It is the largest study to date designed specifically to evaluate two different grains and their effects on weight loss and body composition. Researchers included 242 overweight men and women between the ages of 30 and 70 who were randomly split into two groups. The two groups were assigned daily amounts of refined wheat or whole-grain rye products with the same energy value. Researchers then examined the participants at the start of the study, after 6 weeks, and at the end after 12 weeks to see how their bodies changed.
Rye products are better for weight loss
The results were quite convincing. Both groups lost weight at the end of the experiment but the rye group lost 1,08 kg of body weight and 0,54 % of body fat more than the wheat group.
“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 Kia Nøhr Iversen, lead author of the study.
Your gut bacteria may play a role
The authors of the study hypothesize that the different results within both groups might be explained by the differences in gut bacteria.
“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,” said co-author Rikard Landberg.
The study didn’t find a link to appetite
Previous research suggests that people who eat rye, which is high in fibre, feel more full than those who eat the corresponding amount of energy in the form of refined wheat. The authors of this study wanted to also evaluate this relationship.
“Surprisingly, in this study, we actually never observed any difference in appetite. We think this may be simply because the method we used to measure appetite was not good enough. We are therefore working on evaluating and developing the method further,” said Iversen.
You can get more from rye right away
The good news about the findings of this study is that everyone can easily take action. The lead author encourages people to go buy whole grain rye products right away.
“A particularly positive aspect of our study is that the rye products we used are easily attainable in normal supermarkets in Scandinavia and most of Europe. Consumers can therefore act on the new results immediately. It does not require particular effort or dedication to have a diet rich in whole grain rye,” advises Iversen.