is the name given to milled rice
which has had its husk
, and germ
removed. This is done largely to prevent spoilage and to extend the storage life of the grain. After milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a seed with a bright, white, shiny appearance.
The polishing process removes important nutrients. A diet based on unenriched white rice leaves people vulnerable to the neurological disease beriberi, due to a deficiency of thiamine (B1). At various times starting in the 19th century many have advocated brown rice or wild rice as a healthier alternative. The bran in brown rice contains significant dietary fiber and the germ contains many vitamins and minerals (see whole grain). This is in contrast to the traditional view of brown rice, where it was associated with poverty and famine.
The simile "like white on rice" comes from the bright light color of white rice.
White rice is often enriched with some of the nutrients stripped from it during its processing. Enrichment of white rice with B1, B3, and iron is required by law in the United States.