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Purple Bread: The Healthier Version Of White Bread?

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A group of Singaporean food scientists have created the greatest thing since sliced bread — (sliced) purple bread.

The diabetic-friendly bread, created by Dr. Zhou Weibiao and his team at the Food Science and Technology Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS), gets its colour from anthocyanin, a naturally-occurring plant pigment. Anthocyanin provides the orange, red, violet and blue colours we see in our fruits and vegetables. For this new creation, Zhou extracted anthocyanin from black rice and inserted it into a regular wheat bread recipe.

According to CNN, the addition of anthocyanin allows the bread to be digested 20 per cent slower than white bread. Which means it will leave you feeling fuller, longer.

The difference in digestion time is due to a chemical reaction between the pigment and the starch during the baking process, NUS explained in a press release.

The release also noted anthocyanin has the added benefits of reducing the risk of obesity, neurological diseases and inflammation. And thanks to it's rich hue, it is also an indication of a high antioxidant count, which is linked to lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

"The challenge was to see if we could change the formula of bread, without changing the smooth texture of white bread that people really love," Zhou said to CNN. For example taro, which considered a purple superfood, can be used when baking bread (like the one below) at home but it might not have that familiar smooth texture.

bread made from taro

Nutritionally, however, the difference between white and purple bread is moot. Label to label, the breads look the same. "You are eating the same amount of starch and wheat flour, so the nutritional value is the same. The key idea here is slowing down the energy release, so you use those calories over a longer period of time," Zhou told CNN.

Channel News Asia reported that the team is now looking to commercialize the bread but they warn that prices will be more expensive than white bread, falling somewhere in the whole-grain territory.

Does this mean we can finally bread without feeling guilty anymore?

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