purplebread
Purple bread, fortified with the antioxidant-containing compounds found in purple foods, could be the key to absorbing its starches more slowly. (Photo: gracechen/Flickr.)

Bread has become one of the most vilified foods in all of dieting history. Easy to consume, almost universally palatable, inexpensive and widely available, this staple of most American grocery shopping carts is one of the first things we cut out when trying to lose weight. Bread releases starch and sugar too quickly, causing blood-sugar spikes and preventing you from feeling full, which may contribute to overeating.

A food scientist in Singapore may have found a way to slow the body’s absorption of the sugar in bread, using an antioxidant-rich compound found in most purple foods, like blueberries, grapes and black rice. These anthocyanins contain health properties that make purple bread a smarter substitute for its white counterpart. Bread made with anthocyanins is absorbed 20 percent more slowly by the body, and the compound retains most of its nutritional benefits through the baking process. Plus it looks cool. It’s not a cure-all for your carbaholic urges, however.

“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.

While the effects of anthocyanins on metabolism haven’t been studied intensively, this development may be one small step toward a sandwich-friendly diet.