Baking soda is known for its wide array of uses, from deodorizing your refrigerator to whitening your teeth. Weight loss is one of its latest purported benefits.
Some people suggest that diluting baking soda in water, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice and drinking it on an empty stomach can help you easily shed excess weight. Others suggest that simply soaking in a baking soda bath will do the trick.
This article explores whether baking soda offers any weight loss benefits, as well as the potential risks associated with ingesting baking soda concoctions.
Does baking soda aid weight loss?
Claims abound that baking soda, when combined with water, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice, is especially effective at helping you shed excess body fat. However, there’s little science to back this up.
Likely has little direct effects on weight loss
Baking soda is touted to have alkalizing effects on the body, which are commonly believed to promote weight loss or prevent weight gain. However, this theory has been debunked time and time again.
That’s because your body uses tightly regulated processes to control its pH levels, and what you eat or drink has little influence on them (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).
Another theory suggests that adding baking soda to your bathwater will help you lose weight by replenishing your levels of magnesium and sulfate — two nutrients touted to boost your metabolism and eliminate toxins. Yet, this theory is not backed up by science either.
However, baking soda might soothe an upset stomach, as it has the ability to neutralize stomach acid (3).
This chemical reaction creates carbon dioxide, which is a gas that can cause you to burp. While this may give you a feeling of a lighter stomach, it has no direct influence on your total body fat.
May have minor, indirect effects on weight loss
Baking soda may have an indirect weight-loss-promoting effect, mainly due to the liquid you choose to mix it with.
One popular option is to mix baking soda with apple cider vinegar, a liquid that older research shows may help you feel less hungry. However, recent studies supporting apple cider vinegar’s weight loss effects are limited (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Baking soda is often diluted in water, either alone, or together with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
When consumed daily, such beverages may result in larger daily fluid intake. This may improve your overall hydration levels, an effect that studies suggest may reduce hunger, increase metabolism, and promote body fat loss (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
It’s important to note that these possible weight-loss-promoting effects have little to do with baking powder and more to do with other liquids. Adding baking soda to the mix appears to offer few additional benefits.
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There are three popular methods that people use to incorporate baking soda into their daily routines.
The first involves diluting 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in 1–2 cups (240–480 mL) of water and drinking this concoction on an empty stomach whenever it’s most convenient during the day.
The second requires mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Once this mixture has stopped releasing gas, you can dilute it in water and drink it on an empty stomach.
Diluting is important to avoiding throat burns or eroding your tooth enamel, as the exact acidity is unknown (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
An alternative way to integrate baking soda to your regimen without ingesting it is to dilute 3–4 cups (662–883 grams) of baking soda in a bathtub full of water prior to soaking in it.
Keep in mind that neither of these preparation methods’ safety is backed by science, so use them at your own risk.
Is it safe?
Excess intake of baking soda is associated with a range of side effects.
Consuming large amounts of baking soda can be risky, as it may cause metabolic acidosis, a life threatening condition that occurs when your body is no longer able to control the pH of your blood (12Trusted Source).
Metabolic acidosis can result from an excess intake of alkali compounds, such as baking soda, and cause muscle weakness, spasms, an irregular heartbeat, and an altered mental status. If left untreated, it can be deadly (13Trusted Source).
High blood pressure and other health effects
Baking soda tends to be high in sodium. As such, high intakes of baking soda may cause high blood pressure, fluid accumulation, or even heart failure in some people. People with alcoholism or compromised kidney function should be especially careful (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Baking soda may also cause breathing difficulties and seizures in young children, and it should not be given to children under 5 years old. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may also benefit from avoiding its intake (15Trusted Source).
Combining baking soda with an acid, such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, causes a chemical reaction that releases carbon dioxide gas. This may result in gas or bloating, especially if you ingest the mixture before all the gas has escaped.
Medication interactions and long-term safety
Baking soda may interact with certain medications. People currently taking medications should consult their healthcare provider before adding baking soda to their diet (3, 16Trusted Source).
Finally, there’s currently little information about the long-term safety of ingesting baking soda, either alone or in combination with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Therefore, it may be safest to avoid such mixtures until more research emerges.
Soaking in a bathtub containing baking soda may be safer than ingesting it. However, no studies have researched the benefits or risks associated with this practice.
The bottom line
Baking soda is touted to help you lose weight, but there’s little scientific evidence backing this claim.
Ingesting large amounts of baking soda diluted in water, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice is associated with multiple potential health risks. Moreover, little is known about the long-term safety of ingesting these concoctions.