Cookies made of sodium bicarbonate and molasses cannot cure cancer. There is no scientific evidence that recommends it as treatment.
A recent post on Facebook claims that sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, when combined with black strap molasses, often used as a sugar substitute, becomes a "lethal poison to all cancers", and can eradicate cancers and tumors. The post describes a prepared combination of molasses and baking soda, calls it "cancer-killing cookies," and provides a recipe. The post suggests consuming cookies after two days of fasting, at which point the "cancer cells crave sugar"; the cells will ingest sugar and absorb the baking soda, which "kills" cancer. The post alleges, "the reason this works is that you've tricked the cancer into absorbing a chemical that poisons it without damaging healthy cells." It also claims that this cookie can be used as a preventive measure that will only target cancer cells with no side effects. Similar claims have been made online since 2018.
However, studies have shown no scientific evidence for this claim, and baking soda and molasses should not be used as alternative treatments for cancer.
Logically reached out to renowned oncologist and breast cancer specialist Professor Andrew Wardley, who said in an e-mail response that there is no evidence that consuming baking soda can 'eradicate' cancer.
There is an unsubstantiated theory that baking soda can be used to treat cancers since it is a fungal infection and tumors are what protect it. An article published in Cancer Research U.K. by science writer Lilly Matson on January 4, 2022, clarifies that cancer occurs through the mutation of body cells and is not an infection or fungus. A 2009 study published in Cancer Research states that trials conducted on mice showed that sodium bicarbonate could affect cancer cells by neutralizing the acidity in the environment surrounding the tumors, but there not a sufficient number of clinical trials have been conducted to regard it as a cure for cancer.
A 2020 study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies titled "Does Baking Soda Function as a Magic Bullet for Patients With Cancer? A Mini Review" noted that while sodium bicarbonate has the potential to neutralize acidity and increase the tumor pH, which might control the progression of cancer cells, there is no basis for the claim that it "kills” or "eradicates” cancer cells.
Baking soda is alkaline; therefore, people are often misled into believing that reducing acid levels in the body and making it more alkaline can cure cancer. However, while laboratory experiments indeed show that an acidic environment can help cancer cells grow, it is not known yet how it would happen in the human body, the article in Cancer Research U.K. adds. Moreover, even if it were true, this would mean that a person's diet could control the body's acidic or pH levels, Matson wrote. But pH levels are tightly regulated by kidneys that are maintained in a specific healthy range. Any extra acid or alkali from food is expelled from the body through urine.
The viral post also claims that these "cancer-killing cookies" can kill cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. However, an article by Cancer Research U.K. authored by Emma Smith on October 20, 2020, notes that all kinds of cells need sugar, and "there's no way of telling our bodies to let healthy cells have the glucose they need, but not give it to cancer cells." Additionally, the study says cancer cells multiply quickly, and they consume a lot of glucose to do so. So eating a lot of sugar in the form of these molasses can harm a patient by helping cancer cells multiply.
Baking soda is not used in cancer treatment, nor is there any scientific recommendation to do so. There are other approved treatments; the U.S. National Cancer Institute notes the combination of treatments for cancer, like surgery with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or hormone therapy.
There is no evidence that cookies made of sodium bicarbonate with molasses or any sugar substitute can cure cancer. There are other approved combinations of therapies and treatments available for cancer. Sodium bicarbonate should not be used as an alternative cure for cancer. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.