Move Over, Wheat! Rye Bread Is Better for Weight Loss

Move Over, Wheat! Rye Bread Is Better for Weight Loss

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

If you've been ordering that turkey sub on wheat because you think this grain is better for your waistline, it might be time to ask yourself "Rye not?" and try rye bread instead. New research from Chalmers University in Sweden found that dieters who consumed whole-grain rye lost more weight than those who went for refined wheat.

In the 12-week-long study, 242 overweight or obese participants were randomly selected to eat either high fiber rye products or refined wheat products in addition to a hypocaloric diet. Those in the rye group lost an average of 6.4 lbs. and more body fat compared to those in the wheat group, who only lost 4 lbs.

Why is rye bread good for weight loss?

Woman holding a freshly baked loaf of rye bread

You may be wondering, "Why rye?" On average, a slice of rye bread is relatively low in calories (around 83 calories) and packed with beneficial nutrients like, folate, iron, copper, niacin and vitamin B6.

When it comes to battle of the bread, rye is the one to eat considering all the weight loss benefits it has to offer. Most notably, rye bread helps support digestive health, which in turn may aid in weight loss. For example, rye bread is packed with fiber which helps keep your bowel movements regular.

Fiber is an essential component of any diet. It helps you feel full longer, meaning you'll be less likely to snack and may feel more satisfied at mealtime.

Rye bread vs whole wheat for weight loss

Health gurus often praise whole wheat as the "best bread" when it comes to clean eating. While whole wheat bread may be higher than rye when it comes to its protein profile (averaging 6 grams per serving compared to 5.4 for rye), rye can't be beat when it comes to the amount of fiber it packs per serving—3.7 grams of fiber compared to whole wheat bread's 2.4 grams.

That being said, both breads deserve a place on your plate. Why? Both rye and whole wheat bread are cholesterol-free and low in calories, averaging around 160 calories for two slices. If your goal is to maintain a healthy weight, enjoying a variety of whole grains is a great way to mix things up and please your taste buds, so you don't get bored of eating the same sandwich, day after day.

Other health benefits of whole grain rye

Woman eating rye bread sandwich>

Rye bread is not only beneficial to your waistline, but also helps support other bodily functions including:

  • Heart health:

    A slice of rye bread is packed with magnesium, which helps support healthy blood pressure levels and overall heart health. Its high fiber profile may also help support healthy cholesterol levels.
  • Blood sugar:

    Rye bread may help support healthy blood sugar levels because it is considered on the low side of the glycemic index. In fact, rye bread can help support improved glycemic profiles. Another win for rye!
  • Nutrient rich:

    When it comes to nutritional value, rye bread is sometimes referred to as a super grain. A slice contains high levels of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamin E – bread doesn't get much better than that!

Other ways to support weight loss

Man cannot live on rye bread alone – especially for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. So, for optimal weight loss success, a Mediterranean diet, exercise and quality nutrients are the best lifestyle changes to make to see the number on the scale go down.

Mediterranean diet:

Rye bread is a great, fiber-filled carbohydrate source that will keep you satiated—but you also need to incorporate other food groups, particularly healthy fats, like olive oil, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, beans and legumes, and lean protein. Make sure to also drink at least eight 8 oz. cups of water throughout the day as it can help keep food cravings at bay while helping your body rid itself of toxins and waste products.


You should make sure you are getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to get your heart pumping and fat scorching. Physical activity helps increase the number of calories your body uses, rather than storing it as fat. Make sure to find an activity you enjoy – walking, running, tennis, lifting weights, swimming and even yoga are great ways to have fun and burn some excess calories in the process.


Diet and exercise are the building blocks for weight loss success, but if you've been on the weight loss rollercoaster before and need some extra support, nutrients like lemon verbena and hibiscus may help you reach your weight loss goal because they encourage satiety.



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The Life Extension Health News team delivers accurate information about vitamins, nutrition and aging. Our stories rely on multiple, authoritative sources and experts. We keep our content accurate and trustworthy, by submitting it to a medical reviewer.