Whole-grain wheat, in particular coloured varieties, may have health benefits in adults with chronic metabolic disease risk factors. Twenty-nine overweight and obese adults with chronic inflammation (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) > 1·0 mg/l) replaced four daily servings of refined grain food products with bran-enriched purple or regular whole-wheat convenience bars (approximately 41–45 g fibre, daily) for 8 weeks in a randomised, single-blind parallel-arm study where body weight was maintained. Anthropometrics, blood markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and lipaemia and metabolites of anthocyanins and phenolic acids were compared at days 1, 29 and 57 using repeated-measures ANOVA within groups and ANCOVA between groups at day 57, with day 1 as a covariate. A significant reduction in IL-6 and increase in adiponectin were observed within the purple wheat (PW) group. TNF-α was lowered in both groups and ferulic acid concentration increased in the regular wheat (RW) group. Comparing between wheats, only plasma TNF-α and glucose differed significantly (P < 0·05), that is, TNF-α and glucose decreased with RW and PW, respectively. Consumption of PW or RW products showed potential to improve plasma markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in participants with evidence of chronic inflammation, with modest differences observed based on type of wheat.