[Nutrition] – What the heck is Soy Lecithin, and Should I Avoid it?

As a beginner paleo follower I was the worst in the grocery store. I had scraps of paper or lists stored into my phone of things that I could and could not eat. I would read the label, consult the scrap of paper, read another item, consult the scrap of paper again… it too forever for me to get any shopping done. As my confidence and knowledge grew, I started to need the paper less and less, but there was always one ingredient that I would see at the end of the list of ingredients that killed more than one sure thing. Soy Letchin. this ingredient shows up in lots of places including the wrapper of most dark chocolate. (not that I have ever checked of course. ;))

I have generally tried to avoid it, as it has soy, soy is a legume, and I have read that it has estrogenic effects, so those are two good enough reasons for me. But as I was browsing over at Chris Kresser’s site, I noticed that he has put together a very in-depth article about all of the things to think about before consuming soy lecithin. It turns out that soy lecithin is a mix of soybean oil and type of¬†phosphatidylcholine. The soybean oil is lovingly extracted from soybeans using a hexane extraction (read solvent, think gasoline). I’ll let you read the full article if you need any of the finer details…

The are several things that make soy lecithin not good for you, including the use of hexane to extract it, as well as the two reasons that I stated above. However, the dose that you are exposed to in food is incredibly minimal so it may not be the end of the world if you consumed a bit of it. So the summary of the article concludes that unless you have a soy allergy it probably isn’t a big deal to consume foods with soy lecithin, but at the same time, if an alternate product is available without the soy lecithin in it, why take the risk?

Check out the complete article for all of its science-y goodness for more details.

Harmful or Harmless: Soy Lecithin | Chris Kresser

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