White bread differs from some whole grain breads in that lots of the good healthy fiber has been stripped away in the process, which makes it high on the glycemic scale on not much better than a sweet treat. And yet people continue to eat the stuff because it’s pretty delicious and has a softer, fluffy texture that just doesn’t happen with the more gritty, healthy breads.
But some scientists set out to see what they could do about this problem, and they actually came up with an interesting solution. The research was done at the National University of Singapore, where they found that they could use black rice to do it. Black rice contains anthocyanins, which is the pigment that gives it color as well as being a super great antioxidant. It is the same kind that is found in other foods like blueberries, grapes, and sweet potatoes.
When they extracted the anthocyanins and put them into white bread, they found that they had a reaction with the starch that slowed down the digestion rate by 20 percent. Of course that doesn’t mean that the bread is healthy exactly since the calorie and carbohydrate count is the same, but it does mean that the body will use the calories longer and have less of a spike to the blood sugar levels.
Even when the bread is baked with the anthocyanins in it the antioxidant level remains quite high. They tested it being baked up to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 percent of the antioxidants remained intact and usable by the body.
The bread is not yet available to be purchased anywhere, but manufacturing it is the next step in their plan. In the meantime, stick with whole grain breads that don’t have any added sugar. Buying whole grain bread can be a little misleading however, since many labels try to pass things off as healthy that aren’t.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a legal definition for what “whole grain” means, so the only thing you can really do is read the ingredients list.
If a bread is labeled “whole wheat” you can be sure that it is 100 percent whole wheat with no white flour, but if it is labeled “wheat bread,” “wheat flour,” or “100% wheat” it does not mean that it is whole grain. (All flour initially comes from the wheat, it’s the processing that strips the good stuff.)
The Whole Grains Council often puts a whole grains stamp on a product that contains at least 8 grams of whole grains, but they do not have to be 100 percent whole grain so that isn’t a great thing to go by.
And just because a bread is dark does not mean that it is less processed. Darker breads like rye and pumpernickel are often full of white flour, and sometimes they even have caramel added as coloring to make them look healthier. Don’t fall for it. Ingredient labels are always listed in order by weight, so skip anything that says “enriched wheat flour”…aka white flour.