The Baking Soda Diet, Part 2

The quest for a magic pill to cure disease, lose weight, increase muscle mass or control any number of ailments seems to never end. Claims that “the latest discovery” is the answer to whatever problem is being addressed rarely deliver on their promise, and achieve success in only one area- separating people from their money.

However, in contrast, some commonly available, low cost commodities actually deliver on the claims made by their proponents. Local honey is one such commodity; although the documentation is largely empirical, consumption of locally sourced honey has been shown to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of a variety of allergies.

Baking soda is another “home remedy” that has been playing to rave reviews. As noted in The Baking Soda Diet ,regularly drinking a glass of water or juice with baking soda mixed in offers a number of health benefits ranging from reduced stomach pain to minimizing coughs and sore throat to improving kidney health. However, there are a number of cautions you should observe before starting a baking soda regimen.

There’s an old auto racing adage for anything that increases horsepower- if some is good, more is better and too much is just enough. If your view of food, beverage or any other ingestible follows that philosophy, STOP, sit down, take a deep breath and consider another old adage- too much of a good thing is still too much. The key to deriving maximum benefit from consuming a baking soda drink is moderation and proper timing.

Baking soda, which is a distinctly different substance than baking powder, is also known as sodium bicarbonate, sodium being the component of interest. Obviously, high rates of sodium consumption present a number of health risks, so consuming excessive amounts of baking soda is counter-productive. Additionally, anyone with edema, liver disease, kidney disease, or high blood pressure, on a low sodium diet or taking prescription drugs should check with his or her doctor before beginning a “baking soda diet”.

Baking soda is alkaline and therefore neutralizes stomach acid. While such neutralization can be beneficial, it must be timed properly. Stomach acid is an essential ingredient in the digestive process, so drinking a “baking soda cocktail” immediately before or after a meal is to be avoided.

As a general guideline, for overall health benefits, consider drinking a glass of water or juice with ½ teaspoon of baking soda twice day, between meals. Regular consumption of baking soda can alter your body’s PH, so before starting a baking soda regimen test the PH of your saliva or urine. Most pharmacies sell litmus paper that’s suitable for this type of testing. Urine PH is typically tested as part of a physical exam, and that information should be on the lab report given to you by your physician. If you do your own testing, do it at the same time each day, preferably in the morning before eating or drinking anything. The ideal range is between 7.0 and 7.5 for saliva and 6.0 to 7.0 for urine. (A PH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic, above 7 is alkaline.)

Your body’s PH level is a consequence of a variety of factors including diet and genetic traits. If your PH is excessively acidic, you may want to drink up to four “baking soda cocktails” per day. However, if you’re planning a long-term baking soda regimen, be sure to test your PH levels regularly to assure they stay within the desired range. Eating more vegetables and less acidic food is another approach to maintaining proper PH levels.

Among its benefits, baking soda is reputed to reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu, treat kidney stones and gout, control urinary tract infections, reduce heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, and enhance sports performance. Just keep in mind that each person’s body is unique and will potentially have a different response to baking soda consumption. In all cases, moderation is the key achieving your desired results, and it’s always wise to consult with your doctor before starting a baking soda regimen.