We get a lot of questions about rye and gluten: does rye have gluten? how much compared to wheat? and is it the same type of gluten as that of wheat?
While the short answers to the above are yes, less and no, we felt this is a topic definitely worth digging into...
Does rye have gluten?
Rye is one of the three major grains, alongside wheat and barley, that contain gluten. This makes the grain unsuitable for those suffering from Celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
Does rye have less gluten than wheat?
While varieties of grain and flour vary in their gluten content, rye tends be much lower in gluten than wheat or barley. This study has found, for example, that per 100g of flour, wheat tends to have around 8.92g of gluten, almost three times higher than rye at around 3.08g. This explains why rye bread does not rise as easily as and is usually denser than wheat bread. It’s important to note, however, that we are not comparing like for like here – wheat, rye and barley have different types of gluten with different characteristics.
Does rye have different type of gluten compared to wheat?
According to this study, rye contains a mix of gluten proteins called secalins, different in their profile and properties to gliadins, another gluten protein, found in wheat. The broad range of gluten-related disorders makes it difficult to weigh whether one type of gluten causes a harsher reaction than the other. However according to this study, in the case of Celiac disease, gliadins (the gluten protein found in wheat) are higher in toxic and immunogenic peptides, causing a harsher reaction in patients*.
While this is not a controlled scientific study in any way, anecdotally, we have heard from many customers that switching from wheat to rye helped them reduce or entirely eliminate symptoms associated with mild gluten intolerance, making it a suitable alternative for them to wheat. We believe it's a question of trying what works for you and adjusting your diet accordingly.
*Please note if you suffer or suspect to be suffering from Celiac disease, all sources of gluten need to be avoided.