Natural remedies for weight loss have become a popular topic among those of us who have a bit of extra weight to lose. Baking soda can be a great all-natural method of helping you slim down and fit into your favourite pair of jeans again.
What is baking soda and how does it work?
Baking soda should not be confused with the similarly named baking powder.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, is a leavening agent which is commonly used in baking to help dough rise. For baking soda to be activated it requires both a liquid and an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar.
Baking powder, on the other hand, already contains the acidic ingredient and only requires a liquid to activate it.
What are the health benefits of baking soda and how does it promote weight loss?
Baking soda has a variety of health benefits. The below are just a few of the benefits and uses for baking soda.
1 – Enhance weight loss through improved exercise performance
If going to the gym, running, biking or exercising forms part of your weight loss plan, as it should, adding baking soda to your diet may enhance your performance.
A number of athletes add baking soda to their diets as a preferred supplement for high intensity training. During intensive training, running or exercising your muscles start to produce lactic acid and lowers the pH in your cells. This is what causes your muscles to burn and become sore and tired. As baking soda has a high pH level it counters the lowered pH in your cells during exercising and may help you to delay fatigue.
A study has shown that athletes who used baking soda did not tire as quickly and could exercise for around 4 to 5 minutes longer than usual. Longer endurance means that you can be more effective and therefore burn more calories every time you exercise.
Remember, the only way to actually lose weight is to have a safe calorie deficit, i.e. you burn more calories than you take in and your body then burns fat to make up for the loss.
As well as helping with endurance baking soda creates carbon monoxide in your stomach which makes you feel full and you therefor eat less. This means that you will not immediately want to grab a snack to combat the fatigue and hunger after exercising and your body will continue to burn fat for a while even after your session has ended.
Studies vary greatly on the amount of baking soda to use for enhancing your performance when exercising, but the one thing they all agree on is that you should take it at least an hour or more before exercising. Having cramps or intestinal discomfort during your exercise routine is the number one problem to avoid.
A healthy diet of low carbs, no sugar and low fat combined with exercise is the best way to lose weight in a healthy manner. And adding a bit of baking soda could definitely give you an extra boost.
2 – Acid reflux (also known as heartburn)
Overeating, stress or eating spicy or greasy foods can cause heartburn. This is when excess acid in your stomach pushes up into your oesophagus and causes a burning sensation in your upper stomach and into your throat.
Drinking a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a glass of cold water can help to neutralise your stomach acid and relieve heartburn.
3 – Bad breath and mouth sores
Some studies have shown that using baking soda as a replacement mouthwash can help freshen your breath and sooth painful mouth cankers found on the inside of the mouth. Using baking soda as a mouthwash promotes antibacterial and even antimicrobial properties, keeping your mouth healthy and fresh.
Use ½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in half a glass of warm water and swish as usual for better mouth hygiene.
4 – Whiten your teeth
Many studies have found that using toothpaste which contains baking soda is better for removing plaque and whitening your teeth. This could be because of the mild abrasiveness of baking soda which helps to break down the stains on your teeth.
Look for toothpaste which contains baking soda the next time you shop.
5 – Deodorant
Bacteria in your armpits break down sweat into an acidic waste product. It is this process that gives sweat its odour as sweat itself is actually odourless.
If you sweat excessively, try and pat some baking soda under your arms to neutralise the odour.
6 – Relieve sunburn and itchiness caused by bug bites
Baking soda is a popular remedy to sooth sunburn and to help reduce the itchiness caused by bug bites and bee stings.
For a soothing bath to reduce the effects of sunburn add 1 to 2 cups of baking soda to your bathwater and soak the sunburnt parts of your body properly.
For a smaller area, such as for bug bites, you can make a paste with baking soda and water and apply a thick layer to the affected area.
Baking soda and vinegar
A very popular belief is that mixing baking soda with water and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice will help curb your hunger. The combined effects of the baking soda, activated by the vinegar or lemon juice as your acid, and drinking more water could certainly aid in a feeling of being more satiated. This will assist with you eating less and sticking to your safe calorie deficit for weight loss.
Further benefits of drinking baking soda with vinegar or lemon juice is that it may aid in better metabolic function and a more balanced pH together with various other health benefits.
Baking soda and green tea
Green tea has been hailed as one of the healthiest drinks around for centuries. Studies have shown that, because of its high level of antioxidants and beneficial polyphenols, green tea can assist with skin health, weight loss and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Several studies have found that the catechins in green tea may have a positive effect on increasing your metabolism.
Combining the weight loss effects of both green tea and baking soda could have you see an improvement in your weight loss ability.
When is the best time to drink baking soda and how much is safe to drink?
The best time to drink baking soda is very early in the morning and on an empty stomach. This way you will have the benefit of its digestive effects the whole day. Make sure that you do not drink it too close to a meal as that will lessen the efficacy of the baking soda.
Add a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water or green tea. If you prefer to use vinegar or lemon juice you can add the juice from half a lemon to your water or an equivalent amount of apple cider vinegar.
Do not make it a daily habit to drink baking soda and never drink baking soda within two hours of taking any medication. If you suffer from any chronic disease, heart disease or are pregnant and/or breastfeeding, always check with your healthcare provider first before drinking baking soda in any form.
The dangers of baking soda and can it actually kill you?
According to Joe Graedon, M.S. and Theresa Graedon, Ph.D., consuming too much baking soda can blow out your stomach. There are around 15 cases in medical literature of people who ingested too much baking soda on an already full stomach which caused their stomachs to rupture. Having an already bloated stomach or a stomach filled with air, food and liquid could very well lead to a case of spontaneous gastric rupture.
Always apply moderation when using a natural product such as baking soda and always check with a professional before starting a natural or herbal regimen.
Baking soda has immense benefits on so many levels and has plenty of uses and, as long as you use it safely, it can be a great addition to a healthy weight loss plan.
- Ryan Raman, MS RD and Amy Richter, RD. 22 Benefits and Uses For Baking Soda retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/baking-soda-benefits-uses
- Carol DerSarkissian, Baking Soda Dos and Don’t’s, retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/baking-soda-do-dont
- Medically reviewed by Grant Tinsley PhD., Drinking Baking Soda For Weight Loss: Effectiveness and Safety, retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/drinking-baking-soda-for-weight-loss
- Westerterp-Platenga MS, National Library Of Medicine, Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation, retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20156466/
- Dave Asprey, A Daily Dose Of Baking Soda Can Treat Autoimmune Disease Study Finds. Here’s How To Drink It, retrieved from https://daveasprey.com/baking-soda-combats-autoimmune-disease-study/#ref-1
- John Staughton BASc, BFA, 9 Amazing Benefits Of Baking Soda And Lemon, retrieved from https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/baking-soda-lemon.html
- Joe Graedon MS and Theresa Graedon Ph.D., Too much baking soda can blow out the stomach, retrieved from https://www.bradenton.com/news/local/health-care/article205898349.html