Consuming whole-grain rye products instead of refined wheat substitutes may offer health benefits, according to new research from Chalmers University of Technology.
The study was published in the ‘Clinical Nutrition Journal’.
This is the largest study ever to assess the effects of particular types of grains on body weight and fat, and the first study to focus specifically on rye.
The study included 242 overweight men and women between the ages of 30 and 70 who were randomly given carefully adjusted daily amounts of refined wheat or whole 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 start of the study, mid-term and at twelve weeks, at the end of the study.
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“The results were clear: participants who received rye products lost more weight overall and their body fat levels decreased compared to those who received wheat products,” said said Kia Nohr Iversen, a researcher in the Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology and lead author of the study, which is part of his recently presented doctoral thesis.
Although the rye and wheat groups lost weight during the study, those who ate rye products lost an average of one kilogram more than those who ate wheat products, with the difference being attributable to to fat loss.
Different people can react to the same foods in different ways, depending, for example, on the particular bacteria in the gut and how they break down. At Chalmers University of Technology’s Food and Nutritional Sciences Division, research is underway on how the diet can be best suited to the individual level, by providing specific nutritional advice to obtain better health benefits. The new study has offered unique data that can be used to further research in this area.
âAlthough we saw an overall difference in weight loss between the rye group and the wheat group, there was also a very large variation within these groups. Better understanding why different people react to the same foods differently can pave the way for more specifically tailored diets. according to individual needs. We are currently investigating whether certain specific bacteria in the gut might explain why some people lost more weight than others who were also on the rye diet, âsaid Rikard Landberg, professor of food and health at Chalmers University of Technology.
Obesity and being overweight are among the biggest health challenges in the world and require many different measures. One idea is to develop foods that contribute to an increased feeling of fullness and have positive effects on the metabolism.
Previous studies have observed that those who eat rye, which is very high in dietary fiber, feel more full than those who eat the corresponding amount of energy in the form of refined wheat. One of the objectives of this study was therefore to investigate this potential link between increased rye consumption and weight loss.
âBut surprisingly, in this study, we never actually observed a difference in appetite. We believe that this may simply be because the method we used to measure appetite was not good enough. So we are working to evaluate and further develop the method, “said Kia Nohr Iversen.
In order for a food to be marketed with specific health claims, a series of rigorous studies must be conducted to prove the effect. These studies are expensive and represent a barrier to obtaining the necessary scientific evidence, making it less attractive for food producers to develop and market products that could help reduce excess weight and obesity.
âA particularly positive aspect of our study is that the rye products we used are readily available in normal supermarkets in Scandinavia and most European countries. Consumers can therefore act immediately on the new results. of particular effort or dedication to following a diet rich in whole grain rye, âsaid Kia Nohr Iversen.
The researchers warned that there is still work to be done before they can show in detail exactly what mechanisms determine why whole rye is good for weight loss on an individual level. But the results of the new study have already shown a causal link between rye consumption and weight loss through fat reduction, and studies to determine the mechanisms behind this link are already underway.
âAs we continue to research the exact reasons why our advice is to choose rye bread over sifted wheat bread,â said Kia Nohr Iversen.
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