Glycaemic and insulin index of four common German breads

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German-style breads are recommended as a lower glycaemic index (GI) alternative, yet little data is available. Our aim was to test the GI and insulin index (II) of four breads and rolls commonly consumed in Germany.


Four German bread products were tested for their GI and II in 12 healthy subjects according to the International Standard Organization guidelines.


Only the wholemeal rye bread with visible intact grains and sunflower seeds was identified as low GI (GI = 55). Both the wholemeal spelt wheat (GI = 63) and the rye wheat sourdough bread (GI = 62) were classified as medium GI, whereas soft pretzel was high GI (GI = 80, P < 0.05 compared with other products). The II of soft pretzels (II = 102) was also highest and differed significantly from wholemeal rye (II = 70) and rye sourdough bread (II = 72) but not from wholemeal spelt wheat (II = 77).


Contrary to popular belief, these German-style breads are medium to high GI, with the exception of the rye bread with intact grains and seeds. The results highlight the need to test, rather than ‘guestimate’, the GI of local products, and develop a broader range of low-GI breads.

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