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Is Rye Bread High In Carbs? A Keto Perspective

Whether you’re looking for a healthier option or something to excite your taste buds, rye bread is frequently recommended as a change from processed white bread. But approach with caution – even the most nutritious grains can be a poor choice for any kind of specialised diet.

Rye bread is made from rye flour and is naturally higher in fibre, so it’s understandable that the health benefits are front and centre in people’s minds. However, for the millions of people following a keto lifestyle, limiting carbohydrates becomes the major focus. So, how many carbohydrates are in rye bread? Is rye bread a keto-friendly option?

Rye bread contains 48g of total carbohydrates per 100g, almost identical to wheat breads. The higher fibre content means rye bread has fewer net carbs than regular bread. However, the total is still significant for a low-carb diet. Unfortunately, this means rye bread isn’t a particularly keto-friendly option. There are keto-friendly ‘rye’ bread recipes available that imitate the flavour of rye bread though.

If you have limited options, is rye bread more keto-friendly than white bread or wholemeal? And are the health benefits of rye bread worth putting aside the carbohydrate count?

We’ll explore all these questions in more detail. Give this article a scroll and find out whether rye bread is the right choice for you.

What is Rye Bread Made From?

Many people enjoy rye bread because of its earthy and robust taste. Compared to wheat-based bread, rye bread is darker in colour and has a denser texture. Traditionally, rye bread is only made from rye flour. However, modern rye bread blends rye flour and wheat flour for a more palatable loaf.

Common rye bread varieties include light rye bread, dark rye bread, marbled rye bread, and pumpernickel bread.

Light rye bread is made from only white rye flour, milled from the centre endosperm of the rye berry or grain. If this sounds familiar, it’s the same difference separating white bread from wholemeal bread. The endosperm is the starchy core of the rye grain. Without the outer seed coat – the bran or the germ – the resulting flour is a lot lighter in colour.

On the other hand, dark rye bread is made from ground whole rye grains – effectively, a whole grain rye bread. This means that the flour includes the outer endosperm, where the brown pigments are most abundant.

This deep brown colour isn’t always natural, though. Some brands use white rye flour, then add colouring or flavouring agents like cocoa powder, instant coffee, or molasses.

Marbled rye bread is simply made of light and dark rye dough rolled or braided together. This bread bakes into a uniform texture, much like a marble cake.

Pumpernickel bread is baked using pumpernickel flour, made up of coarsely-ground whole rye grains. The pumpernickel loaves tend to be dark, dense, and intensely flavoured.

What is Rye Grain?

Ryegrass is also called ‘cereal rye’ or ‘winter rye’. In addition to bread, it’s also used to produce beer, vodka, and whiskey. Rye bread is traditional in European countries like Germany, Russia, Hungary, Austria, and Scandinavia. However, the rye grain is originally from Central Asia and was only brought to Europe in the Middle Ages.

This grain thrives in colder climates and poorer soils, explaining why Russia, Poland, and northern Germany are known for their rye bread.

Is Rye Bread Healthy?

From a general perspective, rye can be considered a healthy grain, especially when consumed as a wholegrain or ‘dark’ rye bread. Rye grain is high in dietary fibre and is also a good source of protein, potassium, and B vitamins.

Compared to wheat, rye grain is harder to refine, so more of the rye’s natural nutrients are retained. 100% sprouted whole grain rye bread can be considered the healthiest variety since sprouting increases the grain’s fibre content and makes nutrients more accessible.

Rye bread has been linked to several key health benefits, both colloquially and through scientific studies.

As mentioned above, the number one benefit of rye bread is that it’s naturally high in fibre. Nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer has stated that the fibre content in rye bread can increase the feeling of fullness or satiety.

Rye bread is also recommended as a heart-healthy grain, good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Research studies have shown that rye bread was more effective at lowering cholesterol levels than wheat bread, ultimately reducing total cholesterol up to 14% and ‘bad’ cholesterol up to 12%.

There are also qualities of rye bread that help in blood sugar control. The slow digestion and absorption of wholegrains lead to a more gradual rise in blood sugar, thanks to the high soluble fibre levels.

Wholegrain rye is also good for digestive health. Like all high-fibre foods, rye bread helps to keep bowel movements regular.

Rye bread is lower in gluten than wheat bread, though rye grain still contains gluten, so it isn’t suitable for people with a true intolerance or Coeliac disease. However, rye bread can minimise bloating and discomfort associated with eating bread for mildly sensitive individuals.

Rye Bread vs White Bread: Nutritional Value

Comparing the nutritional value of rye bread from white bread can be complicated, considering there are so many varieties of both on the market. Most rye breads contain some wheat flour, and not all rye bread contains wholegrain rye or wheat flour.

For maximum nutritional value, always look for the names such as ‘whole grain pumpernickel’ and ‘wholegrain rye’. Other ingredients like whole rye flour, rye meal, rye kernels, and rye flakes should be indicated on the ingredient list.

An average slice of wholegrain rye bread may contain 1.9 g of fibre, 2.7 g of protein, 15.5 g of carbs, 1.1 g of fat and 83 calories. In terms of recommended daily intake, a slice may also provide 18% of Selenium, 11.6% of Thiamine, 11.5% of Manganese, 8.2% of Riboflavin, 7.6% of Niacin, 7.5% of Vitamin B6, 6.6% of Copper, 5% of Iron, and 8.8% of folate.

Commercially prepared white bread, on the other hand, contains on average:

  • 98 calories

  • 1 g of fibre

  • 1.2 g of fat

  • 18 g of carbs

  • 3.3 g of protein

It also contains 8% of your daily sodium, 1% of your potassium, 4.1% of your calcium and 7.4% of your iron.

It’s easy to assume that rye bread is always more nutritious than white bread. However, the results will ultimately depend on the ratio of rye flour to wheat flour, and how much wholegrain rye is present. Other additives such as flavourings, colours, and other grains complicate matters even more.

However, there are still many general conclusions we can draw about the nutrient content of rye bread.

How Many Carbs Are There in Rye Bread?

100 g of rye bread contains 48 g of carbohydrates, making up 77% of the calorie count. In terms of overall macronutrient ratio, rye bread comprises 11% fat and 12% protein.

In terms of carbs per slice, a 32g slice of rye bread has 15g of total carbohydrates, whereas a thin piece will have around 12g.

Carbohydrates in Rye Bread vs White Bread

Both rye bread and white are high in carbohydrates – in fact, in terms of total carbs, they’re equivalent. The difference between these two breeds is that rye bread is typically higher in fibre, while also providing more micronutrients (i.e. vitamins and minerals).

100 grams of rye bread contains 48 grams of total carbohydrates, while the same amount of white bread has 49 grams. Of course, the carbs per slice will depend on your serving size, but we’ll compare each bread ‘like for like’ in this article.

One large slice of white bread contains 16g of total carbs, while a slice and rye bread is 15 g. As we’ve mentioned, rye bread has higher fibre content and a lower glycaemic index, meaning that the carbs are digested and broken down into glucose more slowly. White bread is the opposite, with a high glycaemic index and less fibre, so the net carbohydrate count is higher.

Can I Eat Rye Bread on a Keto Diet?

Keto diet is a very low carb and high-fat diet – which poses an immediate problem since most of the energy in rye bread comes from carbohydrates.

The recommended carb consumption for ketosis falls somewhere between 20 and 50 g per day. Protein consumption should also be moderated, as protein can be converted into glucose if consumed in high amounts.

With 15g of total carbs per slice, rye bread is unfortunately not a great option unless you’re willing to blow your daily ‘carb count’ on one meal. The macronutrient ratio of rye bread just doesn’t lend itself easily to keto eating, so it would be a struggle to make it work without breaking ketosis.

The good news is that there are now keto-friendly substitutes for all kinds of breads, including rye bread. In fact, the earthy and dense texture of rye bread is easier to imitate with low carb ingredients than a fluffy white loaf.

There are lots of recipes for low carb rye bread online, and I’ve shared a few options below. Depending on where you live, you may even be able to find a commercially prepared low carb rye bread – try your local health food stores and keto-friendly market stalls.

Compared to the genuine article, a slice of a low-carb rye bread may provide 1.8 to 6 g of net carbs and up to 9.3g total carbs. It’s easy to see how a homemade low carb alternative lets you have your rye bread and eat it too!

Low Carb Rye Bread Recipes

It’s important to note that these recipes don’t use rye grain itself – instead, they use keto-friendly ingredients to mimic rye’s flavour and texture. When baking from scratch, you can also change or substitute ingredients according to your own dietary requirements, so feel free to make modifications and find out what works best for you.

This recipe is made with a few simple, keto-friendly ingredients: almond flour, dry pressed cottage cheese and ground chia seeds. With the addition of baking powder and salt, this bread is rich and earthy just like dark rye bread. Pair with avocado for a fantastic keto breakfast or lunch.

This next low carb rye bread relies on flax meal and coconut flour or a low-carb, high fibre bread. For an authentic flavour, this recipe also uses caraway seed, sesame oil, ACV and a hint of sweetener, with eggs, butter and ghee as a binder. This bread will be a bit moist, but you can toast it for a crisper texture. Top with tuna and spring onion for added protein and omega vitamins

The dark rye bread is grain-free and gluten-free and is excellent for people diagnosed with celiac disease. The ingredients include blanched almond flour, brown flax meal, eggs, and olive oil, with a few pinches of caraway seeds for flavour.

This bread is about 40% smaller compared to a traditional sized loaf, which can be a positive or a negative – a grain free bread made from wholesome ingredients is a lot more filling than white bread! Paleo rye bread makes a great start to the day, topped with eggs and avocado.

There are many more keto rye bread recipes available online if you find these don’t suit your needs. You can also try substituting ingredients depending on what you have on hand – for instance, using raw almond flour instead of blanched almond meal.

If you see a keto dietician or nutritionist, you can certainly ask for advice on the best low carb rye bread substitute and how it fits into your everyday eating plan.

Related Questions:

Which Type of Bread Has the Most Carbs?

Compared to other breads on the market, it’s no surprise that white bread has the most carbohydrates. Wholegrain and wholemeal wheat bread are similar in terms of total carbs,but wholemeal contains more fibre and fewer net carbs. 100g of white bread contains 49g of carbohydrates, with around 16g of total carbs per slice.

What’s the Difference Between Pumpernickel and Rye Bread?

Rye bread comes in many different varieties, including pumpernickel, as well as light rye bread, dark rye bread and marbled rye bread. The main difference between the two is the flour: in pumpernickel, the flour is coarsely ground, while a regular rye bread is not. Pumpernickel flour is ground from wholegrain rye berries, rather than just the processed endosperm. When it comes to flavour, pumpernickel is also sweeter than the regular rye bread, as it’s slow baked over a low heat.


Disclaimer: This article is published in good faith and for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical or nutritional advice and does not take into consideration your individual health needs. Ketolicious Kreations does not make any warranties about the ongoing completeness and reliability of this information. Always check the product label regarding allergens and other health needs. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website is strictly at your own risk. For any medical advice regarding diet and nutrition, or before changing your diet drastically, always consult a doctor or nutritionist.



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