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Purple Bread: A Potential Alternative To The Stigmatized White Bread?

Last updated June 2, 2016

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD MPH

Mandy Lee

Several studies have been conducted that reveal anthocyanin’s health benefits such as its ability to help prevent cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, and even cancer.


One may be in utter disbelief when he or she sees the words “bread” and “healthy” appear in the same sentence. Yet new types of bread could shift this common notion. White bread has long been known to spike blood glucose levels, correlate to obesity, and is often digested too quickly. However, one food scientist, Professor Zhou Weibiao, has added an uncommon food color to the traditional white bread, purple.

When anthocyanins are added to white bread, the compounds contribute to the purple color, but they also add antioxidant qualities. Anthocyanins are extracted from black rice, and due to a chemical reaction with the starch enzymes, they turn the bread purple. However, this compound is not only found in black rice. It is also a naturally occurring pigment found in fruits and vegetables like blueberries, grapes, purple cauliflower, and sweet potatoes.

Several studies have been conducted that reveal anthocyanin’s health benefits such as its ability to help prevent cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, and even cancer. The compound can even play a role in obesity and diabetes control due to its ability to impede digestive enzymes and decrease glucose levels.

Despite this purple bread’s inherent health benefits, it still has the same amount of calories and nutritional value as white bread. However, due to its ability to inhibit digestive enzymes and lessen glucose levels, the calories are used in the body for a longer period of time, which in turn is healthier.

You won’t find this purple bread on the market yet, but Professor Zhou indicates that marketing the product to major food manufacturers is in the works. For now, you can find these healthy naturally occurring anthocyanins in the produce department of your grocery store.

Written by: Melissa Pillote

References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 2, 2016
Last updated: June 2, 2016