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Is Monocalcium Phosphate Bad For You?



Short answer

Monocalcium phosphate is not bad for you. As with many additives and foods, it can be harmful when consumed in excessive amounts.



Long answer

Monocalcium phosphate is a leavening agent, commonly used in the food industry to make baked goods rise. This important ingredient is made from minerals found naturally in the earth by causing a reaction, with a pure, food grade calcium source (such as calcium hydroxide) with phosphoric acid. This high-quality phosphoric acid is created from rocks of phosphate, which have to be mined, followed by a refining and purifying process.

The phosphate used to create this compound is sourced from phosphate rocks and is important for growth, as well as the repair and maintenance of body tissues. Both calcium and phosphorus are needed by the body for various purposes.

Monocalcium phosphate can be found among the ingredients in baking powder. It’s important for its ability to cause baked goods to rise. Monocalcium phosphate in baking powder reacts with baking soda producing carbon dioxide in the dough. As carbon dioxide is released inside the dough, it forms little pockets, which we see as spaces in bread and cakes. These little air pockets create the texture that helps make baked goods light and fluffy.

In the baking process, it’s critical that the rising happens at the right time. This means the carbon dioxide has to be released in a controlled way. If the timing of the carbon dioxide release is not perfect, the baked goods may be too dense or could crumble and fall apart. The monocalcium phosphate contributes to ensuring the process occurs at the right time to produce the best results.

Various types of baked goods require different amounts of leavening. Monocalcium phosphate is ideal because it works in different amounts, from very small quantities to larger amounts. It can be combined with other leavening agents for the perfect mix according to the type of dough needed.

Both calcium and phosphorus present in the leavening agent work together to build and strengthen teeth and bones. Calcium also contributes to maintaining the heart rhythm and, in turn, improves heart and muscle health. It’s doubtful that there’s sufficient quantity of either mineral in baking powder to have a positive impact on the body.

According to nutritional research, adults should get about 700 mg of phosphorus each day. However, an excessive amount of phosphates in the diet, particularly when contained in processed foods, can accelerate the appearance of aging, increase the risk of heart disease, and place undue stress on the kidneys. Thus, as with many additives or foods, it is safe when consumed in moderate amounts.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Monocalcium phosphate is on the list of foods generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

Possible long-term side effects

  • harmful to the heart in excessive amounts

Commonly found in

  • fertilizers
  • baked goods

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Written by DeeAnne Oldham | 03-25-2016

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Suggest improvement or correction

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