The most popular leavening agents in the baking industry are yeast and baking powder. They realize almost the same result in bread and pastry. They both incorporate carbon dioxide gas bubbles in the dough and help it to rise thereby, leading to a fluffy and airy end product.
But, are the two agents at parity when it comes to matters of health?
Yeast is far much healthier than baking powder. It derives its carbon dioxide gas through a biological process of fermentation. On the other hand, baking powder is made with chemical compounds such as sodium bicarbonate. The chemicals undergo an acid-base reaction to produce carbon dioxide gas.
However, not all these chemicals are used in the process of reaction. Some end up in the consumer’s body system, accumulate and alter the normal body functions.
However, the effects of baking powder may not manifest at once. Through regular long-term use, the body becomes toxified with the accumulated chemicals. It is at this point that you will start to experience various signs and symptoms.
Health effects of yeast
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the single-celled fungus that forms the baker’s yeast is known for various health benefits. It is rich in protein, folic acid, fibers, and several other B-vitamins.
When used as a leavening agent, the vitamins in the yeast immensely improve the immune function of the body. The yeast in the bread will keep your digestive system in balance.
It aids in the absorption of various minerals and vitamins from the ingested food. Several studies are also underway to determine whether yeast can be used to kill carcinogenic cells.
However, too much yeast in the body can be detrimental to your health. First, you will hear your clinician telling you to avoid gluten and yeast content in your food when you are a victim of candidiasis. The question, why so?
During the baking process, yeast uses the sugary part of the bread to produce some forms of alcohol. Usually, the yeast is at its optimal state at a temperature range of between 78-120oF.
It dies at a temperature range between 120-140oF. The cooking part of the baking takes place at around 190-210oF. Meaning, at the moment when the cooked product is left to cool, all the yeast is dead. Therefore, there are no strains of yeast left in the baked bread that clinicians can account for.
Elsewise, yeast in the dough does not entirely consume the sugary part of the dough. The sugar forms part of the final product.
Candida’s growth can also be caused by low-fiber and high-fat diets. It is common among people with the low immune system, stress or those under drugs such as pregnancy pills, antibiotics, and steroids.
Otherwise, yeast-leavened products do not contain any strain of yeast. And, baker’s yeast does not trigger the growth of candida nor in any way related to it. The only yeast that can accumulate in your body and affect your health is the candida.
Health effects of baking powder
Unlike baking soda, baking powder has sodium bicarbonate and the additional acidic part. The two acids (monocalcium phosphate and either sodium aluminum sulfate or sodium acid pyrophosphate) react with the sodium bicarbonate in the powder to form Carbon dioxide bubbles.
This is usually an extended chemical reaction that is entirely chemical.
Everyone will tell you that using baking powder in chemical leavening is non-toxic. However, a few people will tell you that this reaction leads to the production of salts as a byproduct.
These are either in the form of sodium sulfate or aluminum hydroxide. During the cooking process, these products crystallize to form solid salts.
However, you will realize that in the normal baking process, what is used is very negligible. For example, assume that you have used 4 tbsp of salt to produce 20 cakes. Out of these cakes, you only eat 2.
That is very negligible in quantity. But, with regular long term use, the salts in the two cakes will accumulate in your body until it reaches a moment when the body cannot contain them any further.
This rate of accumulation depends on how often you eat the finished products and the amount.
Some of the effects of overuse of the chemically leavened bread include; increased risks to high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
Some other effects include risks to stomach cancer, kidney stones, headaches, enlarged heart, and osteoporosis. In general, with increased blood salt levels, you will always look old.
When the baking powder is used with egg ingredients, the protein in the egg gets denatured by the intensified heat.
This deprives the final consumer of the basic nutrients that could otherwise be used for nutritional benefits.
It is a basic assumption that everyone is a chemical. We eat chemicals, drink chemical and talk chemical. And, that we need chemicals in negligible amounts for good nutrition and body health.
That is very right. Since salts are naturally occurring, so are the chemicals in them.
Few differences exist between chemical and biological leavening as far as health is concerned. The effects can only manifest during the old phase of your life since the amount of salt intake is very negligible.
However, the effects in chemical leavening can be triggered by conditions such as those that require reduced sodium intake. If your doctor directs you to reduce the salt intake, it is better to go for the yeast products. Better still, you can choose to work with unleavened bread.
Finally, learn to stick to the amounts in your recipes. By overdosing the recipe with the chemicals, you are not only increasing your risks to increased sodium intake but also the rates of carbonation. Otherwise, biologically finished products sit well in the stomach.