Rye as a part of Healthy Diet

Rye is a traditional part of Northern and Eastern Europe cuisine called the European rye belt. Among the grains, rye is unusual as it is mostly consumed as whole grain. The main rye foods include dark, sour and crisp breads. Also new types of rye breads and ingredients have been developed for the modern consumer.

Rye is an important source of dietary fibre in Northern European countries, e.g. almost 40% of dietary fibre intake comes from rye foods in Finland and Denmark. Rye contains both soluble and insoluble fibre and together with several bioactive components, the fibre complex is presumably largely responsible for the health benefits of rye. Epidemiological studies suggest that consumption of whole grain foods is associated with reduced incidence of chronic diseases, e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. EFSA has accepted a health claim for rye fibre to improve bowel function.

 rye belt

European Comission has accepted health claims for oat β-glucan to reduce blood cholesterol concentrations and post-prandial glyceamic response.


EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). (2011). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to rye fibre and changes in bowel function (ID 825), reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses (ID 826) and maintenance of normal blood LDL-cholesterol concentrations (ID 827) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 9: 2258.

Buttriss, J.L. (2006). Rye: the overlooked cereal. Nutr Bull 31: 3-5.