Author Topic: How bad is baking powder?  (Read 15323 times)

Offline Selina

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How bad is baking powder?
« on: June 16, 2011, 06:25:48 AM »
I've noticed a few recipes around with baking powder/soda. How bad is it? And is there a paleo substitute?

Offline Paleo Curmudgeon

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2011, 07:25:01 AM »
Where have you seen those recipes?
Baking involves grains which is not paleo. I can't think of anything close to paleo that uses baking powder. Baking powder is a quick rise ingredient that is used in things like biscuits and waffles (whereas yeast is a slow rise ingredient used in baking bread).

The problem with baking powder is that it contains aluminum which has been linked to Alzheimer's.  A study of people who died from Alzheimer's showed that their brain tissue had a higher concentration of aluminum than people who didn't have Alzheimer's.  That preliminary research was done about 10 to 15 years ago and there hasn't been any follow-up research.  To be cautious I don't use baking powder or aluminum cookware. But, it is claimed that hard anodized aluminum cookware doesn't have that problem because the oxide coating is extremely hard. 

You can get baking powder that doesn't have aluminum in it. I just don't bake so I can't make any recommendations.

EDIT:  Baking Powder and Baking Soda are completely different.  Baking soda is plain sodium bicarbonate which can be used to brush your teeth, as an antiacid (read directions) and some people use it to clean their stainless steel cookware.  (I use Bar Keepers Friend).  However Baking Powder has baking soda as the main ingredient with cornstarch and  sodium aluminum sulfate, or sodium aluminum phosphate. 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 01:59:06 PM by Paleo Dude »


Offline greenchild

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2011, 03:38:01 PM »
just wanted to note that commercially prepared baking powder contains the above mentioned igredients.  You can make your own baking powder out of baking soda, cream of tartar, and arrow root.  Not exactly considered paleo since although a caveman could have, he probably wouldn't have taken the time to collect & mix them to get the specific result we use today.

Offline Selina

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 04:47:44 AM »
I've seen the recipes on Everyday Paleo and of course on the Internet.

Offline Lawbat

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 06:41:20 AM »
Have seen tons of paleo/primal recipes that include baking powder/soda. Many posted and referenced by big paleo/primal buffs.

Haven't tried it yet, but I think it might fall under the "it can't be THAT bad" portion of the diet range.



Offline Paleo Curmudgeon

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 11:58:56 AM »
Have seen tons of paleo/primal recipes that include baking powder/soda. Many posted and referenced by big paleo/primal buffs.

Haven't tried it yet, but I think it might fall under the "it can't be THAT bad" portion of the diet range.



Primal is not Paleo.   If a Paleo advocate publishes a recipe that has baking powder doesn't make the recipe paleo.

Offline avelin

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 03:58:42 PM »
Some of the people who follow the diets advocated by any of the well known people in the paleo and primal world will post 'baked' goods at their sites. The best of these recipes will use things like egg whites to incorporate air, and nuts and coconuts as flours or ground up. You will also come across 'foods' made with lots of seed products, cream cheeses, and chemical alternatives and shortcuts. You'll also find that people who post these recipes may well use lots of honey, maple syrup and (processed) stevia.

The guide should be that if you have to process or chemically make it, then don't use it. Baking powder is not naturally occurring and neither is stevia powder. If you want to take an hour then you could beat egg whites with a stick - but in the wild you would rarely have had the huge abundance of eggs that we have now. The idea of making paleo pancakes (as in Rob Wolf's book) is something that we might do now as a compromise of modern availability, lifestyle, knowledge and technology, but would have been far less likely as part of an evolutionary diet.

Sweet 'paleo  muffins' made with a rising agent (chemically processed), and nut flour (imagine grinding this up by hand) with loads of honey (this is possible but would have been a lengthy and dangerous undertaking) or stevia (the leaves are sweet to chew but you would have to use a lot of leaves and grind them up) seem less paleo the more you look at how you have to make them.

If you really, really want to make a neolithic style dish (and let's face it, we have the knowledge and the technology) then it's really best to make everything from scratch so you can really see how much stuff you are using and how much time it actually takes. It's also a good idea to make the dish without any sweetening at all (or at the most allow only about a half teaspoon of honey a serve) - that's a pretty good guide of where your taste buds are at and how far you are from paleo.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 04:41:42 PM by avelin »

Offline avelin

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Re: How bad is baking powder?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 04:19:08 PM »
Um additional point - I like Sarah Fragoso's site and it's good to be able to cook more paleo friendly meals AND get the family onside. If you are looking there (I saw the book was recommended to you) for ideas for the family, be aware that she uses baking soda (not baking powder). I know that by 'baking' your family will seem more like most of those around you. Somewhere in my journal you'll find that I posted that I'd made chocolate 'muffins'. (My granddaughter liked them and took some home... this was a big win for me as they were mostly nuts and egg white, with less than a half teaspoon of honey in each one.) I haven't made them since.

Be aware that as I've said, the site follows Rob Wolf's version of paleo. Some foods that we don't recommend here will be in the recipes as Wolf is more lenient about seeds and some flavourings.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 04:40:42 PM by avelin »