Anthocyanins, which are used as a food coloring, are widely distributed in human diets, suggesting that we ingest large amounts of anthocyanins from plant-based foods. Mice were fed control, cyanidin 3-glucoside-rich purple corn color (PCC), high fat (HF) or HF + PCC diet for 12 wk. Dietary PCC significantly suppressed the HF diet-induced increase in body weight gain, and white and brown adipose tissue weights. Feeding the HF diet markedly induced hypertrophy of the adipocytes in the epididymal white adipose tissue compared with the control group. In contrast, the induction did not occur in the HF + PCC group. The HF diet induced hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia. These perturbations were completely normalized in rats fed HF + PCC. An increase in the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha mRNA level occurred in the HF group and was normalized by dietary PCC. These results suggest that dietary PCC may ameliorate HF diet-induced insulin resistance in mice. PCC suppressed the mRNA levels of enzymes involved in fatty acid and triacylglycerol synthesis and lowered the sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 mRNA level in white adipose tissue. These down-regulations may contribute to triacylglycerol accumulation in white adipose tissue. Our findings provide a biochemical and nutritional basis for the use of PCC or anthocyanins as a functional food factor that may have benefits for the prevention of obesity and diabetes.