What about soy lecithin? Is soy lecithin good for you? These are questions we get often at Life Fitness Academy, and questions we have to answer ourselves, as it seems soy lecithin is in so many products these days. The answer isn’t always simple, especially when food production is involved. Hopefully after reading this article you will have a little better understanding about soy lecithin and a good approach to it.
Lecithin in and of itself is good for the body and the body manufactures it. Lecithin is produced by every healthy liver and it is a major part of the cell membrane. It can help transport old bad fats and replace with new, especially as the diet is being changed over and better fats are being consumed. It transports cholesterol and other fatty lipids. Lecithin is an emulsifier–it blends and absorbs things that sometimes cannot be blended. So for example, when making mayonnaise at home you emulsify the oil with an egg yolk because the lecithin in the yolk emulsifies the oil and then you can have the blend that is known as mayonnaise. It is found in all sorts of plants and foods including egg yolks, soybeans, sunflower, grape seed, wheat germ, whole grains, and more.
In food production, lecithin is used to blend, lubricate, coat, smooth, and mix other food ingredients. It is at least good to know that lecithin is safe and good, however, as always, we here at Life Fitness Academy recommend getting our nutrition from whole foods. It is best to get lecithin in whole food form, from egg yolks, or vegetables (soy should be fermented or sprouted–remember this article?). Lecithin as an extract in otherwise healthy foods or food products can be ok and healthy, but it depends on a few factors. First, it should not be genetically modified. Second, many people who have a sensitivity to soy, should still avoid soy lecithin, and look for lecithin from egg yolks or sunflower. Third, it is best when it has been mechanically separated, and not chemically separated. Lecithin can be bleached, refined, and chemically modified, just like anything else.
Personally, my approach to lecithin as an additive, and particularly soy lecithin, is to avoid it generally, but if it is in an otherwise healthy product that I want to have and it is not my regular practice, then I will have it without worry as it is non-toxic and in small amounts. Also, the types of products that I might consume that would contain it, would be from sources that are producing higher quality, non-gmo, and organic foods.
By: Tim M.