Are White Sugar and White Rice Bleached?

I was asked a very interesting question today – are white sugar and white rice white because they have been chemically bleached?

it’s a good question – if chlorine bleach had been used in anything you ate it would obviously be a cause of concern.

And there have been cases of this kind of thing in the past. It used to be the case that decaffeinated coffee was decaffeinated with dichloromethane, a carcinogenic chemical that you certainly don’t want to be ingesting. At that time there was only one brand that was doing it a different way – HAG.

HAG coffee used supercritical carbon dioxide to decaffeinated their coffee. this was a more expensive process, the much safer as the CO2 quickly evaporated. So be other brands abandoned the dichloromethane and now also use supercritical CO2.

Back to sugar and rice.

As it happens, neither of these products have been bleached. The explanation for the white colour is simply the extra processing.

For sugar, all the brown stuff in brown sugar is impurities that are removed as part of the refining process. In other words, white is the natural colour of sugar crystals (sucrose). So it hasn’t been bleached – it has just been further purified.

And with rice, a similar situation is the case. If you take brown rice and polish it further, you eventually get back to white rice. In other words, brown rice is simply white rice with extra coatings on top. Once these coatings are polished away as part of the refining process, they become white.

Eo there you go – white rice and white sugar are perfectly safe to use. even if they may not be perfectly safe for your waistline.

10152cookie-checkAre White Sugar and White Rice Bleached?

5 thoughts on “Are White Sugar and White Rice Bleached?

  1. In my hometown, we grow 4 kinds of rice. Two kinds of sticky rice, one is white and one is purple (a little darker) and two kinds of non-sticky rice, one is brown-ish and one is white. What I am trying to say is white rice didn’t come from well polished brown rice

  2. Hello, just found your article. I am just diagnosed with contact allergy to persulfate but have also been advised to limit dietary sources of it. The dermatologist said that includes “white flour, white rice”. I know that white wheat flour is sometimes bleached, and that one can get unbleached versions of that. I have been searching for more information on the processing of white rice, and whether persulfate is ever used for “extra whitening.” I can not find any evidence for that use — which is good, because I hope to continue to eat some white rice in a gluten free, and now low nickel food plan (also just had the nickel allergy diagnosed, too). If you have any other information about possible chemicals used in white rice processing, I’d appreciate hearing about that. Thank you!

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