Re: Extra salty taste of sodium bicarbonate - why?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by David Hare-Scott, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. "Cori" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > I took half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate in half a glass of
    > tap water for indigestion. I was surprised at just how salty it
    > tasted.
    > Unfortunately, my knowledge of chemistry is not good. Can I ask a
    > few questions about this? Thank you for any information.
    > I can state that my tap water is slightly alkaline.
    > ------
    > QUESTION ONE. Does sodium bicarbonate decompose in some way
    > during storage for a few years that would make my solution taste
    > more salty than usual?

    It is not decomposing in any unusual way, it is just the sodium ions in
    solution that taste salty the same as if they came from common salt (sodium

    > I saw there were some *particles* at the bottom of the glass which
    > did not dissolve. I Googled and saw that sodium bicarbonate is
    > said to be completely soluble in water.
    > QUESTION ONE. What compound would these particles be made of? I
    > added three times the orginal amount of water and stirred but
    > still the particles did not dissolve.

    It could be impurities in the original sodium bicarbonate or, as your tap
    water is alkaline, a comparitively insoluble salt thrown out of solution by
    the bicarbonate.

    I am guessing now (as I don't have time to look up the typical contents of
    alkaline tap water nor the solubility of the possible salts with sodium
    bicarbonate) but I would say calcium carbonate, whcih is quite harmless. It
    doesn't really matter as you will not get anything more harmful than the
    original water or the bicarb out of the combination of the two.

    BTW taking bicarbonate for indigestion is not a good idea in the long term
    as it is a bit too alkaline.