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.