When used as a leavening agent, baking powder is great for making foods like muffins, cookies and quick breads rise. People need to know some brands have healthier ingredients than others do.
All types of baking powders are made with baking soda, a starch and an acid.
For the acid, something like calcium acid phosphate, cream of tartar, or sodium aluminum sulphate is most commonly used. Once the baking powder is combined with a liquid, whatever type of acid is in it will react with the baking soda. The release of carbon dioxide gas is what causes the batter or dough to rise.
To prevent the baking powder from absorbing moisture, starch is added. Usually this takes the form of cornstarch or flour. It will help keep the baking powder dry until you’re ready to use it.
Sounds pretty simple, and it is. In that case, what’s the problem?
In a nutshell, sodium aluminum sulphate is the problem. First off, many medical sources connect aluminum with health problems such as Alzheimer’s disease. The reason is because aluminum is a persistent neurotoxin, and has a tendency to accumulate in the brain and bones.
Even though aluminum is considerably less toxic than mercury, arsenic or lead, it is much more common in the environment making it more likely to be ingested.
How can we solve the problem?
We can’t avoid all the aluminum in our environment, but why use it in our foods? In respect to baking powder, it’s easy to avoid. How?
To solve the aluminum problem, all you need to do is to buy a product that uses a different sort of acid, such as monocalcium phosphate.
A lot of supermarkets carry Rumford’s baking powder, which is aluminum free. Bob’s Red Mill is another place that also carries an aluminum free type. (If you live in Canada, look for Magic Baking Powder.) There are many brands available – just be sure to check the ingredients to see there is no aluminum in whatever brand you buy.
There just isn’t any point in continuing to ingest aluminum when it’s so easy to change your brand of baking powder and avoid it.
Stay aluminum free, and eat healthy!