Take a look at a few labels when you go shopping next; soy lecithin is in almost everything. So why is that bad?
You’ll find it in hundreds of products on the shelves of the grocery store today; soy lecithin is an ingredient used in such processed foods as cereal, pasta, breads, soy and milk alternatives, meats, tea, salad dressings, sauces, and dips. It is also commonly found in health supplements.
Soy lecithin is used so commonly in our food supply because it acts as an emulsifier. An emulsifier is used to make oil and water mix when they otherwise would not, and then it helps stabilize and keep the ingredients from separating later. It also prevents foods from becoming sticky. But there are potential dangers of consuming soy lecithin you should be aware of.
Let’s begin with how it’s made. Manufacturers take soybean oil from raw soybeans by using a chemical solvent. This soy oil is then mixed with water until the lecithin portion of the oil separates. This lecithin portion is taken and dried, and sometimes even undergoes a final processing step of being bleached with hydrogen peroxide. The exact composition of soy lecithin will vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but lecithin itself is made up of soybean oil and phosphatidylcholine, a type of phospholipid (or fat).
One of the reasons soy lecithin is best avoided is because almost all soy in our modern day comes from GMO crops. This means any soy or products derived from soy, such as soy lecithin, will be GMO and have all of the accompanying health dangers, including increased chance of cancer.
Furthermore, there is a component of soy known as phytoestrogen that mimics the effect of the naturally occurring estrogen hormone. These phytoestrogens act to either alter or decrease naturally occurring estrogens in the body. So when these phytoestrogens from soy are ingested, especially on a frequent basis, the risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer, is greatly increased. In men, these phytoestrogens can cause testosterone imbalance, infertility, low sperm count, and an increased risk of cancer.
Additionally, both soy and soy lecithin have genistein, which might have a detrimental effect to the reproductive system and lead to infertility. Some studies show that ingesting these compounds can lead to birth defects. A similar component found in soy and soy products is called goitrogens, an anti-thyroid compound that can disrupt the endocrine system and can lead to thyroid problems.
Soy lecithin is also usually contaminated with a number of pesticides and insecticides, and can cause allergies in sensitive individuals. Some of the most common side effects seen with taking soy lecithin include:
- Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea
- Weight gain
- Loss of appetite
- Low blood pressure
- Blurred vision
While soy lecithin is a very common additive in our current food and supplement supply, it can be avoided. If you must consume a food that contains soy lecithin, choose an option that is certified organic and certified non-GMO. Truly natural foods and more clean food items will contain natural emulsifying agents such as sunflower lecithin and even bee pollen and egg yolks. Sunflower lecithin is a better alternative than soy lecithin because it can be extracted without the use of harsh chemical solvents. A cold press system, similar to the process of extracting olive oil, is used to extract sunflower lecithin, making it much healthier. Plus it doesn’t contain GMOs and other problematic things.
Taking care to avoid soy lecithin will help keep the body in balance and avoid exposure to pollutants, pesticides, insecticides, GMOs, and the phytoestrogens that cause hormone imbalance and can lead to cancer and other health problems.
Our amazing team of Sunwarriors creates the healthiest Plant-Based Proteins & Supplements. Our mission is to nourish & Transform The Planet.
Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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