Rye bread

Since beginning to eat a low-GI diet, I have been using (organic) Bavarian whole grain bread, which is imported from Weissenstadt, Germany from a company called Heinrich Leupoldts KG (also does business as PEMA). We buy it from our local natural foods store (the Natural Pantry).

The pumpernickel slice I had today has only four ingredients: whole rye, mountain spring water, sea salt, and yeast, with the following nutritional facts:

Serving size: 1 slice
Calories: 85, of which 5 are fat calories
Total fat: 0.5g (none saturated)
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 200mg
Total carb: 18g (4g fiber, 2g sugars)
Protein: 2.5g

It’s an extremely dense, flavorful, and chewy bread — very satisfying: I don’t need more than one slice. This morning I had it with about a tbsp. of tahini (sesame butter) & a tsp. or so of cinnamon. Your mileage may vary, but it has worked okay for me blood-sugar-wise; & I also feel it has a lot of nutritive value. “We use specially designed ovens to allow for a slow baking process at relatively low temperatures. This method ensures preservation of important nutrients. It also increases the glutinosity of the starch, which, in turn, enhances the bread’s digestive properties.”

I was curious about rye’s nutritional properties, and found it written up at a The Word’s Healthiest Foods:

Of particular interest to people like me with diabetes-related concerns:

Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes. A study published in the November 2003 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that bread made from wheat triggers a greater insulin response than rye bread does. Finnish researchers at the University of Kupio [sic: it’s actually Kuopio] compared the effects of eating refined wheat bread with endosperm rye bread, traditional rye bread and high fiber rye bread on several markers of blood sugar control including plasma glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP1), and serum C-peptide in 19 healthy post-menopausal women. (GIP and GLP1 are incretin hormones secreted within the gastrointestinal tract during meals that boost the effects of insulin; c-peptide is a marker of insulin secretion) All of these markers were evaluated in blood samples taken both before and after the women ate each of the breads. Results showed that after the women had eaten any of the rye breads, their insulin, GIP and C-peptide responses were significantly lower than after they ate wheat bread. Among the different rye breads, however, no significant differences were seen in insulin and C-peptide response despite their varying levels of fiber. Researchers felt this lower after-meal insulin response could, therefore, not be attributed only to the fiber content of the rye breads, but was also due to the fact that the starch granules in rye bread form a less porous and mechanically firmer matrix than in wheat bread. This would translate into a much greater particle size being swallowed when rye bread is eaten compared to wheat, which would slow the rate at which the starch could be digested into sugar.

Notice that the Kuopio study was looking at refined wheat bread rather than whole wheat, which I would reckon would make a difference. Some of the rye breads were pretty low fiber too, but they had about the same beneficial effects as the high-fiber ryes.

All the better that this Bavarian bread is 100% organic. In choosing foods, it’s been important to me not only that the food satisfies my nutritional requirements but also that it be as whole & natural as possible. So, for example, I avoid eggs produced in factory farms that imprison chickens in cages 24/7 in favor of those produces by free-range chickens, & try to buy organic fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. as much as possible instead of anything that is prepackaged (no matter how “healthy” its packaging proclaims it to be) or which has been grown with pesticides & other stuff that makes food less healthy. We are trying to hook up w/ local farmers that we might be able to purchase raw milk from, as we believe that pasteurization kills a lot of the good enzymes & other healthy stuff that comes in raw products. I do eat a few prepackaged foods, mostly soups, but far less than I used to.

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