Professor Zhou Weibiao, a food scientist at the National University of Singapore says, “for the past 10 years, bread has been under attack”
According to current nutritional thinking, the normal white bread that we are used to is digested too fast, increases blood sugar levels and is linked to obesity. In other words, it’s bad for our health.
Zhou Invented Purple Bread
Zhou’s answer to this problem? He invented a purple bread which is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants, digested 20% slower than regular white bread, and made entirely of natural compounds, it is one baked good that is beneficial for our health.
Health Issues with Normal White Bread
The problem with our traditional bread is its high glycemic index which means its’ sugar content speedily gets into the blood stream, causing blood sugar levels to rise and crash. Furthermore, the starch that bread contains is digested rapidly, meaning that people often eat more bread than they should.
“The hardest part was to change the formula of bread, without changing the smooth texture of white bread that people are used to,” says Zhou.
How Zhou Does it- Anthocyanins From Black Rice
He decided to extract anthocyanins from black rice and use it in his bread. Zhou left out the rice’s starch properties.
“Despite its antioxidant capacity and its’ many health benefits, the knowledge of using anthocyanins as an ingredient in food products is very limited.”
Adding anthocyanins to the bread does not only turns it purple, because of chemical reaction with the starch enzymes, anthocyanins slows the digestion rate by 20%. What is more, 80% of the antioxidant qualities of anthocynins are maintained in the bread crust and crumbs when baked at 200 degrees Celsius.
“If you want to enjoy the texture of white bread and slow down digestion, this is probably the best way,” says Zhou.
“And the color isn’t bad, either.”
The color purple
Anthocyanin is a natural pigment that occurs in fruits and vegetables such as grapes, blueberries, and sweet potatoes, and it provides them with their natural colours.
“Although, not all purple fruits are healthfoods,” cautions Zhou, citing purple dragon fruit as an example.
While the purple bread is not yet commercially available, Zhou has been approached by major food manufacturers about bringing it to market.