Ignoring for a moment the audacity of this know-it-all, most of the time the remark is simply untrue.
Contrary to popular belief, people with type 2 diabetes can, in fact, eat bread — the right kinds, in moderation. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) puts it this way: “Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is key. Breads, cereals, pasta, rice (whole-grain options are better), and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas, and corn can be included in your meals and snacks.”
If you’ve been nervously avoiding the bread aisle at the supermarket until now, fear not. Once you get label-savvy, you’ll be able to find the healthiest, most satisfying bread for you.
RELATED: 11 Vitamin-Packed Superfoods for People With Type 2 Diabetes
Read Nutrition Labels – Carefully
According to Susan Weiner, RD, CDE, co-author of The Complete Diabetes Organizer and Diabetes: 365 Tips for Living Well, reading the nutrition labels on packaged bread is essential, for several reasons.
- Fiber. Weiner strongly encourages people with diabetes to choose a high-fiber bread, with at least three grams of fiber per slice. “Aim for a whole-grain bread with ingredients like oats, quinoa, or bran,” she says. “They may contain a good portion of fiber, which will improve glycemic response.”
- Carb and calories counts. If you’re making a sandwich with two slices of bread, choose a variety that has no more than 15 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories per slice. If the bread is higher in carbs and calories, use just one slice for an open-faced sandwich (a romaine-lettuce leaf or another vegetable can double as the top “slice”).
- Whole grain versus white flour. Maria Rodriguez, RD, CDE, program director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Alliance in New York City, says you can tell if any packaged loaf is 100-percent whole grain by looking at the ingredient list: “The first ingredient will say ‘whole.’ You can also look for the whole-grain stamp.”
RELATED: 10 Ways to Better Control Blood Sugar After Eating
Healthiest Breads You Can Buy
Whole-grain breads are ideal for anyone monitoring calories and carbohydrates. If you’re unenthusiastic about the usual versions, you’ve got plenty of other choices:
- Spelt, flaxseed, chia-seed, and almond-flour breads. These can deliver lots of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. But be sure to check labels: These loaves may also be higher in calories. If a slice contains more than 100 calories, have one instead of two.
- Whole-grain wraps and tortillas. Look for wraps that are 100-percent whole-wheat, whole-corn, whole-rice, or lower-carb (many contain non-GMO ingredients), or try a lower-carb, high-fiber tortilla: “It may have half the carbohydrates and twice the fiber of a typical slice of bread,” Weiner says. (Just pay attention to calories per serving, since wraps and tortillas tend to be large.) Fill with scrambled eggs for breakfast, or lean protein and vegetables for lunch.
- Organic whole-grain breads. Many companies are now turning organic ingredients into delicious and nutritious loaves. Some are sliced especially thin so they’re lower in carbohydrates per serving.
- Sprouted bread. Ezekiel bread and the like can be great for people with diabetes. Instead of flour, these breads are made with whole grains that have begun to sprout and so have a lower glycemic response, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.
- Traditional pumpernickel bread. Made with rye flour (and sometimes some wheat flour) and fermented with sourdough starter, pumpernickel can have a lower glycemic index. Avoid loaves containing molasses (used for coloring), which will increase the carbohydrate and sugar content.
- Gluten-free corn and rice tortillas and breads. While these gluten-free choices aren’t always made with 100-percent whole grain, they’re ideal for people who have both diabetes and celiac disease.
Breads to Avoid
The worst breads for someone with diabetes are made with refined carbohydrates, such as white flour. Processing grains to make white flour softens the texture, but it also strips away fiber, vitamins, and minerals and results in a higher glycemic index, according to the ADA.
Manufactures will often add back vitamins and minerals that were lost during processing, but that won’t increase the fiber content (unless they add that back, too). Understanding how to read labels will help you avoid breads that contain enriched wheat flour.
Other types of breads to avoid are those that list sweeteners — such as sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, or molasses — among the first ingredients.
Lastly, avoid breads that contain raisins or other dried fruit, as these are higher in carbohydrates.
RELATED: 5 Reasons to Skip White Bread for Good
Do’s and Don’ts: A Recap
- Choose whole grain varieties — the first ingredient on the label should be “whole.” Examples include whole wheat, whole oat, and whole rye.
- Look for bread that contains at least three grams of fiber per slice.
- If you’re using two slices of bread to make a sandwich, make sure each slice has less than 100 calories. If your bread contains more than 100 calories per slice, use it for open-faced sandwiches, with just one slice.
- Consider low-carbohydrate tortillas or pumpernickel, which can help reduce glycemic response.
- Pair bread or low-carbohydrate tortillas with protein to reduce postprandial (after-meal) blood sugars and make you feel more full. Try nut butter, chopped egg, or sliced chicken with vegetables.
- Don’t opt for white bread or other choices made with white flour, such as wraps, bagels, rolls, or Italian bread.
- Don’t be fooled by labels that say “multi-grain” or “seven grain.” If the first ingredient on the nutrition label doesn’t say “whole,” it’s not a whole-grain bread.
- Don’t eat bread by itself without protein, as this can cause blood sugars to spike.
Bread and diabetes
Gone are the days when all you can find in your supermarket is white, ready-sliced bread. There are so many different types of breads available now, so your choice really is only limited by your imagination. And, if you’ve got diabetes, you may also want to think about other factors, such as carbohydrate content and how much fat and how many calories are in the bread you’re eating.
Bread is a source ofcarbohydrate. During digestion, carbohydrate is broken down into glucose, which is used by the cells of the body as their main source of energy. There are two types of carbohydrate: starchy carbohydrates and sugars. Bread falls into the starchy carbohydrate category. All carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrate requirements vary between individuals and depend on age, gender, weight and physical activity. TheReference Intake (RI)of carbohydrate is 230g for women and 300g for men. These figures are just a guide and are based on the requirements of an average woman and man. Depending on your nutritional goals, you may require less.
Most supermarkets and local markets contain different types of bread. Here’s what you need to know next time you’re choosing a loaf.
White bread, tiger bread, pumpernickel bread, granary bread, flat bread, seeded and pitta bread
- lean chicken, ham, turkey or beef plus chopped tomatoes, grated carrot and cucumber
- egg and cress, with a little reduced-fat mayo and black pepper
- cottage cheese mixed with salsa and sweetcorn
- reduced-fat cheddar with grated carrot and sultanas
- Tabasco sauce, horseradish, mustard and chili sauce for a real fiery kick in jazzed-up sandwiches.
- White: 79Kcal – 16.6g carbs – 0.6g fat
- Tiger: 97Kcal – 17g carbs – 0.83g fat
- Granary: 85Kcal – 17g carbs – 0.8g fat
- Pumpernickel: 76Kcal – 14.5g carbs – 0.5g fat
- Pitta: 244Kcal – 18.5g carbs – 1.2g fat
- Seeded: 174Kcal – 29.6g carbs – 4.8g fat
- Bagel: 230Kcal – 44g carbs – 1.2g fat
Sourdough, rye and soda bread
Great served with turkey, chicken or Swiss cheese with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and reduced-fat mayo. Or, try smoked salmon and reduced-fat cream cheese.
- Sourdough: 79Kcal – 15.7g carbs – 0.2g fat
- Soda bread: 104Kcal – 21.9g carbs – 0.96g fat
- Rye bread: 55Kcal – 11.5g carbs – 0.4g fat
Serve warm with jam or pure fruit spread for an indulgent treat.
- Brioche: 167Kcal – 23.3g carbs – 6.3g fat
Garlic and ciabatta bread
Serve with your favourite Italian dishes, and try to buy ready sliced so you can control your portion sizes and freeze the rest. This way, you won’t be too tempted to polish off the whole loaf. Look out for reduced-fat garlic bread, but bear in mind it’s still fairly high in fat and calories.
- Garlic bread: 71Kcal – 9.4g carbs – 3g fat
- Reduced-fat garlic bread: 54Kcal – 8.98g carbs – 1.2g fat
- Ciabatta: 75Kcal – 12.4g carbs – 1.4g fat
Naan and chapatti
Serve with vegetable and meat curries. Try to avoid adding extra butter, margarine or ghee.
- Chapatti made without fat: 111Kcal – 24g carbs – 0.55g fat
- Chapatti made with fat: 197Kcal – 13.9g carbs – 7.7g fat
- Naan: 474Kcal – 79g carbs – 10g fat
Since the day I learned that carbohydrates were the culprit for raising blood sugar, I have been trying to find a way to keep eating them. The reason? I love carbohydrates.
There are diets that have little or no bread, fruits, or vegetables, and some people with diabetes use them. It would be simple to eliminate most carbs from your life and live on protein and fats. But I will not do it.
Keeping carbohydrates in my eating plan is a challenge, but it is worth it to me. The thought of living without them makes the future seem gray and empty. Carbs add color to my life.
Since I made this decision, I have been looking for the best carbs. There is plenty of advice for people with diabetes, as well as people who just want to lose weight, about which carbohydrates to eat. So why have I found this so difficult?
One problem is that the glycemic index, which ranks foods according to their impact on blood sugar, is not absolute.
What fuels the changes in advice? For one thing, research has uncovered the vital importance of fiber, its impact on carbohydrate digestion, and the amazing way it helps control blood sugar. The big news today is that vegetable fiber encourages the growth of good bacteria.
Where do we find all of this wonderful fiber? It comes from carbohydrates. Hurrah!
Another problem with deciding what to eat is conflicting information. The American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association often agree on what is best, targeting calories as an important area of focus. Needless to say, they both advise that we limit high-calorie carbohydrates like desserts. But they encourage including wheat in your diet.
Whole wheat is best, they say. But trying to find a good whole wheat bread turns out to be tricky, since bread labels can be confusing. A dismaying number of breads that look like whole wheat are actually white bread with some whole grain added, sometimes very little.
There is a growing movement among the diabetes community of people who are cutting out wheat products, including even whole wheat. They report that this works well for them, helping them lose weight and control blood sugar (these reports are what doctors and other experts call anecdotal evidence).
All right, I thought, how could I do this? To eliminate wheat and still continue using whole grains, I need other options. Happily, there are many.
Old-fashioned pumpernickel bread is made from whole rye grain. But you have to read labels and make sure the bread you’re considering purchasing is not simply wheat with some rye added along with molasses to make it dark.
Spelt bread can be found in health-food stores. Spelt is an older grain very similar to modern wheat, but different in some important ways that make it an interesting alternative. Research suggests that this grain is slowly digested, which helps keep its glycemic index low.
Other whole-grain options for home cooking include flaxseed, chia seed, soy flour, and almond flour. I found every one of these flours in the cooking aisle at Walmart, not at a specialty or health-food store. This is tangible proof of just how popular the movement away from wheat flour has become.
A surprising fact I stumbled across when researching the best bread for a diabetic diet was the benefits of sourdough. During the fermentation of this type of bread, acetic acid is produced. Most of us with diabetes know the benefits of acetic acid, the main ingredient in vinegar, for lowering blood sugar.
This is the reason pumpernickel bread is one of the better choices for a diabetes diet. Genuine pumpernickel uses a sourdough starter. Of course, this means you must read labels. The best place to find real sourdough pumpernickel is among the artisan breads at the grocery store, not in the bread aisle.
The bottom line
To my infinite relief, I have found a way to keep carbohydrates in my Type 2 diabetes eating plan. The secret has always been making sure there is plenty of fiber in the carbs I choose to eat.
I look for whole grains instead of refined, raw fruits instead of juices, and highly colored vegetables. These simple rules, if I follow them, make blood sugar control easier for me. And yes, I still eat bread.
How do you feel about carbohydrates? Have you had similar struggles? I would like to know how you handled them.
Should a low-carbohydrate diet be prescribed as the first treatment for Type 2 diabetes? Bookmark DiabetesSelfManagement.com and tune in tomorrow to read nurse David Spero’s exploration of recent research.
What’s the best bread for people with diabetes?
Most commercially-available breads contain refined, white flour. This contains no fiber, and it can cause blood sugar to rise.
Even “wheat bread” may be made with refined wheat and not whole grain.
Some brands that identify their bread as “seven grain” or “nine grain” only use those grains on the crust, while most of the bread still consists of refined white flour.
Being aware of the packaging and labeling of breads can help people with diabetes choose a suitable product.
Here are four types of breads that may be healthier options for diabetes control:
Fiber-enriched whole-grain bread
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It keeps bowels regular and helps to promote a feeling of fullness. Fiber can also help control blood sugar.
Studies have shown that soluble fiber can slow the rate of digestion and reduce the rise in blood sugar after eating.
This is why fiber is said to lower the GI score of a food.
Adding soluble fiber to breads may help a person manage blood sugar.
However, fiber-enriched whole-grain breads are still relatively high in carbohydrates, so it is important to eat them in moderation.
A person should also consume breads alongside a regime of exercise and other healthful life choices.
Multi-grain sandwich bread
A multi-grain bread is high in carbohydrates but it tends to contain whole, unrefined grains that are high in naturally occurring fiber. This can help lessen the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar.
When choosing whole-grain bread, people should find one that includes ingredients such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, whole-grain wheat, brown rice, bran, and barley.
Whole grains have a lower GI score than wheat flour, and many grains contain other nutrients, such as zinc, vitamin E, and protein.
Tortillas can provide a tasty, versatile, and sometimes healthier choice for sandwiches.
Manufacturers are increasingly providing a wider range of low-carbohydrate tortillas to appeal to health-conscious consumers.
Many of these low-carbohydrate tortillas have added fiber to reduce the carbohydrate count. Some tortillas contain low-carbohydrate ingredients, such as whey and soy protein powders.
People can use low-carbohydrate tortillas as they would use bread, wrapping their favorite sandwich ingredients in the tortilla. You can also use tortillas for mini pizzas, homemade burritos, and tacos.
Perhaps the best choice for diabetes-friendly bread is one that contains no flour or grains.
Flourless sprouted-grain breads are available, and they are a good source of fiber. However, they are still rich in carbohydrates.
Specialty health food stores may sell grain-free breads made with ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal. Check the nutrition facts however, since they may also be higher in calories.
Many recipes for making grain-free bread are available on the Internet.
A search term like “grain-free bread recipe” will bring up some low-carbohydrate bread recipes.
These breads tend to be more expensive to make and often yield a smaller amount compared with traditional bread recipes.
Bürgen® Wholemeal & Seeds Bread
- About GI
- What is the GI?
- How is GI Measured?
- What affects the GI value?
- Why follow a Low GI Diet?
- What about Glycemic Load?
- What is the Food Insulin Index?
- Top Tips to Go Low GI
- GI Symbol
- What is the GI Symbol Program?
- GI and Health Claims
- The Low GI Recipe Symbol
- GI Symbol Products
- Main Meal Carbohydrates
- Bread & Wraps
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Dairy & Dessert
- Meal Replacements
- Nutritional Support
- Food Service
- What is GiLICIOUS™?
- Why we need carbs
- About GiLICIOUS™ potatoes
- Diabetes Explained
- Better Blood Glucose Management
- Tips to control your blood glucose levels
- A healthy eating checklist & guide to carb exchanges
- Meal Plans for Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
- What About Sugar?
- Recipe Guidelines
- Tips to Eating Out
- Healthy Weight Matters
- Tips for Long-Term Waist Loss
- CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet
- Side Dishes
- Low GI Everyday Meal Plan
- Swap It
- About Glycemic Index Foundation
- About GI Foundation
- Research Activities
- Position Statements
- GI Testing & Laboratories
- GI Symbol Program
- Healthcare Professionals
- The Science of GI
- GI & Diabetes
- GI & Heart Disease
- GI & Weight Management
- GI & Sustained Energy
- GI & Pregnancy
- Emerging Science
- International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium
- Low Carbohydrate Diets
- GI and Sugar
- GI and Health Claims
- GI and Health Star Rating
- The Science of GI
- Top Tips to Go Low GI
- Explaining Carbohydrates
- Starches and Sugars
- Reading Food Labels
- Low Carbohydrate Diets
- Carbohydrates in Sport
- Fact Sheets
- Meal Plans
- Useful Links
- GI Database of Foods
- GI News
- About Glycemic Index Foundation
The smell of a freshly baked bread, or the sight of bread, is enough to send your senses reeling. Though people with diabetes should eat bread in moderation, sometimes it can be easy to get carried away. After all, bread is one of the most popular foods all over the globe.
Just because you have diabetes, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on all the great bread that life has to offer. In order to be able to eat bread if you have diabetes, there are a few things that you will need to know.
Sonya sat across from me. She looked defeated. She hung her head low.
“I don’t know how I’ll ever give up bread,” she said. “It’s my favorite food. Now that I have Type 2 Diabetes, I know I can’t eat bread, rice, or pasta.”
“You can have bread, rice, and pasta in small amounts. I can teach you which kind of breads are best for you, so that you can get some of your favorite food,” I said.
“That would be great,” said Sonya. “Wow, I feel a lot better! When can I come to class and learn about this?”
“You can come tomorrow,” I said.
“I’ll find you some bread recipes that you can make at home with diabetes-friendly ingredients, so that the bread you do eat is healthier. It will also be lower in carbohydrates than some other breads, and the carbohydrates will be good carbohydrates.”
Sonya came to class where she learnt valuable information about making diabetes-friendly breads. Now she makes them for herself, and a few other friends with diabetes that she happened to have met in her diabetes classes.
Breads with high fibers
Breads that are whole grain, and high in fiber, such as oats or bran, are the best type of bread for people with diabetes to eat.
While you can have a serving or two of bread, you still need to stay within the appropriate amount of carbohydrates for your meal. You can even make your own bread by adding the ingredients to your favorite bread recipe, and enjoy healthier bread at home.
Healthier bread ingredients
If you are a bread baker, like my husband, then you may even have a whole book of bread recipes. You don’t need to go out and get a new recipe book. You can just swap out ingredients. Go find your old bread recipe book, and your favorite recipe, and let’s get busy swapping out the refined grains for the whole grains.
You want your bread ingredients to be high in protein, high in “good” fats, and high in fiber. This can reduce the amount that the bread will increase your blood sugar, and the rate at which it does so. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that you replace white and refined flours with 100% whole wheat flour.
Once you have found your recipe, first swap out white refined flour for whole grain flour (stoneground is best), then swap out one fourth of the whole grain flour for a flour such as almond flour, or flaxseed meal. This will give you protein in your bread, which will further keep your sugar steady.
After you start baking healthy bread, you will find hundreds of recipes where you can mix and match healthy grains in order to come up with an extremely palatable option for diabetes.
Why high fiber?
High fiber foods will help carbohydrates to be digested and absorbed into your blood stream at a lower rate, avoiding spikes in blood sugars. Where can you get enough fiber in your diet? You guessed it, from carbohydrates. Vegetable fiber is also responsible for planting some good bacteria in your gut, which aids in digestive health.
Whole wheat is best according to the experts when you are talking about healthy bread. But lately there are people with diabetes who want to avoid wheat all together. How can you eliminate wheat, and still get your whole grains and fiber? You can do that by using high fiber flours and meals, made from nuts and seeds.
Some high fiber ingredients that will keep your blood sugar from spiking rapidly, and keep it steadier over time, are:
- Flaxseed meal
- Chia seeds
- Wheat bran
- Almond flour
- Soy flour
- Corn meal
- Chickpea flour
- Coconut flour
- Multi-grain bread
Multi-grain bread is still whole grain bread, just from a variety of grains. It is loaded in fiber, and protein when seeds are added in the mix.
Grain free bread would be made from something such as almond flour. This kind of bread would be healthy for diabetes, and has started to get very popular among those that are going gluten free, or who prefer to eat no wheat.
You will find spelt bread in health food stores. It’s similar to wheat. This is one of the lowest glycemic index breads, and it will definitely give you more fiber, and keep your blood sugars steady over time.
Sour dough is very tasty, and actually good for you. Acetic acid is produced during the fermenting process of this bread. Acetic acid is the main ingredient in vinegar, which helps lower blood sugar. This produces some good gut bacteria that aids in digestion, which then helps with regulation of blood sugars by slowing the rate at which carbohydrates are digested.
Pumpernickel bread is made from whole grain rye. Check labels to make sure it’s whole wheat rye, and not a mix of wheat and a little bit of rye, along with some caramel coloring. Labels can be tricky these days, so it’s good to know your way around a food label.
Pumpernickel uses sourdough as a starter, and it’s one of the healthiest breads for diabetes. Look in the bakery section, where the artisan breads are kept, and you can find some real pumpernickel bread. The glycemic index of rye pumpernickel is low at 41-46. It has an unusual flavor though, and it may take some time getting used to.
Stoneground wheat and whole wheat – what’s the difference?
Wholegrain bread provides loads of fiber, and it’s low in fat versus other white breads. If you want to control blood sugars better, and spikes after meals, try the stoneground variety. Whole grain has a glycemic index of 56-69, in the medium range. Stoneground wheat is not as grainy tasting, and it scores a 55 on the glycemic index, making it a better choice for diabetes.
Understanding carbs and glycemic index
Our body needs carbohydrates to remain healthy, because they contain needed nutrients. However, they raise blood sugar, which we know presents a problem for people with diabetes. Often the sugar in refined grains and white breads raises blood sugar quickly. So how can we be sure that we eat the right portion of the right kind of bread if we have diabetes?
It’s not necessary to give up the carbohydrates in bread altogether. If you enjoy bread, understanding your portion size, and understanding what ingredients make it healthier, make it easier to add to your diet.
Bread in America
Bread in the US is highly refined and processed with added sugars compared to breads in Europe. We recently visited Germany, and the bread there is so delicious. It’s not sweet, like breads here in the US. Adding sugar to breads, and using processed and refined white flour makes bread a hazard for people with diabetes.
Learning to choose or bake bread with high fiber, whole grain products with no added sugar, will keep bread a part of your meal plan.
One way to get the right bread is to choose your foods carefully, and pick breads and other foods that contain low glycemic index foods, or medium glycemic index foods. You will want to stay away from those foods that have a high glycemic index.
What foods have a high glycemic index? White breads and refined grains are high up the glycemic index. That means that it can cause blood sugar to go up more than lower glycemic foods.
A food can be classified as low, medium, or high on the glycemic index scale. You can improve the glycemic index of bread with a little switching around of the ingredients when you make your own bread at home.
Some of the foods that are on the low glycemic index list are:
- Vegetables that are green in color
- Seeds and nuts
- Small berries
Medium glycemic index foods are:
- Almost all fruits
- Whole grain products
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat
High glycemic index foods are:
- Refined grains
- White bread
- Potatoes (white)
Switching white, refined flour for whole wheat flour is one way to reduce the glycemic index of bread. Processed foods will raise your blood sugar faster than unprocessed foods. You may find some homemade varieties at farmer’s markets that are healthier, simply because they are not processed. Often merchants have the nutritional information available for their recipes.
If you are in the grocery store, try some of the breads in our recommended list below. If you find a bread that is not on the list, make sure to read your nutritional facts label.
Once you have shopped for healthy bread, or baked your own, spread healthy fats on your breads instead of mayonnaise or sugary spreads. Avocado, flaxseed or olive oil can be brushed on your bread to give you some “good” cholesterol in your diet.
Your goal is to find bread with the least amount of added sugars. Look at the nutrition label for total carbohydrates to equal sugars. This means that all of the sugars in the bread are natural sugars, coming from the whole wheat, and that no sugar has been added to the product.
If the ingredient list is short, that’s a good sign. If there are words in there that you do not understand on the label, then it’s highly processed. Seeing a Registered Dietician to create a meal plan may help you to get on track.
Having a meal plan in place
Having a plan makes the difference between having healthy bread or not. You can’t pick up healthy bread from the convenience store, so a little planning is in order. If you are going to bake your own bread, then you will need to make a list, and shop for the ingredients.
Meal planning table – nutritional information for meals and flours
Below, there is a table for all of the flours and meals that you can use in bread, along with the nutritional information. If you want to try breads made with ingredients, such as flaxseed meal, then this chart should help you to decide which ones you want to try.
In the chart above, everything above the coconut flour continues up the carbohydrate scale to above 30 grams of carbohydrates. That is too high for the carbohydrate content of your bread, so stay with coconut flour and below.
Many people with diabetes prefer to count carbohydrates to fine tune blood sugars better. A slice of bread in general will have 10-20 grams of carbohydrates per serving. If you are eating 30-45 carbohydrates per meal, you can see how it is easy to incorporate some bread servings into your diet, especially lower carbohydrate, higher fiber versions.
Meal planning the plate method way
If you don’t want to count carbohydrates, then you can use the plate method. You should start with a 9 inch plate, and be sure to measure your plate. Then divide it in half, and load half of your plate up with non-starchy vegetables.
For the other half of the plate, divide it in half. Place a 4-6 ounce serving of protein on one section of the plate, and a slice of your new healthier bread for diabetes on the other fourth of the plate. On the side, choose a low fat dairy product, and a serving of fresh or frozen fruit.
The plate method helps to make sure that you are getting the right amount of carbohydrates during your meal, and that foods from all food groups are included.
Exchange lists is the old style way of figuring out what to eat if you have diabetes, but it works just the same. I like the “Choose your Foods” exchange list booklet. Breads are found on the starch list. One slice of bread is one exchange. It helps you to pick a healthy option from each food group. You can purchase it on Amazon by clicking here.
If you don’t want to purchase an exchange list booklet, you can find free lists online. One example can be found here.
Each option has about 15 grams of total carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, are low in saturated and Trans fats, and are around about 80 calories. You can purchase it on Amazon here:
Grocery shopping for bread
On Amazon, you can buy low carbohydrate bread options to be delivered. I’ve not tried this, so if you do, let us know if they were any good in the comment box below. The link to buy the bread on Amazon is here.
If you plan to buy healthy bread at the grocery store, the following list meets the criteria of:
- 150 calories or less
- 3 grams total fat
- 1.5 grams or less of saturated fat
- 0 grams of Trans fat
- 30 grams of carbohydrates or less
- 300 mg sodium or less
- 2 grams of fiber or more
Some breads that you can find in the grocery store that meet these criteria are:
- Pepperidge Farm Light Style oatmeal bread
- Country Hearth Kid’s Choice made with whole grain white bread
- Archer Farms (Target) whole wheat tortilla
- Mission Carb Balance Plus small fajita whole wheat tortilla
- Earth Grains 100% multigrain thin buns
- Arnold Select 100% whole wheat sandwich thins
- Fiber One Original English muffins
- Sara Lee English Muffins Original made with whole grain
- Weight Watchers English muffins
- Pepperidge Farm Classic 100% whole wheat hamburger buns
- Wonder Wheat hamburger buns
- Great Value (Wal-Mart) 100% whole wheat bread
- Wonder Soft 100% whole wheat bread
- Toufayan’s Low Carb Pita Bread
- Food for Life’s 7 Sprouted Grains Bread
- lvarado St. Bakery’s Sprouted Wheat Multi-Grain Bread
- Mama Lupes low carb tortillas
- MiRico low carb bread
How many slices a day should I consume?
There is no set amount of bread you should consume daily. If you consume 45 carbohydrates at each meal, then you can have healthy bread up to that amount if you like, provided that you don’t have other carbohydrates. If you would rather mix it up a little, have one slice of healthy bread, and pick your other carbohydrates from other food groups, such as the milk group, or fruit group.
Make your own bread
Now that you have your bread recipe out, what bread bakers want to do is to swap out one fourth of the regular refined white flour out with one of our ingredients on the medium glycemic index lists above. Your grain will always be from the medium glycemic index list, an example and a healthy choice being flaxseed meal.
If your recipe calls for four cups of flour, then one cup of flour will be from the medium glycemic index list. Then if you want to add protein to your recipe, you can opt for options from the low glycemic index list. Foods in the low glycemic index list contain protein, and are high in fiber.
The American Diabetes Association recommends swapping out all white, refined flour for whole grain flour. This will make a very high fiber bread, with no refined grains whatsoever. My husband enjoyed the breads in Germany so much, that when we returned home to the United States, he learned to make them.
Almekinder Recipe – German Brotchen Rolls
I will give you our Basic Brotchen Roll recipe here. This recipe is made with whole grain flour, and brushed with egg whites to form a crispy, outer crust. The inside is soft and delicious. We hope you enjoy making these, because they are, “Sehr gut!”
Crusty German Brötchen Rolls
In Germany, Rolf’s mother makes these warm, crusty Brotchen rolls at home. They are a great pair with the Thuringian sausages from the region that are extremely low in fat, not to be confused with the US version (which is high in saturated fats).
We were able to find some German sausages here in the United States, at the new Aldi supermarket that just opened. They are delicious, and a healthier version of sausage found in the US. Combined with some German mustard, which is also low in carbohydrates, you will have an authentic German street food to enjoy.
These German rolls are the perfect portion size, and so mouth-watering. You will be glad you went to the extra effort.
Baking bread takes some time. You will need to prep the bread a day in advance, so that the bread dough can rise. For the rolls, you will need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
For the egg wash:
1 large egg
1/2 cup water
Brotchen Roll recipe
On the first day, you will make what is called a starter. Put all of your ingredients for day one into a bowl. Make sure it’s a big mixing bowl, because it’s the same bowl that you will use the next day to make the dough.
Mix the ingredients for Day 1 until well combined. Cover the bowl, and let it stand at room temperature overnight.
On Day 2 (which should be at least 8-12 hours later), add all ingredients for Day 2 to the starter mix in the bowl. Mix it all together until it is dough. Knead the dough for about 7 minutes. A stand mixer at medium speed works well, or you can knead the dough by hand for a little longer (about 10 minutes).
The dough should be soft and smooth. It will still stick to the side of the bowl, and the surface may be a little rough. Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl (use olive oil for “good” cholesterol to grease the bowl). Let sit covered for one hour, then take the barely risen dough out and deflate it gently. Return it to the greased bowl.
Now let the dough rise for another hour, then deflate it again (bread baking is a process, and we are going for a slow rise method!). Return it to the greased bowl again, and then wait one more hour (for a total of 3 hours since you started).
Place the dough on a surface lightly greased with olive oil, and divide it into 12 sections. Place each section on a baking sheet. Shape the sections into oval shaped balls, rolling them with your fingers. Now, whisk together one large egg white, and a half cup of water until it froths up, then brush it onto the rolls on. Put a small slash about 1 cm deep in the top of each roll. Place rolls immediately in the oven at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Remove rolls from the oven, and cool them on a baking rack. For even crunchier, crustier rolls, leave the oven door open, and let them cool inside. They are individual servings, so you can freeze them, or keep in the refrigerator for a week. You can take one out, and pop it in the oven to warm it up.
You can also sprinkle some seeds of your choice on the rolls after you brush them with the egg wash to help them stick to the top. Any of the seeds listed above under low glycemic index foods can be added. We have included the nutritional information for the Brotchen rolls below:
Almekinder recipe for German Brotchen Rolls, fresh out of the oven in North Carolina.
What about a wheat-free bread recipe?
For the keto dieters, you will need a recipe with super low carbohydrate bread. I was able to find one here. Let us know how it turns out if you try it.
Multi-Purpose Low-Carb Wheat Bread
The nutritional information for this recipe is not too shabby. There are only 7.5 grams of carbohydrates per serving, with total net carbohydrates at 2.41 grams. At 97 calories, 2.66 grams of saturated fat, and 5.68 grams of total fats, it’s not a bad option. Calories from fat are only 51, and fiber is 5.09 grams, 4.09 grams of protein and 243 mg of sodium or salt.
You will find the recipe here: Low-Carb Wheat Bread
Over to you
Let us know how your German Brotchen rolls turn out. Also, how did your blood sugars fair when you switched out white, refined grains for whole grains, or other flours like almond flour, or flaxseed meal from your diet? Did you notice a difference? Let us know in the comments box below.
“The need of the immaterial is the most deeply rooted of all needs. One must have bread; but before bread, one must have the ideal.”
― Victor Hugo, Memoirs of Victor Hugo
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD on September 09, 2018
- Was this Helpful ?
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2018 Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 12, 2018
When it comes to flours, making the right choice is very important to blood sugar control.
So we’ve gathered some great info here for you to use in your diabetes friendly kitchen and menu preparations.
Are Grains & Flour Really Good For Fiber?
We’ve often been told that eating whole grains is a great source of fiber. And while ‘whole grains’ do provide some fiber they are not the only thing that provide us with our daily fiber needs, vegetables do too.
For example: 1 slice of wholewheat bread has 1.9 grams of fiber, while a carrot has 2.3 grams. All grains and vegetables do range in fiber content, but vegetables are a great source of daily fiber and are also higher in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than grains.
So we don’t have to eat grains in order to get adequate fiber.
Changing A Grain Into A Flour Changes The Way It Affects Blood Sugar
Often when we take a grain and make it into flour, it changes the carb and fiber content. So what tends to happen for you as a diabetic is that most types of flours will make your blood sugar spike like wild fire. At least that’s what most people experience, which is why our meal plans contain virtually no grain flours at all.
An example of this is buckwheat. Eaten whole it has a glycemic index (GI) of around 49, which is a low GI. But take it and turn it into bread and it changes to a GI of 67, meaning it affects your blood sugar more rapidly and more intensely than eating the whole grain itself.
Here is another example using wheat. Whole wheat kernals are a very low GI of 30, but we don’t tend to eat whole wheat kernals, we eat whole wheat flour and it has an average GI of around 74.
Whole Grain Flours Are A Better Option
It’s true that whole grains are better as far as nutrition goes.
As the Minnesota Department of Health explains, the whole grain kernals are made up of 3 parts:
- Bran – Outer layer of the grain that contains fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and 50-80% of minerals in grains like iron, copper, zinc, magnesium
- Endosperm – middle largest layer containing mostly carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals
- Germ – inner component containing healthy fats, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants like vitamin E
When you eat refined grains (the white stuff) you are only getting the endosperm, so basically all of the nutrition has been stripped from the grain, which isn’t really ideal. So if you are going to choose any type of grain, choose only whole grains.
Using These Flours Is Even Better
BUT, as suggested above, even whole grains can be problematic for people with diabetes. So we only use almond flour or almond meal, coconut flour, ground flaxseed meal, sesame flour, and other nut flours in the majority of our low carb breads and bakes.
On the odd occasion, we use a small amount of ‘normal’ flour (1-2 tablespoons) such as arrowroot or corn flour, just to thicken sauces, which can be difficult to do with low carb flours.
Take this delicious burger as an example, the bun is our 3-Minute ‘no carb’ Microwave Bun. It tastes just like bread but has zero carbs, that’s right…zero!
Mexican Turkey Burger with Low Carb Bun
Let’s now compare a normal flour based burger with one of our low carb burgers, made from our 3-minute microwave bun.
Your Choice Of Flour Can Cut Carbs In An Instant
Here we have a classic burger (something we all love), up against our low carb classic burger #2 (amazingly delicious). It’s made with our zero carb 3-minute microwave bun.
Flours By Total Carb Content
Now let’s dig into some of the nutrition facts. Remember to pin and share this with others too because it’s really helpful info. 🙂
Flours List By Net Carb Content
Using net carbs is another useful way to determine the healthiness of foods, because when you subtract the fiber content from the total carbs (Total carbs minus fiber = net carbs), you’re left with the ‘available’ carbs – the amount of carbs that will end up in your bloodstream and ultimately influence your blood sugar levels.
Here’s a handy chart of flours in order of net carb content:
Flours By Glycemic Index
“The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating.” Source
High GI foods rapidly effect blood sugar, while low GI foods have a slow digestion and absorption and produce a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Below 55 is considered low GI. So the lower it is the better and the higher it is the faster it affects blood sugar and the worse it is for you as a diabetic.
It’s difficult to find all the flours isolated for their glycemic index so this list breaks down into sections for breads (since we commonly eat flour like this), flours, and other.
- Pumpernickel bread 41-46
- 50% oat bran bread 44
- Buckwheat bread 47
- Sourdough rye bread 48
- 80% barley bread made via sourdough 53-66
- Sourdough wheat bread 54
- Sprouted grain bread 55
- Chickpea flour bread 55-67
- Pita bread wholemeal 56-69
- Pita bread white 57-67
- Rye bread 57-78
- Rice bread 62-72
- Wholemeal spelt bread 63
- Semolina bread 64
- 80% oat kernel and white flour bread 65
- White spelt bread 65-74
- 80% barley bread 67-70
- Wheat whole grain 68-69
- Wheat white bread 71
- Wonder white bread 71-77
- Gluten free white bread 71-80
- 100% wheat white bread 85
- Millet bread 104
- Buckwheat flour 35
- Semolina 59
- Arrowroot 67
- Cornmeal 69
- White flour 71
- Whole wheat flour 74
- Almonds 0
- Whole wheat kernals 30
- Carrot cake with coconut flour 36-39
- Coconut flour pancakes 49-51
- Flaxseeds have not been tested because they do not contain carbohydrates
A few interesting things to take note of are:
1. When you take a grain and make it into a flour, it completely changes it’s GI
For example: Whole wheat kernals are 30 (low GI) and whole wheat flour is 71 (high GI). This was already mentioned above, but it is a significant jump wouldn’t you agree?
2. Eating sourdough bread significantly reduces the GI
For example: Rye bread is 57-68 (medium-high GI) but sourdough rye is 48 (low GI)
This is very interesting because making sourdough produces beneficial gut bacteria that help with digestion, and this clearly has a strong impact on how it then influences the blood sugar response.
3. You will notice that most flours are high GI
In our list of breads above, you will notice that chickpea bread is highlighted as the cut off point because all breads below that are high (and higher) in GI, meaning they are not good options for you as a person with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.
4. The flours we use have a low carb and low GI
We use both low carb and low GI flours in our breads, cakes, crackers, and bakes, so that you get the best results all round. 🙂
We’d encourage that you use those too, but at least now, with all this information you can make a more informed choice about what flours you will use.
So that’s the run down on the best flour to eat as a diabetic. Did you learn some interesting stuff? What flours do you use?
Diabetics need to be particularly careful on the kind of meals they eat. When it comes to flour, things are no different and that’s why this article has gathered all the necessary information you need to know what kind of flour you should include in your kitchen.
Are grains and flour really good for fiber?
Every nutritionist will tell you that the greatest source of fiber is the whole grains. We can’t argue on how essential fiber is to the body and in particular the digestive system. But, are whole grains the only source of fiber? Well, the answer is no, you can also get fiber in vegetables too.
In fact, in most cases, vegetables have more fiber than the whole grains. For instance, a slice of the whole wheat bread has only 1.9 grams of fiber whereas a carrot has 2.3 grams. As if that isn’t enough, vegetables are also very rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants compared to the whole grains. Meaning you necessarily don’t have to eat grains.
What changes when a grain is converted into flour and does it affect the blood sugar differently?
Basically, on converting a grain into flour, two things change, the fiber and carb content. As a diabetic on eating meals made from certain flour, this will result in a drastic fatal rise in your blood sugar levels and this is the simple explanation as to why in most cases no grain far is included in most diabetic people meal plans.
Taking buckwheat, for instance, it has a low glycemic index of 49 meaning that it won’t cause a drastic rise in your blood sugar levels. On turning the grain into flour and baking a bread the glycemic index raises to 67, this being a clear indication that the composition changed and on consuming the bread it will have severe consequences on your ability to manage your blood sugar levels.
Another example being whole wheat kernals which in its grain form it has a glycemic index of 30 which is very low. On converting the grain into flour the glycemic index rises to 74.
Whole grain flours are a better option
As far as nutrition is concerned whole grains are way much better.
The composition of the whole grain kernals according to Minnesota Department of Health:
- Bran-the outer shell of the grain contains Vitamins, phytochemicals, fiber, antioxidants and approximately 50-80% of vital minerals such as magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron
- Endosperm- the middle layers, on the other hand, has proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
- Germ-inner layer contains Vitamin E, phytochemicals, and healthy fats.
The reason why whole grain is recommended is the fact that with refined grains you only get nutrients found in the endosperm. Meaning all the other nutrients will have been stripped off.
Better flours to use as a diabetic
As we mentioned earlier, as much as in we recommend whole grain, the majority of them are problematic to the diabetic after being converted to flour. As a diabetic, the following are the same kind of flour to cook with almond flour, ground flaxseed meal, coconut flour, almond meal and in general most nut flours. So as to thicken the sauces try our corn or arrowroot flour at just 1 or 2 tablespoons.
It is possible to make a burger that tastes like a bread and is prepared in just 3 minutes yet totally healthy for the diabetics. With no carbs at all, and yes you read that right, zero carbs!
Low-Carb Flour for the Diabetics
To begin with, coconut flour is gluten-free which a very important aspect to the diabetics. Coconut flour basically is made from the coconut meat which is left after all the fats have been extracted to make coconut oil. The flour is very rich in fiber and has low carb count; the only thing you have to pay attention is the fact that you have to take more water. Quarter a cup of coconut flour has 12 grams of fiber, 205 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of proteins and 60 calories. The overall net carbs are low meaning that this won’t cause a drastic rise in your blood sugar levels. Getting into the specifics, coconut flour has net carb content of 14 grams of ½ cup serving.
Almond is very famous for making a delicious cereal breakfast for the diabetics. Well, you can also get low carb flour from the almond meal; the kind of flour that won’t have you worry that on preparing your favorite recipe it will have a drastic rise in your blood sugar levels. Even better, you can make the almond flour yourself by grinding the almonds until they are of fine texture. However, you shouldn’t overdo this since instead of flour you might end up getting almond butter and that’s not what you wanted in the first place. ½ a cup of almond flour contains 10.2 grams of carbohydrates, 5.8 grams of fiber and has a net carb of only 2.3 grams. Once you have your gluten-free almond free then you are now ready to make your favorite recipe.
To begin with, Walnut is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are good in ensuring you have a healthy heart. You can prepare walnut flour yourself all you have to do is grind the nuts until you have some consistent texture. ½ a cup of walnut meal contains 2.6 grams of fiber, 5.4 grams of carbs and a net carb of 1.4 grams. It is important to note that you can also use pistachios, macadamia nuts or even the hazelnuts.
Flours by their Glycemic Index
Glycemic index is a tool used to determine how quickly a certain food substance will cause a rise in your blood sugar level. The scale runs from 0-100.
A high GI indicated that that particular food substance will cause an increase in your blood sugar level fast. On the other hand, a low GI indicated that there will be slow digestion and absorption and if there will be any rise in the blood sugar levels, it will be gradual and not sudden.
Key things to have in mind
- Changing a grain into flour affects its GI
We saw this earlier where wheat kernels having a glycemic index of 30 raised to 71 after converting it to flour,
- Eating sourdough bread significantly reduces the GI
Sourdough has components that make it get digested slowly and this explains why it has a GI of 48 compared to that of Rye bread that ranges between 57-68.
- Most flours have a high GI
Bread with low glycemic indeed are recommended over those with anything above 55 on the GI scale
- There are flours with a low GI and low carbs too
In this article, we have highlighted and recommended only flours that have low carbs and read low on a glycemic index scale. These particular flours are both nutritious and healthy for a diabetic to eat.
My successful Diabetes Treatment Story
My doctor diagnosed me with diabetes just over a year ago, at the time I was prescribed Metformin. I went to the some diabetes related websites and learned about the diet they suggested. I started the diet right away and I was very loyal to it. However, after weeks of being on the diet it never helped, my blood sugar didn’t drop like I wanted it to. My personal physician wasn’t much help either, he didn’t really seem to give me any other options besides my prescription and the usual course of insulin. I was about to give up and then I discovered a great treatment method. The guide was authored by one of the leading professionals in the world of diabetes research, Dr. Max Sidorov. This is a guide that that shows you, in a very simple way, how to conquer the disease without traditional methods. I have to say that since I’ve found the guide and followed it, I’ve not only improved my health but I’ve also lost weight and improved other aspects as well. My activities have increased and I have a ton of energy! It is my goal to share the this diabetes treatment method as much as possible to show people there’s more to the disease than traditional schools of thought and you can find your own path to healing with natural methods.
Is Rye Bread Healthy?
Eating rye bread may benefit your health in several ways.
May improve heart health
Adding rye bread to your diet may improve several aspects of heart health, as research has linked its intake to lower levels of heart disease risk factors.
For example, an 8-week study in 40 people compared the effects of eating 20% of their daily calories from either rye or wheat bread on blood cholesterol levels.
Researchers found that rye bread was more effective at lowering cholesterol levels in men than wheat bread and reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 14% and 12%, respectively (6).
This effect is likely due to rye bread’s high soluble fiber content, a type of indigestible fiber that forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract and can help remove cholesterol-rich bile from your blood and body.
Research has shown that regular soluble fiber intake is linked to a 5–10% reduction in both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in as little as 4 weeks (7).
May aid blood sugar control
Blood sugar control is important for everyone, especially people with type 2 diabetes and those who cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Rye bread has several qualities that can aid blood sugar control (5).
For starters, it’s high in soluble fiber, which helps slow the digestion and absorption of carbs and sugar through the digestive tract, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels (8).
Rye bread also contains phenolic compounds, such as ferulic acid and caffeic acid, which may slow the release of sugar and insulin into the bloodstream, further aiding blood sugar control (9).
For example, a study in 21 healthy adults found that consuming a rye-based evening meal with supplemental resistant starch helped slow the release of sugar and insulin into the bloodstream. Additionally, it raised the levels of satiety hormones, which kept people full for longer (10).
However, plain rye did not have a significant effect on blood sugar levels, though it did increase feelings of fullness (10).
Assist digestive health
Rye bread may help improve your digestive health in several ways.
First, it’s a good source of fiber, which can help keep your bowels regular. Soluble fiber absorbs water, helping stools stay large and soft, making them easier to pass (11).
In fact, one study in 51 adults with constipation noted that rye bread was more effective than whole wheat bread and laxatives at treating constipation, without adverse effects (12).
Other studies have shown that rye bread fiber can elevate levels of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate in your bloodstream.
These short-chain fatty acids have been linked to various benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and protection against colon cancer (13, 14, 15).
Help you stay fuller for longer
Numerous studies have shown that rye bread is incredibly filling (9, 16, 17).
This may be because it’s high in soluble fiber, which can help you feel full for longer (18, 19, 20).
For example, a study in 41 participants found that those who ate whole grain rye bread felt fuller and ate fewer calories later in the day than people who ate refined wheat bread (16).
Other potential benefits
Aside from those listed above, rye bread offers some additional potential health benefits.
While they are supported by fewer studies and weaker evidence, they include the following:
- May reduce inflammation. A human study linked rye bread intake to lower markers of inflammation, such as interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) (21).
- May protect against certain cancers. In human and test-tube studies, rye intake has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, including prostate, colorectal, and breast cancers (14, 22, 23, 24).
Rye bread has been linked to many potential health benefits, including weight loss, reduced inflammation, better blood sugar control, and improved heart and digestive health.
Bread, bread, bread – it’s an often debated topic and question for people with diabetes. So when it comes to rye bread, is it a good or bad choice for diabetes?
Read on to learn more.
JUMP TO: What is rye bread | Rye bread nutrition facts | Bread comparisons | Debunking the whole grain myth | Research on rye bread and diabetes | Conclusion
What is Rye Bread?
Rye is a cereal grain in the same family as barley and wheat.
This hearty grain was originally cultivated by the ancient Romans. In modern times, rye bread is popular in the Middle East and well-loved by many European countries. Pumpernickel bread, for instance, is an all-rye bread with a unique flavor that hails from Germany.
Rye bread is typically made with a sourdough starter, which is a combination of water, flour and live yeast cultures. Breads made from sourdough tend to have a lower pH than other breads and are denser with a gummier texture.
Compared to your average loaf of bleached white bread, a slice of whole-grain rye bread starts to look pretty healthy… but is it healthy for people with type 2 diabetes?
To find out, let’s break down the nutrition facts for rye bread.
Rye Bread Nutrition Facts
One 26 gram slice of pumpernickel rye bread (made from whole rye grains) contains:
- Calories: 60
- Total carbs: 12-15g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 2g
- Fat: 0.5g
- Glycemic index: 41-46
One slice of sandwich rye bread contains:
- Calories: 110
- Total carbs: 21g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 4g
- Fat: 1.5g
- Glycemic index: 56-78
The nutrition of rye bread will depend on the brand of course. However, like most breads, rye bread is heavy in carbohydrates and light in protein and fat. When choosing a rye bread, pumpernickel bread is obviously a better choice, providing slightly lower carbs and a lower glycemic index.
The ingredients in the bread will also vary wildly depending on brand. For instance, a homemade loaf of rye bread fresh from a German oven is probably a lot healthier than a loaf of rye bread fresh off a factory conveyor belt.
Store-bought breads are notorious for containing processed sugars, corn syrups and additives. And although rye bread naturally has a better shelf-life than bread made from wheat flour, many commercial loaves also contain preservatives to make them last even longer.
TIP: Always read the ingredients list. Ingredients are listed in descending order, with the major ingredients included first to last.
Comparing Rye Bread to Other Breads
Rye bread is often praised for having more fiber, more protein, and less sugar than other breads. But is this actually the case?
You can see for yourself by checking out the chart below.
When compared to sourdough wheat bread, Ezekiel bread, and plain old white bread, a slice of pumpernickel rye actually contains the least amount of protein. But your average rye bread will likely contain a little more than other breads.
While some rye bread is certainly higher in fiber (our example above is double), many rye breads fall right in the middle range for fiber – they are not really ‘high fiber’ by any means.
In terms of overall nutrition, there isn’t too much variance in most breads you’ll purchase. The major thing all of these breads have in common is carbs… bread is a high carb food!
To eat a sandwich with the traditional 2 slices of bread, you’re going to be consuming anywhere from 22 to 30 grams of carbs, without adding any sandwich fillings. To put this in perspective, many of the meals we recommend include a maximum of 20 grams of carbs.
If you don’t know already: carbs are the nutrient that influences blood sugar and A1c the most. And although you don’t want to eat a no carb diet, you want to eat a low carb diet for better blood sugar and A1c – and trust us, it works!
Alan S says: “I discovered I had diabetes on December 23, 2017. My blood sugar was a whopping 396. My doctor put me on Metformin 750mlg. I weighed 269 lbs and was 72 years old. To date (March 12, 2018) I have lost 35 pounds and my blood sugar average 94 2-hours after evening meal and 103 in the morning. I have been following your suggested menus. I stay on a low carbohydrate diet and watch what I eat. No rice, no bread (my achilles heel), no pasta, no potatoes, etc.”
Debunking the “Whole Grain” Myth
From the time you were young you were probably taught that whole grains are a healthy staple food. Grain-based foods have even been the foundation of food pyramids worldwide for many years.
In short, grains are everywhere!
Unfortunately though, they aren’t particularly healthy for people with type 2 diabetes.
This can be confusing because some studies have shown that consuming two servings of whole grains per day may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But the prevention of a disease and the management of a disease are two entirely different things. And there is zero evidence that whole grains help with diabetes or prediabetes treatment.
TIP: Whole grains are really no better for diabetes than any other grain because they all have the same thing in common – they are high in carbs.
For treatment of any kind of blood sugar-related health issue, you’ll do better to stay away from all carb heavy foods like bread, even if it is whole grain bread that contains fiber.
It’s really quite simple.
Most breads, grain-based cereals, and pastas contain more carbohydrates per serving than is healthy for people with diabetes and prediabetes to consume. Dumping a huge load of carbs into your body will promote higher blood sugar and A1c levels. Sure, managing your health does go beyond just carbs, but they are one of the major factors you need to control.
In scientific trials, low carb diets have been shown to improve glycemic control, lower A1C, reduce inflammation, and promote weight loss – that’s why we encourage our readers and members to follow a lower carb diet – because it works!
Don’t take our word for it – read what real people have to say.
And while whole grains are touted as a great source of fiber, a better way to get enough fiber in your diet is to skip the grains and fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds!
For example, fiber in the following is:
- 1/2 cup brown rice = 1.75 g
- 1/2 avocado = 7 g
- 1 cup of broccoli = 2.4 g
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds= 5.5 g
Please pin, share or tweet; then keep reading.
Research on Rye Bread and Diabetes
A quick internet search will leave you with the idea that rye bread is an amazing blood sugar stabilizer, but actual research on rye bread has gathered mixed results.
For example, a 2013 study reported that pumpernickel rye bread produced a lower insulin and glucose response when compared to other types of bread. However, a study from 2003 found that rye bread actually caused a greater insulin response when compared to other breads.
A 2014 study found that whole grain rye crisps lead to better satisfaction and reduced appetite when compared to wheat bread (which was most likely due to the higher fiber content of the rye bread).
Another study (2015) found that the consumption of rye bread enriched with green tea extract was linked to lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for metabolic syndrome among a group of obese men and women. However, since these positive effects were only seen in the group that received green tea enriched rye bread but not the control group who consumed regular rye bread, it seems that the effects were from the benefits of the green tea extract and not from the rye bread itself.
So, pour yourself a steaming cup of green tea to get the same health benefits – but leave the bread behind – overall there is no evidence to show eating whole grains helps with blood sugar management!
Rye bread isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Yes, whole grains are always healthier than refined grains (the white stuff), but in our experience, avoiding grains altogether is ideal when it comes to managing type 2 diabetes.
Although that may sound extreme, especially if you love your bread, it’s actually easy to live without bread when you have other options – that’s what our weekly meal plans show you to do.
And in terms of dietary fiber – yes you do need it. But you should never have to risk your blood sugar stability in order to get enough dietary fiber. Simply stock up on high-fiber vegetables, low carb fruits, nuts, and seeds – these will provide the fiber and be more friendly on blood sugar too!
Back to top
The health benefits of rye bread – 5 reasons to switch
Aug 17, 2017 at 7:14am PDT
Rye bread has its fans in Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh and TOWIE’s Lucy Mecklenburgh, and features in top restaurants around the world. So what’s the fuss about? We look at five benefits of eating rye bread:
1. It keeps you stabilised
An advocate of eating rye bread, Amber Rose, author of Love, Bake, Nourish, reckons it’s a great option for keeping your body in balance.
“Rye has a much lower glycemic index than ordinary white flour,” she says. “This means it won’t spike your blood sugars.”
2. It’s fibre rich
Rye bread – and, in particular, dark rye – usually has higher fibre content than other breads, which can be useful for those suffering from constipation.
Aug 17, 2017 at 7:05am PDT
“As far as I’m concerned, the main benefits to eating foods made with wholemeal rye flour lie in the high fibre content of this grain,” explains Rob Hobson, nutritionist and co-author of the Detox Kitchen Bible.
“Fibre in the diet is associated with reducing the risk of heart disease, bowel cancer and diabetes as well as helping with weight loss and maintaining good digestion.”
3. It’s full of goodness
Brands of rye bread may differ in ingredients so check the pack for the full low-down, but on the whole, rye is low in saturated fat and rich in B vitamins, iron – which makes red blood cells – and magnesium, which converts food into energy.
4. Most – but not all – people can eat it
Again, it always pays to check the label on any food you buy, but rye bread can be a good option if you’re catering for people with different dietary requirements.
“It’s much lower in gluten than wheat and other grains so, as a result, can be enjoyed by those that are sensitive to it,” explains Rose. Those with gluten intolerance or coeliac disease should still avoid rye, however.
Aug 16, 2017 at 11:38am PDT
5. It tastes nice
Although tasting different to white bread (and perhaps not as satisfying to dip into runny eggs), rye bread is great paired with tart beetroots, tangy cheeses and pickles, or used to make Scandinavian-inspired open sandwiches.