Weekly Tip: How Damaging is Baking Soda to Vegetable Nutrients

 “We all eat & it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” ~ Anna Thomas

 How Baking Soda Damages Vegetable Nutrients

Preparing for this post involved an at home science experiment. My husband, who helped me, even gave me permission to refer to him as a geek. His favorite expression is, “I’m a geek and proud of it.” I’ll get back to the experiment in a moment.

What prompted all this research was an article in The Boston Globe Magazine that asked the question, ”Just how damaging is baking soda?” This was a postscript that referred to a green bean recipe calling for the use of baking soda, as a tenderizer, in the bean’s cooking water.  Another reason people add baking soda is to retain the vibrant color of the vegetables.

Box of Baking Soda

Roberta Star Hirshon stated, “I was taught in nursing school to never add baking soda to cooking vegetables because it destroys the nutrients.”

The magazine contacted Guy Crosby, the science editor for America’s Test Kitchen, and co-author of The Science of Cooking. He stated that cooking food with baking soda (a.k.a. sodium bicarbonate) destroys the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Riboflavin and
  • Thiamin

The other fascinating bit of information in the article was the fact that many public water supplies add sodium carbonate to their water. This brings me back to that science experiment we all performed in school, and that I replicated in my kitchen.

Below you see the reaction between vinegar (an acid) and baking soda (an alkaline). If you are interested in the scientific explanation for this reaction, go to this Big Brain Science article.

Baking soda and vinegar experiement

This experiment shows that when you add an alkaline to an acid, you neutralize the acidity. This is why public water supplies are adding an alkaline to our drinking water.

According to the World Health Organization, our drinking water should have a PH of between 6.5 and 8. An interesting article about the current alkaline “water fad” can be found at mercola.com.

I hope you found this “geeky” post informative.  I had fun stepping out of my non-science mode.

In summary, what I want you to take away from this post is the following:

  • In order to preserve nutrients, do not add baking soda to the cooking water.
  • Request a copy of the most recent test report from your local water supplier so you know the quality of your drinking water.

Here’s to living the healthiest of lives.

Patricia Rio
This entry was posted in Weekly Tips. Bookmark the permalink.
Print Friendly