Rye grain vs Spelt: Which Is Healthier?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between rye grain and spelt, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the rye grain vs spelt comparison.
Michael Whaley, Health Writer

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on January 23, 2023.

Rye grain and spelt belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare rye grain and spelt and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.

Rye grain

Rye grain (Secale cereale) is a cereal grain that is closely related to wheat and barley.

It is a good source of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including B vitamins like niacin and folate, as well as minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium.

The high fiber content of rye grain has been linked to improved digestion, weight management, and lower cholesterol levels. It also contains a unique type of dietary fiber called arabinoxylan, which has been shown to have a prebiotic effect on gut health.

Rye grain is commonly used in bread making and traditional dishes such as rye porridge and crisp bread. It can also be milled into flour and used in baking or cooked and eaten as a side dish.

Rye grain is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.


Spelt (Triticum spelta) is an ancient type of wheat that is believed to have originated in the Near East.

It is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, and B-vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.

Spelt is commonly used in baking, particularly in traditional dishes such as bread and pasta. It has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor and can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in most recipes. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Spelt is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to have a positive impact on health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.

Spelt is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin E.

Rye grain vs Spelt Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing rye grain vs spelt.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of rye grain and spelt and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

Rye grainSpelt
Energy338 kcal338 kcal
Carbs75.9 g70.2 g
Sugar0.98 g6.82 g
Fiber15.1 g10.7 g
Protein10.3 g14.6 g
Fat1.63 g2.43 g
Saturated Fat0.197 g0.406 g

Rye grain vs Spelt Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing spelt vs rye grain for weight loss, rye grain and spelt contain the same amount of calories, 338 per 100 grams.

However, both rye grain and spelt can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Rye grain vs Spelt Protein

Grains and most grain products, including rye grain and spelt, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Spelt offers around 29% more protein than rye grain.

Spelt has 14.6 grams of protein per 100 grams, while rye grain has 10.3 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Rye grain vs Spelt Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in rye grain and spelt.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 8% higher in rye grain than in spelt. It has 75.9 grams per 100 grams, compared to 70.2 grams in spelt.

There’s less sugar in rye grain than in spelt, 85% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of rye grain contains 1 grams of sugar, while the same amount of spelt contains 6.8 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in rye grain and spelt.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 15.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams, rye grain is a better source of fiber than spelt which rye grain offers 10.7 grams per 100 gram portion.

Rye grain vs Spelt Fats

Like most other grains, rye grain and spelt are low in fat.

Fats in rye grain and spelt are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in rye grain and spelt:

  • Rye grain: 1.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Spelt: 2.4 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, rye grain is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Rye grain and spelt contain 0.2 grams and 0.4 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Rye grain vs Spelt Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of rye grain and spelt.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Rye grain has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B3 (Niacin), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

However, spelt has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Rye grain and spelt contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins rye grain and spelt contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

Rye grainSpelt
Vitamin A11 IU10 IU
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.316 mg0.364 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.251 mg0.113 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)4.27 mg6.84 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.46 mg1.07 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.294 mg0.23 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)38 µg45 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E0.85 mg0.79 mg
Vitamin K5.9 µg3.6 µg

Rye grain vs Spelt Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the rye grain and spelt comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Rye grain is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc than spelt.

On the other hand, spelt is a higher amount of potassium, and selenium.

Rye grain and spelt contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how rye grain and spelt compare when it comes to mineral content.

Rye grainSpelt
Calcium24 mg27 mg
Copper0.367 mg0.511 mg
Iron2.63 mg4.44 mg
Magnesium110 mg136 mg
Manganese2.58 mg2.98 mg
Phosphorus332 mg401 mg
Potassium510 mg388 mg
Selenium13.9 µg11.7 µg
Sodium2 mg8 mg
Zinc2.65 mg3.28 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between rye grain and spelt.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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