Cream of Tartar Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

cream of tartar spilling from a teaspoon


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Winemaking does not only produce wine. Potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar) is the potassium acid salt of tartaric acid, which is naturally present during the fermentation process. The remaining sediment is removed and ground into a fine white powder commonly known as cream of tartar.

Cream of tartar is commonly used in baking as a component of the leavening agent baking powder, as a thickener, and to stabilize egg whites when making meringue. . Baking aside, cream of tartar also has been used as a home remedy for quite some time. Although there is no research to back the claims, people use it to cure migraines, help quit smoking, and clean their house.

Cream of tartar has a high content of potassium, which is where most of its health benefits come from. Cream of tartar is mostly used in small quantities. While there are claims about its potential health benefits, the claims are not backed up by scientific studies and ingesting too much can make you sick.

Cream of Tartar Nutrition Facts

Cream of Tartar is an ingredient commonly used in baking. The nutrition facts for 1 teaspoon (3g) of cream of tartar are provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 8
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 1.56mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.84g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 495mg

Carbs

Cream of tartar has 1.84 grams of carbs in 1 teaspoon. The carbohydrate in cream of tartar comes from naturally derived starch.

Fats

There is no fat in cream of tartar.

Protein

Cream of tartar has no protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Cream of tartar has trace amounts of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc. Cream of tartar contains 495 milligrams of potassium for every teaspoon. This amount represents 14% to 19% of the daily recommended value.

Calories

There are 8 calories in a 1-teaspoon serving of cream of tartar, coming from the carbohydrates.

Health Benefits

Many of the claims surrounding cream of tartar are not backed by scientific evidence. A quick Google search will tell you that cream of tartar relieves migraines, clears acne, and will even help you quit smoking.The problem is there is not a single study to prove these statements. Also, cream of tartar is used in such small quantities that it is hard to estimate if the amount typically consumed would make any difference to your health.

However, cream of tartar contains potassium and may provide health benefits associated with that mineral. Here is a closer look at some of the potential health benefits of cream of tartar.

May Promote Nerve Function

Potassium plays a vital role in fluid balance. If there is not enough potassium from your diet circulating, or too much potassium excretion, a condition called hypokalemia results. A potassium-rich diet is essential for the proper function of nerve and muscle cells, so hypokalemia could cause periodic paralysis in those areas if not addressed quickly.

Relieves Constipation

One study found that cream of tartar relieves constipation by acting as a stool softener and reducing intestinal transit time. Potassium bitartrate has been used as a laxative in suppositories in over-the-counter medications. Though people have been taking cream of tartar at home as a laxative, it may not be a good idea. Taking too much could cause hyperkalemia, a life-threatening condition.

May Lower Blood Pressure

Cream of tartar may reduce blood pressure thanks to its potassium content. Studies show that a potassium-rich diet will mitigate the effects of too much sodium and help improve blood pressure. On the other hand, too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by removing excess sodium from the body.

May Help Prevent Kidney Stones

Those with a history of kidney stones may benefit from a potassium-rich diet. Too much calcium may contribute to the formation of kidney stones, and several studies have shown that potassium helps with the absorption of calcium before it has a chance to make it to urine when stones are formed.

May Reduce Water Retention

Salty food is one of the biggest culprits of water retention. When there is too much sodium in the body, fluid balance will be off causing you to retain water. Getting rid of that excess could be as simple as drinking more fluids and eating plenty of potassium-rich foods—both of which will help increase urine and retain fluid balance.

Adverse Effects

The amount of cream of tartar used in food products and baking is safe. However, extreme ingestion of cream of tartar can cause hyperkalemia, a life-threatening medical condition in which you have too much potassium in your blood.

Two cases have been reported, where both used cream of tartar as a laxative and resulted in life-threatening hyperkalemia. Symptoms included vomiting, high serum potassium levels, and abnormal heart rate. Both cases were treated for hyperkalemia and recovered. If you or someone you love overdoses on cream of tartar, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Prepare

Cream of tartar is used in baking and cooking. As a food additive, cream of tartar has many purposes including acting as an anticaking agent, stabilizer, and thickener, and as a component of the leavening agent baking soda.

If your recipe calls for baking powder but you are all out, simply combine 1/2 a teaspoon of cream of tartar with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. This is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Recipes

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15 Sources
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