Last Updated on April 16, 2022
Did you know that eating baking powder is deadly? That's right! Many people use it as a substitute for baking soda, but here's why you shouldn't!
Today, we will dive deep into this trending question, "Should you be eating baking powder?" We will discuss exactly what it is and why it won't have the same effects as baking soda does. And, we will have a look at some of the severe side effects that you could experience from ingesting it!
What Is Baking Powder?
If you have ever baked anything in your life, you have most likely come across an ingredient known as baking powder. You may even know that it is a common leavening agent used to help food items expand. But, what exactly is baking powder beyond that?
Baking powder is a type of chemical leavening agent that was developed back in the mid-1800s. It consists of a combination of acid and alkaline. When these two react with each other (once they are activated with moisture) they create carbon dioxide gas. These bubbles expand when heated (during baking) and cause the batter or dough to rise.
The alkaline used in this dry mixture is either carbonate or bicarbonate. And, the acid is often an acid salt or cream of tartar. Corn starch is commonly added to help prevent these from prematurely reacting with each other.
Eating Baking Powder - Is It Safe?
We have received an alarming amount of questions about whether or not it is safe to eat baking powder. The short answer is no! Under no circumstances should you eat baking powder.
So, why then do people ask this question? We think that there are two main reasons this question exists. These are the same reasons you shouldn't be eating baking powder.
The first is because we regularly ingest baking powder in baked items. The second is because they confuse baking powder with baking soda. So, look at each.
1. You can eat baking powder in food
Baking powder is a very common ingredient used in a ton of recipes. There are a couple of reasons why it is safe to consume in that manner;
- First, most of these recipes only require a couple of teaspoons. In this quantity, the baking powder is safe to ingest, especially because it is diluted with other ingredients.
- On the topic of dilution, not only is the baking powder diluted with other ingredients but it is used to make a big item. When distributed throughout a cake, you only ingest about an eight per portion (if you divide the cake into 8 slices). So, you aren't even ingesting all of the baking powder at once.
- And finally, the baking powder essentially becomes inactive after a certain amount of time. After it is baked and created the lift, it stops working. So, it won't cause any chemical reactions inside of your body.
2. People eat baking soda
Now, we also think one of the big reasons people think they should be eating baking powder is because many people drink baking soda. However, these two ingredients are not the same, so naturally, they won't react the same in your body.
Baking soda is an alkaline ingredient. Baking powder contains both an alkaline and an acid. So, baking powder will create a different chemical reaction in your body than baking soda will.
Many people consume baking soda for various reasons;
- Baking soda (an alkaline) may temporarily relieve heartburn (caused by an acid). The alkaline helps balance out the acid and creates a more neutral pH.
- It may reduce muscle fatigue in athletes when they do some intensive training.
- It is also said that baking soda can soothe canker sores, which form on the inside of your mouth.
So, Is Eating Baking Powder Safe? The Bottom Line
There isn't enough scientific evidence that baking powder is safe to consume like baking soda is. But, even if you can consume baking powder, it shouldn't be eaten by the spoon.
Bottom line, we wouldn't suggest eating baking powder or dissolving it and drinking it like baking soda. This ingredient will upset the natural pH inside of your body and can even cause you to overdose. Rather consult your doctor if you feel like you have an acid or alkaline imbalance.
Baking powder can be used in baked goods and ingested in that way. But never by the teaspoon and not even dissolved in water. It will also not have the same effects as baking soda will because it also contains an acid.
How to properly ingest baking soda
Now that we have definitively determined that your shouldn't be eating baking powder, let's have a look at how people ingest baking soda. Remember, these two ingredients are not the same, so don't substitute baking soda with baking powder.
When ingesting baking soda, you cannot eat it as-is. It has to be dissolved in water first. This will dilute the effects of baking soda and will make it less hazardous.
To make a glass of baking soda water, dissolve ½ teaspoon baking soda in 4 ounces of water. When drinking, slowly sip the water until you are done if you gulp it down, it may cause gas and even diarrhea.
Risks involved with eating baking soda (and probably eating baking powder)
Ingesting too much baking soda can have severe side effects. What we found especially shocking is that doctors refer to some of these as having an overdose! While there isn't any medical research done on the side effects of baking powder, we can safely assume that it would be similar, if not worse. This is because baking powder does contain baking soda.
Some side effects of consuming too much baking soda include constipation, diarrhea, becoming bloated, and frequent urination. You can also have more severe side effects like convulsions, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, and vomiting.
If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately call a doctor.
If anyone ever asks you if they should or even can ingest baking powder as-is, the short answer is a resounding no! Eating baking powder is extremely dangerous and won't have the same effects as drinking baking soda does.
So, rather stick to the advice of the medical professionals than mess around with your bodily pH. Trust us, you'll thank us in the long run! If you still have any other questions or would like to learn about another topic, let us know in the comments below!
Is baking powder safe to eat?
Baking powder should never be eaten. You also shouldn't dissolve and drink it. It isn't the same as baking soda and won't have the same minor benefits. And, even baking soda has some pretty severe side effects when consumed as-is or in too large doses. So, it is best to avoid eating baking powder completely!
How does eating baking powder affect health?
There isn't enough scientific evidence on the effects that baking powder will have on your health. However, when looking at baking soda (an element that baking powder contains) there are both pros and cons to consuming it. Baking soda may relief heartburn and muscle fatigue. However, when consumed in excess, it can cause you to overdose.
Why do people eat baking soda?
Baking soda has some minor benefits when dissolved and consumed correctly. But, it shouldn't be confused with baking powder. Baking soda can relieve heart burn, soothe canker sores, and help with muscle fatigue. But, in excess, it can cause vomiting, muscle weakness and spasms, and even convulsions.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.