What Is Soy Lecithin?
- Thursday, 04 August 2011
Q:What is soy lecithin? It seems to be in everything!
A: Soy lecithin is added to many processed foods and snacks as an emulsifier. Lecithin is a lipid (or fat) found naturally in animal and plant tissues. Although lecithin is a fat, it is also partially soluble in water, which makes it an ideal emulsifying agent for processed foods. It can be extracted from various sources (egg yolks and bee pollen, peanuts, wheat, and oatmeal), but soy lecithin is the most common source. The questionable part of "soy lecithin" is simply the soy. The quality of the soybeans used to product soy lecithin is an important consideration. If the soybeans are not organic, then the soy lecithin produced from them will likely contain herbicides and pesticides, and most soybeans are genetically modified, which is an additional concern. If the soybeans used to make soy lecithin are organic, the product will list “non-GMO organic soy lecithin” on the ingredients list. Although there have been limited reports of allergic reactions to soy lecithin, soy (and all of its by-products) is one of the most common allergens. Some of the side effects that have been reported from the use of soy lecithin include gastrointestinal upsets (especially diarrhea), loss of appetite, itchy skin, headaches, bad breath, and difficulty breathing.