Is baking soda toxic?
I do not intend to eat boxes of baking soda everyday, but it is a very attractive means of leavening raw recipes.
I could, in theory, add baking soda and lemon juice or baking soda and apple cider vinegar to one of the many, flat, hard raw "bread" recipes out there and come up with a more bread-like texture.
Surely, I am not the only raw fooder to think of this, but. gauging by the other recipes, I am the only one considering it. Why? Is it bad for you?
Google is not turning anything up.
Main issue with baking powder is the aluminium content.
The problem is that, unfortunately, the terms 'baking soda', 'baking powder', and 'sodium bicarbonate' are, all too often, used interchangeably. This is a disgraceful state of affairs, and health conscious individuals such as you and me need to be very careful that we ensure the sodium bicarbonate we may use is aluminium-free.
'Bob's Red Mill' is one brand that are very explicit about this distinction in their products, so they're a good brand to go for.
Thanks for the info. Some baking powders contain aluminum, yes. Baking powder is two stages. The first stage is usually sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and some sort of powdered acid like cream of tartar. Stage 1 is activated by water (sodium bicarbonate, plus acid, plus water creates bubbles). The second stage of baking powder is the aluminum part (in some brands). The 2nd stage is heat activated. In our raw food recipes, the 2nd stage is a waste. Ther is no need to use baking powder in raw recipes.
I am asking soecifically about baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).
Some people taking baking soda every morning to make their system alkaline. I don't think raw Fooders do this, but the inference is that baking soda may be good? (Sounds like bs to me)
Well, my view is that people who consume sodium bicarb on a daily basis, for the supposed goal of 'alkalinising' the body have been sold a bill of goods; not uncommon in certain quarters of the raw foods movement (anyone remember the 'Adya Clarity' debacle, for example?). There are a lot of notions propagated within the raw foods community which have come to be accepted as 'wisdom' or 'fact' but (in spite of possible good intentions) have dubious scientific foundations, at best.
Sodium Bicarb is basically harmless, in moderation, but consuming it daily, one runs the risk of an accumulative electrolyte imbalance. I came close to this once with sodium ascorbate (which is ascorbic acid reacted with sodium bicarbonate, to yield close to neutral pH) so I do know the reality of this risk, from real firsthand experience, not just theory or opinion.
Too much sodium intake is not good for the body, even if it's in the bicarbonate form.
No mineral is healthy in excess, no matter how healthy it may be in the correct amounts, and no matter whether the mineral in question happens to be acid or happens to be alkaline (for instance, I also occasionally remark upon the risks of hypermagnesemia for people taking large doses of Epsom salts during liver flushes: http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/showthrea...999#post694999 ).
Electrolyte imbalance is an extremely serious condition. Even half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate each day can, over time, potentially lead to problems, although every person's overall mineral reserves, and rates of excretion, will, of course, vary.
And that's before one even gets onto the topic of so-called 'alkalinisation' of the body. That's a real can of worms, that could cover pages and pages, so I'll stop before I ruffle people's feathers! ;-). At the very least, your stomach will struggle to maintain appropriate levels of acidity if a continual intake of highly alkaline sodium bicarbonate is taken each day, but there are many, many other potential ramifications.
Suffice to say, you'd be wise to consume sodium bicarb only if you genuinely need to, and even then only in moderation, but it's your body and you have every right to ignore my advice, since I am not a doctor.
I wish you the best of health, whatever you decide.
If you only intend to use sodium bicarb for the purposes of leavening bread, then chances are you'll be absolutely fine and let's face it, most of the human population of the Western world survive alarming amounts of salt in their unhealthy diets (including commercial loaves of bread). Therefore, for your particular requirements, I don't foresee any problems. I've just discussed a few potential surrounding issues in this answer because, as I've remarked, there are some strange ideas about sodium bicarb in the raw foods movement, so it was an opportunity to discuss them.
Last edited by Arky; 12-06-2012 at 07:12 PM.
Thanks Arky for answering my question and the thoughts on sodium bicarb.
My body has become pretty sensitive to "bad things". I have experimented with baking soda in some of my recipes. I have not had any issues with it.
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