Eating whole-grain rye products instead of refined wheat counterparts can provide significant health benefits, according to new research from the Chalmers University of Technology.
The study was published in the ‘Clinical Nutrition Journal’. It’s the largest study of its kind to examine the effects of different grains on body weight and fat, and it’s also the first to study rye specifically.
The study included 242 overweight men and women between the ages of 30 and 70, who were randomly assigned carefully adjusted daily amounts of refined wheat or whole-grain rye products with the same energy value.
All participants also received the same general advice on healthy eating from a dietitian. The participants were examined at the beginning, halfway through, and at the end of the study, which was twelve weeks.
“The results were clear – the participants who received rye products lost more weight overall, and their levels of body fat decreased compared to those who received wheat products,” said Ms. Kia Nohr Iversen, a researcher at the Division of Food and Nutrition Science at the Chalmers University of Technology, and lead author of the study.
Although both the rye and wheat groups lost weight during the research, rye eaters dropped an average of one kilogram more than wheat eaters, with the difference attributable to fat loss.
“Although we saw an overall difference in weight loss between the rye and the wheat group, there was also very large variation within those groups. Increasing our understanding of why different people respond differently to the same foods can pave the way for more specifically tailored diets based on individual needs. We are currently investigating whether certain specific bacteria in the intestine might be the explanation behind why some people lost more weight than others who were also on the rye diet,” commented Prof. Rikard Landberg, Professor of Food and Health at the Chalmers University of Technology.
The researchers cautioned that there is more work needed before they can show in detail exactly what mechanisms determine why whole-grain rye is good for weight loss at the individual level. But the results of the new study already demonstrated a causal link between rye intake and weight loss through fat reduction and studies to determine the mechanisms behind this link are already underway.