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Robs Red Mill brand baking soda claims it is aluminum free. Do any brands contain any...

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ajack8167 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 19, 2012 at 3:05 AM via web

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Robs Red Mill brand baking soda claims it is aluminum free. Do any brands contain any amount of aluminum?

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wannam | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM (Answer #1)

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While the main ingredient of baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, some brands do contain a form of aluminum as well. (The link below can provide you with more information on why manufacturors put aluminum in baking soda.) While there are a lot of people talking about Robs Red Mill brand on the internet, I can find little evidence that this particular brand is any different than the others. Some claim that this brand does not use harmful chemical processes to produce the sodium bicarbonate, but, again, I see no proof of that. I checked my box of Arm and Hammer baking soda and didn't see any aluminum products listed. Of course, the FDA does sometimes allow certain addatives to be in a product without being specifically listed, but companies are usually required to note it in some fashion. For example, the label natural flavorings can include a certain amount of MSG; companies often want to hide the inclusion of MSG because it is has a rather poor reputation. As far as I can tell, there are many brands of aluminum free baking soda apart from Robs Red Mill brand. Sometimes manufacturers' market a product like this as different to try and persuade people to purchase their more expensive product over the competition. Of course, I do not know that this is the case here, but it is always wise to research whether that more expensive product is truly worth the extra cost.

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM (Answer #2)

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Aluminum is added to baking soda that belongs to a category called double-acting. This type of baking soda undergoes one reaction when the baking soda is mixed with the other ingredients and releases carbon dioxide and another reaction that releases more carbon dioxide when the product is being baked. The second reaction is activated by the heat during the baking process due to the addition of aluminum compounds.

The addition of aluminum makes baked products lighter and ensures that they rise more, even if the mixture of ingredients is placed in the oven after a considerable amount of time. But the presence of aluminum compounds in the baking powder gives an odd taste to many dishes and aluminum is also being linked to Alzheimer’s disease now. This has led many people to opt for aluminum-free baking powder.

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