Harmful or Harmless: Soy Lecithin

78617919Soy lecithin is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply. It’s used primarily as an emulsifier, and you can find it in everything from salad dressing to tea bags. Paleo dieters avoid the brunt of it by eliminating most processed foods, but it almost always pops up in chocolate (everyone’s favorite honorary Paleo food) and often appears in supplements.

I recommend avoiding soy as a general rule, but consuming small amounts of soy lecithin as an additive is very different from, say, eating a soy burger  topped with soy cheese or drizzling soybean oil on your salad. This article will probably be more than you ever wanted to know about soy lecithin, but I wanted to do my best to get all the facts out on the table.

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What is Soy Lecithin?

The term ‘lecithin’ can have different meanings depending on the context, but for our purposes, it refers to a mixture of phospholipids and oil. Phospholipids are a component of the cell membrane in all plants and animals, but lecithin is most often derived from sunflower kernels, rapeseed (canola), milk, soy, and egg yolks. (1)

The specific composition of soy lecithin varies depending on its manufacturer and intended use, but on average, it contains about 35% soybean oil and 16% phosphatidylcholine. (2) Phosphatidylcholine is a type of phospholipid that is abundant in liver and egg yolks, and is the primary form of choline found in foods. (3) The remaining percentage is other phospholipids and glycolipids.

To make soy lecithin, soybean oil is extracted from the raw soybeans using a chemical solvent (usually hexane). (4) Then, the crude soy oil goes through a ‘degumming’ process, wherein water is mixed thoroughly with the soy oil until the lecithin becomes hydrated and separates from the oil. Then, the lecithin is dried and occasionally bleached using hydrogen peroxide.

There are many claims online about soy lecithin being full of nasty chemicals left over from the production process. Not surprisingly, there aren’t many credible sources describing the chemical content of commercial soy lecithin, but I have found some relevant data about the safety of soy lecithin.

Before the ‘degumming’ step where lecithin is removed, the crude oil undergoes a multi-step process to remove the hexane. (5) However, it appears that the FDA doesn’t regulate the amount of hexane residue in food products, and one paper estimated that the residual hexane concentration of soy oil is 500-1000ppm. (6) So, it’s very possible that similar concentrations remain in the soy lecithin. (For comparison’s sake, the concentration limit for hexane in pharmaceuticals is 290ppm.) (7)

According to one analysis, total pesticide residues in crude soy oil are around 400ppb. (8) Since the pesticide concentration of the oil after degumming is similar, it’s pretty likely that some of those pesticides end up in the lecithin as well.

While it’s unfortunate that soy lecithin likely contains pesticides and solvents, I would just encourage you to keep this information in perspective. We’re exposed to hundreds of chemical toxins every day in our air, water, household products, and food, and contaminants in soy lecithin will contribute only slightly to your overall toxic load. After all, we’re talking parts per million and parts per billion, and soy lecithin itself usually makes up no more than 1% of processed foods. (9)

Of course, in an ideal world, we would be able to avoid these things altogether, and I certainly recommend reducing your exposure as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to make sure your detox systems are functioning effectively. But unless you have a severe chemical sensitivity to hexane or pesticides, occasionally consuming small amounts is not worth getting bent out of shape over.

Allergies

Soy allergies are triggered by soy proteins, so whether lecithin triggers an allergic response or not depends on its protein content. One analysis found protein concentrations ranging from 100 to 1,400ppm in six different soy lecithin samples. (10) (For reference, the new FDA gluten-free labeling law requires a gluten concentration of less than 20ppm.) (11) Another analysis of six different lecithin samples found that four had sufficient protein to trigger an IgE-mediated response in people with soy allergies, while two contained no detectable protein at all. (12) However, another study performed similar testing and concluded that even if protein is present in soy lecithin, it’s not a significant allergen for people with soybean allergies. (13)

It’s clear that the source of the soy lecithin is a major determinant in whether or not it will present a problem for those with soy allergies, but if you have a soy allergy, I’d say better safe than sorry. However, because protein is present in such a low concentration, and soy lecithin itself usually makes up no more than 1% of processed foods, it’s probably not a problem for those with minor sensitivities to soy.

GMO

Most of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified, so unless the label says ‘organic soy lecithin,’ it probably came from a genetically modified soybean. You know I’m not a fan of GMOs, due to the presence of potentially transferrable DNA and potentially immunogenic proteins. However, as I discussed in the section on allergies, soy lecithin contains very little soy protein, and lecithin from some sources contains no detectable protein at all. Soy lecithin also contains very little DNA, and the DNA present is usually degraded to the extent that it’s impossible to tell whether the soy is genetically modified or not. (14) Thus, most of the risks associated with consumption of GMOs aren’t relevant for soy lecithin, and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

Phytoestrogens

Soy is the greatest food source of phytoestrogens, and one group of researchers discovered significant estrogenic activity in soy lecithin. (15) Interestingly, none of the soy lecithin they tested contained genistein, which is the predominant phytoestrogen in soy. They concluded that “a so-far unidentified estrogen-like compound” is present in soy lecithin that accounts for its estrogenic activity.

We know how problematic phytoestrogens can be, but again, the dose makes the poison. Remember, soy isn’t the only source of phytoestrogens we’re exposed to. (Did you know that flaxseed is also a significant source of phytoestrogens? In fact, one study showed that supplementation with ground flaxseed altered estrogen metabolism even more than supplementation with soy flour.) It’s definitely best to keep phytoestrogens to a minimum, and individuals dealing with cancer or fertility problems might want to avoid them more strictly. But for most generally healthy people, the small amounts of phytoestrogens from soy lecithin shouldn’t be a problem.

Toxicity

One study that has been used widely as ammunition against soy lecithin is titled “Effects of a Commercial Soy Lecithin Preparation on Development of Sensorimotor Behavior and Brain Biochemistry in the Rat.” Researchers found that soy lecithin in concentrations of 2% and 5% in the diets of pregnant and newborn rats resulted in impaired reflexes and swimming ability, along with other cognitive deficiencies.

It’s important to understand that these effects are due to choline toxicity, not soy lecithin per se. The elevated brain/body weight ratios, plus elevated acetylcholine and choline acetyltransferase levels that resulted from soy lecithin supplementation were caused by the phosphatidylcholine, and would’ve still occurred even if they had used a source of phosphatidylcholine other than soy; even egg yolks.

It would be very difficult to consume as much choline as these rats did, especially from soy lecithin. In fact, most people are deficient in choline! This is just another case of a study being misinterpreted, and you certainly don’t need to worry about soy lecithin causing developmental problems.

Therapeutic Uses

I believe I’ve covered all of the main concerns about soy lecithin, but it’s worth mentioning that soy lecithin is also being recommended and consumed as a dietary supplement. There is a growing body of research supporting its use for improving blood lipids, reducing inflammation, and treating neurological disorders. (16) For instance, one study found that after 2 months of supplementing with 500mg of soy lecithin per day, total cholesterol levels fell by 42% and LDL levels decreased by 56%. (17)

However, most of these studies involve supplementation with a purified form of soy lecithin, which usually contains less soy oil and more phosphatidylcholine than the commercial soy lecithin that shows up in foods. Additionally, isolated phosphatidylcholine is often referred to as ‘lecithin’ in scientific contexts, so some studies supplementing with ‘soy lecithin’ are really just supplementing with phosphatidylcholine.

So once again, it’s not the soy lecithin; it’s the choline. Luckily, you can derive all the benefits of phosphatidylcholine supplementation just by increasing your consumption of choline-rich foods like egg yolks and liver.

So, what to do?

The only people who need to make a point of avoiding soy lecithin are those with severe soy allergies or chemical sensitivities, and of course, those who notice that they personally react badly to it. And if you don’t have a soy allergy, almost all of the remaining concerns about soy lecithin (pesticides, solvents, and GMOs) can be completely eliminated by purchasing products that contain organic soy lecithin.

But for the vast majority of the population, even conventional soy lecithin isn’t worth worrying about one way or the other. If it’s just as easy for you to avoid it as it is to consume it, then do so. (For example, Enjoy Life is one popular brand of chocolate that is soy-free.) Ultimately, I think most people can just enjoy their occasional chocolate treat without worrying about whether it contains soy lecithin.

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Categories

Food Additives

Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Stosh says

    What about soy lecithin and hypothyroidism? I know it’s important to avoid soy. Is it a problem to have some in my organic acai breakfast smoothie. Sambazon “brand” acai smoothie.
    Thanks

  2. Kamila Patterson says

    I bought protein powder and they say that it contains 240mg of soy lecithin per serving. I drink it twice a day so its 480mg. Is this to much? Oh and they also say is NO-GMO.
    I am TTC and a acupuncture lady said no soy for me. But its hard to find price decent protein powders with NO soy

  3. Kim says

    I have a question. I was told by a midwife that if I take a soy lethicin supplement it will help me heal from ligament stretching in my pelvis. I was unable to walk for two months after the last baby I had and am now pregnant again. Right now I avoid most soy in processed food unless it happens to be in chocolate or eggs in the wintertime feed. What can I do as I have been told that soy is bad. Your article is saying different and unfortunately I am just taking peoples word about soy because I am not a nutritionist. I do not want to harm the baby as it grows but also would like to avoid this pain after the birth too. Any advice?

    • Molly Malone says

      Hello Kim, If your midwife thinks lecithin is a good idea, you could try either sunflower or eggyolk lecithin. My family has soy allergies, so we don’t use soy either.

    • daisy says

      As long as the soy is non gmo and you do not have a soy intolerance then you don’t really have anything to worry about. You don’t want to consume large amounts of soy each day but small to moderate amounts here and there are completely harmless.

    • Jo says

      I would not take it, Drs mid wife’s and nurses only pass on what they are taught and usually it’s not nutrition based..
      I had a split pelvis with my second and wore a girdle and it’s the worse pain ever.. I had to use crutches and cried in pain everyday. Knowing then what I know now I would stay clear of all prescribed drugs and take serrapeptase it’s a natural enzyme that deals with information.. Good luck and always heal yourself naturally xx

  4. Amy Hazelrigg says

    What about lecithin supplements derived from sunflower seeds? Your article mentions various sources for lecithin, but discusses only soy-derived lecithin. Thanks.

  5. alena says

    I have a problem with soya and soya products. Anything containing soya automatically constipates me, whether it’s soya milk, soya powder, soya yogurt or soya lecithin I end up being constipated. It’s frustratingly obvious I cannot use it while other people don’t seem to have this problem. But what is the reason behind this?

    • CB says

      Dear George,

      Whom ever wrote that about soy lecithin containing 70% protein is not even close to correct. By law lecithin sold in the US cannot contain more than 0.3%. I know this as fact as my company was the first manufacturer of certified organic soy lecithin in North America and regulated by the FDA as well as the USDA. The internet is a wonderful thing anyone including me can write it and it becomes fact or truth.

      Regards,
      CB

  6. D.M. says

    I take soy lecithin as a supplement because of the high phosphatidyl serine content. I don’t seem to react to it at all. Should I stop taking it?

  7. Brenda says

    Hi,

    My daughter suffered from severe eczema last year but now it is under control. I have however noticed that eating kinder chocolate or tunacks tea cake she breaks out in a nettle like rash and is very itchy, both these products contain soya leithcin. She is still young to get an allergy test but was wondering if she has a soya allergy?

    Thanks
    B.

  8. says

    Hi! I am a little confounded by the information that says soy lecithin has estrogenic activity, because the only information I was able to find online said that there was no phytoestrogens in lecithin after it’s processing. This is an important issue with women who have estrogen-positive breast cancer. So now another safe way to deliver vitamin C is no longer safe? We were taking the new kind of delivery system by LiveOn Labs, of soy nanobubbles delivering dissolved C straight through the gut into the bloodstream. This is heartbreaking to me, because my cousin has this breast cancer and we both felt it was safe based on several articles and one medical study abstract, but she has developed new tumors in spite of doing everything she can to filter her water, give up processed foods, changing to organic toiletries, and in general reading all labels. She is off the lipospheric C and now just takes the Ester C. I don’t know what to believe anymore!

    • Molly Malone says

      Hello Tess, There is another very effective way to take vitamin C, dissolve the crystals in water with half as much baking soda and after it stops fizzing, drink. Here is a video of Captain Randall the author of Forbidden Healing showing how: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TOAHTDeO4s

      I just use 1/4t of vitamin C (this is 1g) and 1/8t of baking soda, twice a day.
      Take care, Molly

      • says

        I have not seen this, but do wonder how the baking soda helps get it through the gut without breaking down the C. I will certainly check this out. I read the British published book “Ascorbate” which was fascinating, and never knew that C in pill or capsule breaks down so much in the stomach that only about 30% actually makes it into the bloodstream. It’s a great, informative book about how important higher levels of C are and how stubbornly low our own nutrition standards are regarding C.

        • Erin says

          Hi Tess! My husband and I also take the liposomal vitamin c (though, we make our own) and really like the way it works. I have often wondered whether or not the soy lecithin has an effect on my hormones. It seems when I take it my mood changes. We have, however, used sunflower lecithin as a substitute, but I am not sure that it works as well as soy lecithin. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that there are other lecithins on the market. After reading about the use of sunflower lecithin in dark chocolate, I am wondering if the amount of sunflower lecithin just needs to be changed in liposomal vitamin c.

    • Jose_X says

      Please take a look at the research(ers) associated with grassrootshealth net (or carole baggerly). And check out vitamindcouncil org. I don’t think I have cancer, but vitamin d made a huge difference for an ongoing problem I have. Among its uses by different cells of the body: to contain tissue (valuable anticancer and potentially stroke and other), allow some antibodies to function (powerful against the flu and other), prevent/reverse multiple sclerosis and generally improve certain types of body aches/pains, help you sleep, valuable to heart and lung health. I took around 30,000 IU/day for a year and maybe about half of that since. To give you an idea, 600/day is the US recommended allowance even though it is recognized that that is too little (it’s assume you get more from sun) and much higher quantities have been necessary to show results in cancer and other studies. You body may or may not need it in different quantities (eg, used up faster when fighting the flu, cancer, etc). A lot of recent US maladies have likely come from the advice of using sunscreen so much rather than get the 10-20 minutes of midday (UVB) sunlight needed for health. Some parts of the hemispheres (away from equator) don’t get much UVB. Some research even shows indoor workers with 3x rate of melanoma than those who work outside (less UVB and higher UVA since in part windows filter out UVB so roll down window during the middle day for at least a few minutes if you can). Please look at the research and try this natural ..lifesaver. It correlates low in people with many types of cancers. I am biased towards it and fairly sure it is much more than mere correlation (and test tubes have shown powerful results, btw), but it doesn’t hurt to at a minimum make sure you are in a range considered healthy. Blood test is a pin prick and can be for about $60. Most doctors don’t know of the modern research and studies. It’s very active research area.

      Sample Carole quote from skinnymom com: How I’m feeling now: Very, very committed to pursuing primary prevention, especially through the active use of vitamin D. It is currently estimated that at least 50-80 percent of breast cancer could be prevented with a serum level (D) of about 50 ng/ml (average in the US is about 25 ng/ml). I think the worst part of the whole process is the “treatment.” I have stated openly that I think it’s barbaric. I have just discovered (eight years later) further damage to my heart/arteries due to the radiation treatment.

    • gary lilienfield says

      I am not sure that is all you are doing, but you may want to read up on the Gerson Protocol and all other literature that promotes a healthy raw whole-foods diet to help with cancer.

      As a start, review this website and watch the DVD “The Gerson Miracle” Netfix has it for free.

      http://gerson.org/gerpress/the-gerson-therapy

    • L Rice says

      Mayo Clinic has a web site that sates no male child should ever be put on soy milk, due to estrogen content. Also, that any male still wishing to have children should avoid soy, as it will reduce testosterone levels. I have had estrogen-positive breast cancer and read all labels as I have found that soy lechtin/protein in so many products; the risk is too high for me to take any chances.

  9. RWolf says

    Can anyone comment about soy and infertility in men? Also some guys are taking lecithin granules such as (NOW non Gmo) to increase SPERM volume. Lecithin is a major ingredient in Sperm. There seems to be some information out there, that increasing intake of raw eggs or soy lecithin can really increase sperm volume. Would liver also help this? I guess it has Choline but not sure. Seems like the wise choice would be cage free, good diet, raw eggs in a smoothie perhaps. Yeah Soy is everywhere it’s really hard to avoid. I mean Soybean oil with show up in a can of water based Tuna! Some Soy products have to be worse than others. I mean I’m not giving up flavoring my Stir Fry with a little low sodium Soy sauce. Or using a healthy as i can find Stir Fry sauce. Which is a really tough task. Their all mostly salty MSG crap! Maggie Ginns is the best and tastiest iv’e found. What about non GMO Tofu and a cultured soy product like Tempah?

    • says

      No, I know both sides of the soy issue and choose to stay away unless it is fermented and then only in moderation. Soy formula was approved by WIC back in 1980 and now those women who were fed soy formula have thyroid issues. Breast cancer rates are ever increasing and girls as young as 7 are starting their periods and developing breasts. There are no studies by anyone other than the soy industry to prove to me that soy is safe and over 90% of it is GMO. Too much is unknown. isishttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/

  10. Carla Langridge says

    Found the article on sugar very enlightening, thank you.
    Please explain to me if soy protein powder, which I have been taking for years as a supplement, is harmful to me. I assume it is not fermented. I am female aged 75 and I run and lift weights.
    Thank you
    Regards Carla

    • says

      If it’s not fermented, I say stay away from it. Even then in moderation. I simply don’t like or trust it! I too wonder who is paying Chris to pass out this mis-information. The soy producers? In Robyn O’Brien’s book called The Unhealthy Truth, she tells how to find out by typing in the words disclosure, funding or speakers bureau, consulting fee after their names. This goes for Dr.’s organizations or anyone who calls themselves an expert. Most times you can simply follow the money to their opinion.

  11. Tracy says

    So from reading this it seams to me that men should do their best to not consume any soy products or flax seed? I’m a beginning body builder and I want to increase my test levels not my estrogen levels.

  12. says

    I would never consume anything soy especially if it is not Non GMO and or fermented. Get sunflower lecithin instead. If your child has food allergies ie: peanut he/she is 85% more likely to also be allergic to soy. I’d like to know who funded this article. My guess is the soy foundation!

  13. Fiona says

    I’ve not heard of the brand Alter Ego that Emma mentions, but here in the UK I have the choice of Lindt Excellence or Tesco Finest Single Origin chocolate (their Dominican Republic 85% Dark, for instance, is yummy!)

  14. Emma says

    Just an FYI- there’s a brand called Alter Eco that makes chocolate that tastes normal and delicious and doesn’t contain soy lecithin :)

  15. Helene says

    Soy may not be dangerous for the body but most of it is made with seriously dangerous toxic for the soil, air, water and people living closed by, so for the sake of supporting a better environment, including the people living around, I strongly suggest we all get off soy totally. Lecithin from sunflower, eggs, liver, pollen, etc. are totally fine.

  16. says

    I am a food lover but always make sure what i am putting into my stomach before taking it. and mostly i love the natural foods and not the chemical once.

  17. Robin says

    I had severe sinus infections for almost 6 years after living in a mold infested house. I tried everything to get rid of them and eventually found one site that suggested Soy Lecithin might be connected to sinus inflammation. I cut it out and the sinus infections stopped. Every now and then I’ll get an infection and discover that a piece of sliced cheese or cake at a party contained soy lecithin. It’s bizarre and I can’t make sense of it… but it works.

  18. sachin Puranik says

    hi
    thanks for clearing mis-conceptions as well, based on facts, regarding hexane impurity and FDA limit.

    My father[age-85yr] under treatment for moderate to severe dementia of Alzheimer type with both drugs
    [ mamentine HCL in morning and Donep in night- each 10 mg.]
    homeo trtmt is also showed good effect and he is still independent at Home.
    is any experimentation with cooked soyabeans as an alternative to licithin.
    may be as pure and cheap source of licithin.
    can you kindly analyze cooked soyabeans and study and
    clarify and suggest….
    thnx n rg.
    sachin.

  19. Matt says

    Thanks for making hopelessly complex science readable for the average person so that he/she can instruct himself/herself.

  20. Emilia says

    And they put it in infant formula. What it makes with a male baby’s brain is not to hard to guess.

  21. Elaine diamond says

    Hi Chris, the great dr Jensen highly recommended soy lecithin. Are you aware of the studies using flax seed that helped the body metabolize estrogen into the cancer protective metabolites? You can check Pubmed for studies of it’s effectiveness with this and prostate cancer. It’s complicated, but the okinawans for example have 80% breast and prostate cancer than we do, yet eat the highest amour of tofu.

  22. Al says

    Really good article. You didn’t go all alarmist like many sites I have visited. You stuck to facts and put things in perspective. Well done.

  23. Vijay says

    After such a long article and trying to show how you are “quashing” all the “mis-placed” concerns, there wasn’t a word mentioned about ppl dealing with Thyroid as a condition and that Soy products have been directly linked with affecting the Thyroid Gland as well as its interactions with the Thyroxine drugs efficacy. An answer to that question could have been the most important part of your article.

    • Frances says

      I would like an answer to that, too. Elevated cholesterol and hypothyroid seem to go hand in hand. What can we do to lower our cholesterol?

  24. Ronald brehton says

    Hey,

    I found another source that said soy lecithin powder has had the estrogens and other toxic compounds removed but that the granulated form has soybean oil mixed with the powder and does contain some of these compounds. Is this enough to be concerned about, and why would they add soybean oil to the soy lecithin powder?

  25. Mike says

    The problem with SOY is that it contains proteins that convert to MSG. Because MSG must be included on the
    label, and people will not purchase anything containing MSG, they now use “Soy” because people do not realize that soy converts to MSG. Therefore, people will purchase products with “Soy” or “Soy Lecithin” or any Soy products, as they are not aware that the body converts it to MSG. that is the way to avoid having to state MSG on the label. People do not realize that SOY is extremely damaging to the liver and related organs, can cause liver & pancreatic pain, even organ failure. Some are extracting those proteins out of Soy, making “Soy Lecithin”, to avoid the conversion. Soy Lecithin is now commonly used as a mixing emulsifier, especially with chocolate. The sad fact is that you can only extract a maximum of 70%, at best, from the soy, therefore, Soy Lecithin generates at least 30% or more MSG compared to regular Soy. Although Soy and Soy Lecithin have been used for many years in cooking, recently included in lecithin form as an emulsifying agent, it should be banned because it is a tool to avoid including “MSG” on their label, increasing the potential of devastating health problems.

  26. Jenifer says

    Bumble, I think it’s clear from what Chris has written, that soy lecithin is not something to be concerned about. I assume this would also apply to infant formula.

    Carolyn, from what I can glean, soy lecithin is much higher in phosphatides than sunflower lecithin. I believe the concerns of the soy source are overblown. According to Carlson Wade, author of Lecithin Book, What You Need to Know, published 1980, the best lecithin is pure lecithin granules which contain over 95 percent phosphatides and about 2 percent soybean oil.

    There’s a lot of good info on lecithin at Earth Clinic. http://www.earthclinic.com/Supplements/lecithin.html
    Apparently it’s the only thing that can detox hydrocarbons that build up in the body.

    • says

      You need to read The Whole Soy Story by Kaayla Daniel and The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien. Soy formula sets your baby up for thryoid issues, breast cancer and for boys a low sperm count. So, if you don’t want grandchildren feed your baby soy!

  27. Bumble says

    All the formulas which is given to newborns as well come with soy lecithin as an emulsifier. Isn’t this dangerous ?

  28. Carolyn Hill says

    The two latest comments about soy lecithin are interesting but when mentioning sources of lecithin fail to mention sunflower lecithin: perfect choice for those who may have problems with soy lecithin.

  29. Deb K says

    I take soy lecithin daily. From day one, I noticed improvement in my short term memory. I am worried a little about the estrogen effect but so far I have no problem.

  30. Pete says

    I took soy lecithin for a month, and when I went for a cholesterol check up i was OFF THE CHART in terms of good to bad ratio. I had so much good cholesterol the doc told me to keep doing whatever the hell I was doing.
    I stopped taking it due to some research suggesting it would mishape blood cells, but im thinking low dose lecethin supplementation could be a good thing?

  31. Laura W says

    Question: If eating Paleo is supposed to be so uber-healthy, why aren’t there any caveman running around? I mean, other than the 2 who did those Geico commercials & had a very short lived sitcom on NBC (I think..don’t quote me on the network) about 10 years or so ago?
    I’m just sayin’, lol.

  32. lina says

    Wish I could find a diet like Nutrisystem that used whey-based products and not soy. I am an estrogen-positive breast cancer survivor and am quite overweight, and due to back issues cannot exercise. I do not cook and so would love to utilize one of those “meals already prepared” diets, but I cannot find any that are not soy based or that aren’t heavy in soy-bean oil.

    If anyone is aware of a meals-delivered diet company that has a good concentration of soy-free products, please let me know! I am desperate to get this weight off because I know my chances for survival are much better if I do.

    • Jim says

      You should take a look at Soylent (contrary to the name it is not a Soy based food). It does contain a small amount of Soy Lecithin, but other than that it is primarily made up of Oats, Brown Rice, and Corn.

      It may not be right for everyone but it’s worth looking into.

  33. Laura says

    Hi all. Like a couple of other posts I am a breastfeeding mother who is having issues with recurrent blocked milk ducts. Lecithin supplements are recommended to prevent clogged ducts but the advised dosage is 3600-4800mg daily. I am right in thinking Chris’ article suggests this is not safe? I really want to crack this problem as blockage after blockage is soul destroying but don’t want to put either my own or my baby’s health at risk. If I can’t resolve the issue I think I will have to give up breastfeeding. Chris – are you still reading / responding to posts? Would you be able to offer any advice?

  34. Diana says

    I tried skimming through all these comments, FIRST, to see if my question was addressed, but I did not see it – so please forgive me if it was discussed already .

    I’d like to know if there are ANY soy products that are ‘safe’ to eat – in quantity – BESIDES organic? The main reason is – I was told – (BEFORE I knew about the ‘dangers’ of soy) that drinking soy milk, using soy flour, taking soy supplements, etc., is very helpful for women in peri and pre-menopause, and those in menopause, etc., to minimize symptoms and help with balance. Once I heard about soy being ‘bad’ for certain people (including those with a Thyroid issue), I stopped using it. What can you, Mr. Kresser tell me about this – and would you please respond to my e-mail? Thank you.

  35. Lisa says

    I am very allergic to soy, with a very specific reaction that differs from my other allergies. It has been difficult to find the soy in my diet recently. I do my own cooking and usually eat very plain foods with nothing in them, but I have been using canned milk that doesn’t list soy, as others do. After looking up one of the E ingredients(E322), I found that it is lecithin, and most likely soy. I am certain that this is the source of my recent problems. It angers me to see sources saying that soy lecithin and soy oil do not affect people with soy allergy. They do. It is also frustrating that most milk products are having soy added to them (canned milk and powdered milk). I drink fresh milk, but I like to use stronger milk as a sweetener. I’ve even come across cheese with soy, which I never would have expected. Even makeups are switching ingredients to soy. I all of a sudden have a reaction, and find they have changed their formulae. I have contacted several companies, but unless other people do to, it feels hopeless that things will get safer.

  36. richardkroughtce says

    dears.. eating an unprocessed soy bean is NOT the same. i’ve been consuming soy for 54 years and i hate to blow your kite into a tree.. but i’m fine.

    it doesn’t matter.. estrogen is in all things and plus it’s been processed so it makes no difference what it is processed soy, dairy, other packaged nonsense, refined foods are bad for you, period.

    so, don’t blame soy… blame the industry of processing.

    learn something, i grew up in processing and i’ll tell you this much.. there’s a reason why i don’t eat those foods.

    and if you want an estrogen giant.. talk to the USDA about all it’s propaganda and what they’re hiding.

    move along, nothing, as usual to see here.

  37. Donald Sutherland says

    Chris where are your federal based evidence data in this sory?
    Fact: There is no federal government clinical studies on the health effects of genetically modified/engineered soy and GM soy by products including GM soy lecithin according to the FDA and CDC.

    Fact: The CDC recognizes GM soy and GM soy products as one of 8 major allergens and USDA states over 91 percent of soy and soy products is GM.

    Fact: GM soy and GM soy products in the majority of processed food in the US according to FDA and CDC study 1996-2007 showed 18 percent increase in children food allergies.

    Fact: GM soy and GM soy products are mandated by government food/health agencies in 64 countries to be labelled but not in the US. And China bans direct consumption of GM soy.

    None of these facts should give the consumer confidence in the safety of GM soy lecithin

  38. Rachel Chwazik says

    Although outside the scope of this article, which is health focused, I wanted mention that some people like me avoid soy for policial reasons. There is over production of GMO soy in this country and it is ruining our biodiveristy and putting small farmers (organic and non) out of business. It concerns me that it’s a byproduct of soy processing and I wonder if the industry is just trying to find new places to put it. I don’t understand why it’s in tea (which is what led me here to be begin with).

  39. GF says

    I don’t know if anyone is still posting/responding, but what about soy lecithin in teas for someone struggling with low T3, normal T4 (or euthyrodism, which Dr. Kresser has written about before)???? It is not an allergy. I was given two boxes of wonderful sounding tea for Christmas…but with soy lecithin…. Do I avoid them to be safe, or can I enjoy them guilt free?

    • Cathy Sullivan says

      Everyone should be aware that if you take Synthroid or its generic equivalent – thyroxine – that soy is CONTRAINDICATED as it reduces the effectiveness of the drug. I found this out after a partial thyroidectomy but the info on the pamphlet enclosed with your prescription isn’t stated until the end – after the chemical diagrams! Anyone with thyroid issues should avoid all soy products.

  40. Cristina says

    Hi Chris,
    I don’t understand. You say ” it’s not the soy lecithin; it’s the choline.” If the Soy is the carrier of Choline, then the problem IS the soy lecithin.
    You also say, that products have so little amount in them. If you add all the products we are consuming that have soy lecithin, then that’s a problem, too.
    Plus, if they are spraying it in fruits and vegetables to get them ripe, then we can’t really avoid it, can we?
    Please clarify,
    Thank you

  41. Pernille says

    Chris,
    Don’t you think that the overall list of content in soy lecithin (small dose or not) seem quite worrying? Forget about what the studies (so far) are telling us, but in terms of the actual compounds or processes themselves, most of them hold some sort of potential health risk. You say it yourself, soy lecithin appears in all kinds of foods, I know, because I am going out of my way to avoid it, a job which calls for huge determination!
    I think it is important for spokespeople, representing medical science and industry, to keep in mind that not everyman thralls through the ingredient list to look and see if there are potentially contents that calls for further research before consumption. Most people TOTALLY rely on, that some kind of authority is looking out for their best of interest and health.
    If soy lecithin doesn’t cause any thread to good health, then why suggest “.. to keep phytoestrogens to a minimum, and individuals dealing with cancer or fertility problems might want to avoid them more strictly”. ? I am not looking for The Poisonous Dose of soy lecithin, I am far more concerned about slight alterations within the body’s automatic chemical responses, over time potentially leading to DNA mutations (cancer).
    I am not suggesting that soy lecithin, being the isolated little tiny substance that it is, is the only one to carefully reconsider in terms of man’s overall health, there are many others: HFCS, Aspartame, Sodium Sulphite, Potassium Bromate, MSG/E621 as well as a load of others, including various E-numbers.
    -And I am sure that the individual item of food in its wrapping, on the supermarket shelf, only contain a very tiny amount, but have you noticed the size of today’s supermarkets and how many types of products each of them stock?!
    Unless you are Food & Health interested, there is no way that one’s ever going to read, reflect and reconsider which items should regularly be featuring in one’s shopping trolley and which ones (apart from on the odd occasion) should go back on the shelf.
    We really, desperately need some honest guidance from the ‘Experts’, i.e. people like yourself!
    Because people (including myself) read this kind of stuff, in the hope of receiving some kind of ‘truth’ in what to do.

  42. tina says

    my doctor advised to take 1000 Lecithin and 1000 Arginine daily for neuropathy in hand and feet, most likely due to diabetic.

    After reading all the info I wonder if it is worth the risk since I also have high blood pressure.

  43. Margaret says

    MJ I am a BC survivor as well and I was told that soy lecithin is not dangerous. In fact my oncologist is not freaked out about soy at all really. She said in moderation is fine.

  44. M J says

    2 years ago I had breast cancer – estrogen receptive positive – I try so hard to avoid soy because of the estrogenic effect but as you said, it is nearly impossible. Is soy lecithin dangerous for breast cancer survivors? I keep getting mixed information.

    • says

      My cousin is fighting this kind of cancer and the only two studies I was able to find said that there were no measurable phytoestrogens in soy, though Dresser’s article says there are. Now I don’t know what the truth is. My cousin was taking the lipsomal C which is made with non GMO soy lecithin. We talked My Sunflower Oil into making lecithin granules so we could make it at home, but even sunflowers have phytoestrogens. Someone needs to find out the truth about this. No articles or studies out there agree on this issue.

  45. deb mitchell says

    Just want to say that after having severe hives for suddenly for several years I have finally narrowed it down to happening when I eat foods that have soy lecithin. Everything from cheese, chocolate, red vine candy to all kinds of frozen foods….interesting I seem to be able to eat soy products just fine.

  46. Marija says

    I generally avoid soy as much as possible (except for the small amounts of raw fermented organic soy sauce and soy lecithin in some chocolates). However, I do eat about 2-3 tablespoons of whole flax seeds per day. I read somewhere that only ground flax seeds have estrogenic effect on the body and that whole flax seeds are ok to consume. Is this true? And, what about chia seeds? Do they contain phytoestrogens as well?

  47. Blair says

    I am a breastfeeding mama and recently had several clogged ducts. I was told to take a tablespoon of soy lecithin a day because it thins out the milk (without lessening its quality) so that its easier to loosen the plug. I took it because I was doing everything possible to avoid mastitis and having to take antibiotics. Not sure if it made a huge difference but I was able to unclog the ducts and not get an infection. Any idea why it would thin breastmilk?

  48. Alicia says

    I do some dietary coaching and have been recommending lecithin to people I can’t get to give up veganism, on the grounds that however good it is or isn’t a choline deficiency is worse. Would you disagree with that? Any thoughts on dosage to get the best risk/benefit ratio?

    • richardkroughtce says

      give up NOT eating meat? are you insane?

      i wouldn’t touch animal product if my life (and it does) depend on it.

      i’ve been eating unprocessed soy for decades… now.. when i was ingesting dairy, my life was a nightmare.. since i stopped ingesting what was suppose to be good for me all the issues halted.

      i wonder who is telling the truth? i wonder who is on the USDA side and who IS on the SOY side. ? makes one wonder doesn’t it?

      someone is getting kickbacks. soy is better, overall and sorry all processing is bad.

      do some research, key points: arteriosclerosis.

      • says

        Soy issues are often allergies. It’s like a celiac who continues to eat gluten which will make that person very sick, even in small doses. It is great that you obviously have no allergies to soy.

  49. Carolyn says

    One good easy homemade chocolate treat is a couple of tablespoons of melted coconut oil (or about 1/2 inch) in a glass custard cup; add powdered chocolate to taste (1 tsp or a little more), and for a good taste, 1/2 tsp or so maca powder ( I use the cooked kind, i.e. not raw, b/c of thyroid issues). If you want more sweetness, add a couple of drops of stevia liquid. Stir of course. Then freeze for about 1/2-1 hour. Easy to remove by pressing a sharp knife down the side. It usually pops up. Sometimes I need to run hot water on the inverted cup for a few seconds; then it pops out. Then eat it like a “bar” of sorts right away, before it melts.

    One of my favorite additions is very finely chopped ginger (Cuisinart).

  50. Noel says

    Chris,

    The article is good but does not provide the meat that I was looking for. If you decide to dig more into it, here are the comments.

    Soy lecithin, apart from additives, I think it can be a very good supplement for brain function, if and ONLY if, the phospholipids in the lecthin piece are untouched and not getting modified in some way in the chemical process.
    Then what amount of phytoestrogens do these lecithin blends contain. Is there any limit? Is there any source to find which supplement (not additive) contain what amount of phytoestrogens?
    When the supplements mention, like phosphatidylcholine or Phosphatidylserine, is sourced from Soy lecithin, 500mg of lecithin contains 100mg of the above stuff, then what is rest 400mg? Is there any way that you can find this information (apart from the manufacturer). Supplement market is not regulated by the FDA (but it should by some body), so they can make all wild claims that they like but they do not suffer from it. The user does.
    What is the difference between Soy lecithin and Sunflower lecithin, for example?
    I think, I will stop for time being.

    Like the way you write your articles though, with scientific proofs but just avoid Life Extension articles style, where they cherry pick their references.

  51. Jane says

    Sorry Aysin but that article did not show why the Japanese live longer than anyone else…… they regularly consume soy….and lots of iodine but that is no answer.

  52. says

    I had never before heard of soy lecithin. I’ll share this information. Thanks for posting! I think the main point here is that the food industry uses too many chemicals and additives in general. We need to eat natural foods like we were meant to!

  53. pm says

    For all of the people that love chocolate and worry about the ingredients, you should learn how to make your own. It’s easy, 100% healthy and much less expensive than buying it.

        • pm says

          Here is the recipe I use.

          In a double boiler add and mix 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs, 1/2 cup nuts, 2 cups raw cacao butter, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder, 1/2 cup (or more to suit your taste) xylitol. (if you don’t have a double boiler you can use a large and small ceramic plate)

          Gradually mix in dry ingredients after butter, coconut oil and nibs melt.

          pour in mold or on a plate and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  54. Megan says

    Thanks for this informative, balanced information! I really appreciate your level-headed approach to foods that others in the alternative health community might just blindly condemn. I have found (and I think you would agree based on your “beer-and-pizza-diet” story) that you cannot underestimate the role of happiness in promoting health and wellness. Of course if you react badly to something, you shouldn’t eat it. However, I believe constant, irrational food paranoia is almost certainly a major stressor to the body. I’ve felt much better on Paleo since I have loosened things up a bit and adopted a more light-hearted approach in which pleasure and happiness are factored into my “should I eat this” equation. It is nice to know I needn’t spend too much time fretting over occasional soy lecithin.

  55. iLikeToChangeTheNick says

    I consume flaxseed for its phytoestrogens and avoid soy for its phytoestrogens, because they are different.
    Flaxseed phytoestrogens, lignans, reduce body’s utilization of more estrogenic hormones by making use of themselves, which are so little estrogenic that they make an antiestrogenic effect on the body.
    On the other hand soy phytoestrogens make an estrogenic effect in body.
    I felt like Chris was making a different point about it, maybe someone can explain what was implied more detailed. Please explain if what I do may be bad.

  56. iLikeToChangeTheNick says

    I remember I’ve read something like soy lecithin caused brain shrinkage,probably in rats. I searched for gmo “soy lecithin” brain and one of the first links gave enough information for me to stop and at least forget about not minding consuming gmo soy lecithin. I will also be cautious about gmo soy lecithin being used in anything I consider consuming though gmos in human food is forbidden in the country I live in, luckily I do not buy processed foods.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/524606-what-are-the-dangers-of-soy-lecithin-ingestion/

  57. Ann Anagnost says

    While it is true that the amounts of soy lecithin may be small in chocolate, I think we need to apply more pressure to the food industry to eliminate soy additives from our food. And it is more than just about personal health. We need to focus on the larger picture of what soy production is doing to the environment and to the health of those other than ourselves. You might want to view the film available for free online Argentina’s Bad Seeds to see what the soy industry is doing to the populations who have been affected by the expansion of the soy industry in Latin America.

    Also, even in brands of extra-dark chocolate (85% cocoa and above) that do not have soy lecithin, their lighter products such as milk chocolate do have it. I am thinking for example of the one brand of extra-dark choclate that Trader Joe’s still sells that is soy free. Their fair-trade organic line appears to have disappeared.

  58. joe says

    I read recently that the greater portion of the soy in products here in the United States is grown and processed in China. There are no standards in China to regulate whether they use GMO seeds or the manner with which they process the soybeans. How much of this is true?

  59. Cassie says

    Okay for some but not for me. I was eating Aldis 85% chocolate & started getting belly ache. Someone looked at the ingredients and saw it has soy lecithan as an ingredient. I then started to eat 85% Lindt and was fine. No tummy ache.

  60. Jackie says

    Although a direct link to heart attack has not been made, researchers recently showed that intake of phosphatidylcholine, a major component of lecithin, temporarily raises blood levels of the compound TMAO. This is of concern because a 3-year study by the same researchers showed that people with the highest blood plasma levels of TMAO — above 6 µM (micromoles) — were 2.5 times as likely as those with the lowest levels (under 2.5 µM) to suffer a heart attack or other major adverse cardiovascular event (Tang, New Eng J Med 2013). TMAO is produced from the choline in phosphatidylcholine by the actions of microbes in the gut and enzymes in the liver. TMAO appears to advance atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) by reducing the normal clearing of cholesterol.

  61. DavidH says

    The chocolate you recommend has a fair amount of sugar, as do most of the others recommended here. Isn’t that one of the toxins you recommend avoiding? I gave up on commercial chocolates, almost all are cooked for days and are sweetened with sugar. I used to eat a fair amount of dark chocolate and it would make me break out and not feel good. Now I make my own with raw organic cacao powder, and it’s great.

  62. Jane says

    Could you explain then why Japanese women (and men) live longer than anyone else in the world and regularly consume soy ?

  63. Sharon says

    While I can’t vouch for the safety of soy lecithin for those with IgE allergies, my young son has a significant IgG sensitivity/allergy to soy (delayed reaction). He eats no soy products, not even lecithin. If he has even minute amounts of soy lecithin, his symptoms of facial redness, digestive problems, and insomnia start up again. He has no reaction to sunflower lecithin.

  64. Carolyn Hill says

    If you want to use lecithin for something you’re making, sunflower lecithin has more choline and is organic, soy-free, and non-GMO through Lekithos (mysunflowerlecithin.com)

  65. ChocoCreep says

    My 2 chocolate cents: In my experience/to my taste, the best widely available chocolate without soy lecithin is Green and Black’s organic 85% bar. It’s the only G&B bar I’ve found that doesn’t have soy lecithin. I prefer it to the Lindt lineup as well as to many smaller market “specialty”/”gourmet”/”whatever word makes you think they’ll be better than they are” chocolate bars that seem to always underwhelm the taste buds after the wallet has been emptied for them.

  66. Fiona Weir says

    Chocolate eaters – try Lindt Excellence! The packet says ‘May contain traces of soya lethicin’ but it is certainly not listed as an ingredient. 85% and 90% cocoa (a bit of an acquired taste) have less sugar and salt than the normal 70%. I do get a headache but it must be the cocoa itself causing it, not soya in
    this instance.

    • Ary H. says

      Kris,
      Well done! Thank you for posting about the soy lechithin. I always find your insights on these matters valuable. A distinctive approach with logic and intent to provide a level headed solution is a worthwhile endeavor! I have found myself reflecting many times on your work and have applied many changes in my famiies life and health based on your perspective! So many thanks are in order.
      Which lead me back yet to you once again today, regarding the phosphlipids. Particularly with the Vit C combo with phospholipids for my husband who suffered a heart attack in Aug 2013 at the tender age of 43 last year! Long story and journney since then. To date he is only on a couple of the menagerie of script meds that were originally handed to us as the “standard protocol” . He is no longer type 2 diabetic and would have to contribute that fact much to you!
      However he is still struggling with arterial plaques requiring stent placements. So I know we have SO FAR but still just missing the mark and lacking something! I suspect its the vitamin C, just my gut feeling considering his cholesterol levels should not warrant the continuing blockages forming. Also, he was on metoprolol which the diabetic journals had an article outlining that is evident that this bp med actually worsens arterial plaques! Argh!! So, am hoping that was our nasty coulperate!
      BUT, I just can’t afford that sort of gamble and continuing with diet modifications, supplements, and food prep methods ect. Trying to ensure we enable his body to heal! I can no longer look at a plate of food and just see food, I see a combination of potentially benefical nutrients and or potentially chemical laden, nutrient robbing toxins! Often feel like the mad scientist preparing smoothies and meals for targeted nutrition! Lol. All this has taught me so much and thanks to your work, enabling me to make strategic choices!
      My thoughts were this though, Regarding the Phospholipids and vit C…. I know that coconut oil facilitates absorption of just about anything good or bad! But could it be that the the MCT can also be a suitable form of phospholipids with the Vitamin C as well?
      Thanks for any input you may have to offer!
      Ary

  67. Diane says

    Hi Chirs! I avoid all soy as much as possible and also avoid soy lecithin as much as possible. I have to make my own chocolates with coconut oil to get my fix. I take sunflower lecithin due to the lack of a gall bladder. I know soy inhibits thyroid hormones. Does soy lecithin inhibit them as well?

  68. says

    Just to weigh in on the chocolate issue. There is a GF/DF/SF chocolate available called Stone Ground from Needham, Mass. It is my absolute favorite chocolate. I take no money from them (or anyone else) to promote this chocolate. I buy it. I eat it.

  69. Laura says

    Actually, this is not “more than you would ever want to know about soy lecithin.”. This detail is EXACTLY why we come to you for guidance in our respective journeys to optimal health and happiness! Thank you!

  70. Cathi says

    Chris, I’m wondering about the sweetener Stevia when it comes to Hormonal disrupters. I had read somewhere several years ago that Stevia also can effect hormones. But have not been able to find that article. Do you know anything about that? Or was that just an advertising scare from the sugar company to keep people from buying and using Stevia as a sweetener.

  71. Dan, D.C. says

    Great article Chris. I enjoy reading most of what you write. I get this question a lot from my patients and you did a great job summarizing the major concerns and questions. Re: soy food allergy, what test do you recommend? I’ve used Cyrex labs in AZ before, but they check for close to 20 other food sensitivities and cross reactivities to gluten. Is there another you would recommend if a pt just wanted to check for soy? Thanks in advance.

  72. Silas says

    Chris, I’m floored by your recent recommendations. First, radioactive fish. Now GMO soy! You are spreading half truths. This is unacceptable. How much did it cost to buy you off?? I will be unsubscribing from this fantasy you think is helpful/healthy information.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Right, Silas. The radioactive fish-GMO soy lecithin lobby bought me off! Makes sense.

      My recommendations have always been evidence based. I dislike hysterical web claims that are based only on hearsay and lead to unnecessary stress and overly restrictive approaches to diet and supplements.

      Show me credible, peer-reviewed evidence that contradicts anything written in any of these articles, and we can have a real discussion.

      • Morgan says

        Chris, thank you for being one of the most level-headed figures in the paleo community. I’m so sick of passionate people who half the time don’t know the basis for what they’re so passionate about. And the lashing out at others like the above commentator just shows the immaturity. Anyway I’m so glad you posted this as it’s been difficult for me to find a good protein powder for my husband’s work out recovery drink. (I’m sure I could get some backlash about that). But regardless, thanks so posting relevant posts and sticking to the facts. Well done.

      • STG says

        Chris, you are such a great source of health info because you are evidence/science based. You understand methodology and view research critically. I think the above criticism is misguided. I hope Silas will continue to come to your website and at some point realize that you are true to the science.

      • iLikeToChangeTheNick says

        I made a quick search again and I’ve found a westonaprice page about it.

        http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/soy-and-the-brain
        http://www.livestrong.com/article/524606-what-are-the-dangers-of-soy-lecithin-ingestion/

        In another page I’ve read that as I wrote I remembered soy lecithin increased brain shrinkage in Hawaii Men’s Health Study but there’s no references.

        http://www.totalityofbeing.com/FramelessPages/Articles/FeedingYourBrain.htm

        So such makes me enough cautious about soy lecithin to not consume any gmo soy, but I’m not very sure about non-gmo or organic soy lecithin because probably the lecithin in the studies is mostly gmo soy lecithin. I did not check if there were studies from countries that forbid gmos in human food such as EU countries…

      • David Austin says

        Chris –
        This response of yours has won you a follower in me, to replace of the paranoid nutrition-purist who thinks the radioactive fish lobby and pro-GMO lobby paid you off. I would love to see the data you’ve seen about lecithin studies. Are there safer brands than others for those of us who use it for liposomal solutions, homemade chocolates, an other stuff?

  73. says

    I appreciate the article. However, I did want to mention “accumulation.” Although soy lecithin in minute amounts from one product in one day may have no consequence, has anyone considered the idea that there may be an accumulation effect when digesting multiple products per day with small amounts of soy lecithin? And if it is not expelled from the body, how does it accumulate within the body and is there a means for chelating it’s toxic effects?

    • joe says

      i wouldn’t worry too much about a little bit of soy lecithin here or there. i add a TBSP of it to every large meal to help emulsify the fats for better digestion and absorption. :)

  74. Regina says

    Thanks Chris, I am always stressing about products containing any kind of soy. Not that I won’t still avoid it if possible but the stuff is in everything and if you are in a bind…but I will eat the chocolate I like with a little more enjoyment!

    As far as therapeutic uses: Is reducing total cholesterol even a concern anyway?

  75. Kelley says

    Years ago I wrote to Boca Burger asking them about GMOs and they wrote back saying that even the organic burgers had GMO soy in it. Its everywhere now.

      • Krissy says

        Perhaps but in Australia at least if at least 75% (I think, don’t quote me on that) of the ingredients are organic then the product can be labelled “organic”. So for example, Green & Black’s chocolate is labelled “organic” but if you read the list every ingredient is organic EXCEPT for the soy lecithin. Which pisses me off so I don’t eat it. For the cost I can buy one without the crappy fillers so why would I settle?

        • Molly Malone says

          Krissy, how annoying! In the USA now, the organic label means 95% organic, only things labeled “100% Organic” really are. The standards have been relaxed and the government is trying to relax them further – by ruining organic altogether it seems.

          Anyway, there are youtube videos showing how, but you really can make your own chocolate with honey, cacao (cocoa) powder, and cocoa butter. Very cool! You can even flavor your treats with organic essential oils such as cinnamon, orange, peppermint (my favorite) etc.
          Have fun!

  76. lou says

    I’ve understood that the cocoa butter is removed and then sold for good money to the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. It’s replaced by cheap soy lecithin and vegetable oils. The considerations are purely economical (profits/bottom line), nothing to do with taste (which is inferior to cocoa butter), quality or health. Personally, I think it sucks. I want to eat a superior product that is ‘whole’ and includes cocoa butter for taste, mouth feel AND health. Rather eat less and pay more (a fair price) than eat a more processed and fragmented product with inferior substances. There are some very good chocolates around without soy lecithin, such as Kallari, Theo and Alter Eco – they also all happen to be fair trade, which doesn’t surprise me: integrity all the way. (Not affiliated!).

    As for soy lecithin: for some mysterious reason (maybe the solvents, then?) I cannot tolerate it, whereas little amounts of soy sauce or tofu are no problem.

    • says

      I agree with those chocolate recommendations. It’s becoming easier and easier to find chocolate without any soy added. I also recommend the brand Sacred Chocolate (not affiliated in any way!), as their quality is unparalleled in the business (but also pretty pricey). You’d think that with all the affordable soy-free chocolates out there, more companies would catch on, because of the fact that soy-free eliminates so many issues (GMO, potential allergies).

    • Susan says

      Agreed Lou! I just tried Eating Evolved Primal Dark Chocolate after seeing Chris Kresser’s giveaway a few weeks ago.It’s soy-lecithin free and organic (and also Fair-Trade I believe). Love their 85% cacao. For me it’s worth it to get higher quality chocolate without the fillers.

    • Alex says

      Just wanted to drop a plug for my current top-favorite chocolate, Panama 80% dark chocolate by Equal Exchange. No soy or other additives/preservatives, Fair Trade, $4-or-under per bar, and only ~8g of sugar per 9-square serving (24 squares per bar; total 9g net carbs and 5g fiber per serving). So rich and creamy, amazing with a handful of hazelnuts or macadamia nuts or just by itself, and rich enough that a couple of squares at a time is plenty satisfying. (Not affiliated, just a fan of good food who’s worked their way through all of the more affordable additive/milk-free fair trade chocolate options at the local healthy grocery stores.)

    • Izz says

      You can make your own chocolate, it’s very easy. There’s a recipe for raw chocolate on the Quirky Cooking website.

    • says

      Make your own chocolate. I buy raw cocoa from Vitacost.com and have found many recipes specifically using raw cocoa. All cocoa beans are dried in the hot sun, but most processing involved much more heat which breaks down many of the good enzymes in the cocoa bean. Raw cocoa has most of them intact along with even more antioxidants. Yoga Mama (the blog) has a video recipe for chocolate drops that is raw and instant energy.

  77. pm says

    I supplement with lecithin and use it to make liposomal Vitamin C and glutathione; so I buy only organic sunflower lecithin made without hexane. Trace amounts delivered directly to my cells via liposomal transport daily would not be an acceptable risk in my view.

    • Noel says

      Do you mind posting your recipe/protocol here. I am also looking into that for DS with Autism but haven’t figured a way out.

      Thanks in advance.

      • pm says

        To make liposomal vitamin c and glutathione you need to mix 1 tablespoon of ascorbic acid in 1/2 cup of distilled water in a blender for 1 min; mix 3 tablespoons of organic sunflower lecithin granules in 1 cup of distilled water in blender for 1 minute; then pour both into a sonic cleaner and stir with wooden spoon for 6-8 minutes.

        Follow the same instructions to make liposomal Gutathione sulfhydryl

        I tablespoon equals 1 gram of liposomal vitamin C.

        You can buy liposomal vitamin C and Glutathione, but it is much more expensive.

        • Noel says

          Any specific brand material you use or anything that is available.

          With the sonic cleaner, what is it? Can you link the actual product you use.

          Thanks again.

          • Christina says

            Hello,

            I’ve used quite frequently a product called liponano C and liponano glutathione, available at supplementclinic.com. Not cheap, but I think worth it.

          • X says

            Noel,

            I have found Swanson to trigger sensitivities and quality issues for me before.

            Also, their lecithin does not appear to be organic, nor does it claim no hexane (unless I’m missing something).

            (I am on the spectrum and heavy metal poisoned, with lots of sensitivities.)

            I get my sunflower lecithin for liposomal C here: http://www.mysunflowerlecithin.com/100-organic-liquid-sunflower-lecithin/

            For autism, look into a hair test, the works of Andrew Hall Cutler, and “frequent dose chelation”(google it). Please be very careful with chelation and supplements as a lot of autistic people are mercury-toxic, and a lot of doctors prescribe supplements and chelation protocols which end up damaging the poisoned person more.

            Don’t ever agree to any IVs of chelating agents, glutathione, or ALA. All drag mercury around.

            Also, be aware that mercury does not show up directly in 75%+ of cases. The body stores it, so autistic children tend to actually have unusually *low* levels of hair mercury.

            There are methods of determining, through statistical analysis of a hair mineral test, whether mercury is inducing deranged mineral transport.

            Look into it. :-)

            Good luck,

            X

            • X says

              By the way, also avoid glutathione in general, NAC, MSM, clay, and chlorella if you have a chance of being metal-toxic.

              Low-dose, frequent oral chelation has helped tremendously with many autistic kids, and many have lost their autism diagnosis to date.

          • X says

            Oh, also; for making liposomal ANYTHING in a jewelry cleaner, USE A GLASS CONTAINER, OR OTHER INERT CONTAINER.

            DO NOT USE THE TANK DIRECTLY.

            Otherwise, you risk encapsulating nickel/metal from the stainless tank while sonicating and giving yourself chronic nickel poisoning.

            Regarding glutathione, there is some debate over whether it’s overused for all ills, even when inappropriate, but I do not know quite enough to lay out the arguments.

            ..save for that metal-poisoned people should not take glutathione unless there is a true cysteine deficiency and things like NAC don’t work. It will messily drag heavy metals about in the body (This is due to the lone SH, sulfhydryl, group – molecules with 2 -SH groups are considered chelators, chemically, and bind tightly enough that a decent percentage of metal is able to be carried to excretion. Glutathione holds weakly to metals with its 1 -SH group, and this causes what is basically lots of loose picking up and dropping-somewhere-else of metal molecules. You do NOT want to redistribute heavy metals if you’re poisoned – this is one of the main causes of getting a lot worse.)

            • X says

              (On a final note, if you have “silver” amalgams or strange mental and overall symptoms, there’s an >50% chance you’re metal-poisoned and should learn how to interpret a hair test correctly for toxicity.

              Same goes for autoimmunity, lyme, Parkinson’s, cancers (yes, really; cancers are often found to have extremely high levels of mercury.), and other degenerative/incurable health problems.

              Do be careful if you decide to replace your mercury (“silver”) -containing amalgams.

              Improper removal can cause even more exposure to mercury through the vapors.

              http://iaomt.org/ has resources for safe amalgam removal.

              Metal poisoning’s a lot more common than most folks tend to be aware of, and this is well documented. Some subsection of the population is more vulnerable to accumulating heavy metals. Generally, if one is chronically ill, or has some incurable condition, this vastly increases their likelihood of being in the vulnerable subsection.

              X

        • Gabi says

          Hi,

          Where do you buy the Glutathione sulfhydryl?
          And what is the difference between plain Glutathion and Glutathione sulfhydryl?
          Have you been using these self made liposomal products for some time? What is your experience with the home made version?
          Many thanks for your reply.

    • Tammy says

      I would love to hear whats in your lypo c recipe.
      I’ve only found recipes with soy lecithin dry.

      Thanks

  78. aysin says

    Chris, as a breastfeeding mother who recently had problems with plugged ducts and ran the risk of mastitis, I discovered that lecithin is recommended as a dietary supplement to minimize the risk of milk clogging up ducts. Of course the only lecithin I could get my hands on was, you guessed it, soy lecithin. Now the recommendation is to up to 1600 mg per day and this is obviously superior to any amounts there may be in chocolate. What do you think about this usage? Do you think I’m just better off continuing to eat several eggs a day?

    • Addie says

      I have this same question as I have also been taking lecithin to prevent future plugged ducts after having a few intense bouts of mastitis during Breastfeeding. Chris will you please comment on this ? Thank you !

    • Nicole says

      I too am wondering about soy lecithin and plugged milk ducts. I just took the plunge and went soy/dairy/gluten free last week and woke this am with a plugged duct,. Soy lecithin (in addition to heat, more frequent nursing etc) has been a huge help the few times this has happened in the past. Now I’m on the fence about taking it. Would searching for some sunflower lecithin be a better choice?

      • Heather says

        Soy lecithin was not recommended when I was nursing (now 7 years ago), but I would avoid it because of the phytoestrogens. Plugged ducts can often be cured with hot water bottles on the affected area, gentle massage and drinking lots of water. Also, try having the baby nurse more frequently and start him or her on the affected side until the blockage clears. If the baby doesn’t fully empty one side you can pump the excess if you are worried about repeat blockages. Good luck.

      • says

        Hi Nicole, rather than using soy try cayenne pepper tincture for this will unplug the ducts as well as heal ulcers, purify blood, heal digestion, great for wounds, all digestive disorders, liver, kidney, and the list goes on and on. Soy can’t say this. Also be sure if u do get a cayenne pepper tincture it’s at the least 40,000 heat units (he). Proferably 90,000. The hotter the more healing however starting out 40,000 3-5drops 3x a day would be awesome to start out with and see what great health benefits come to your from cayenne rather than soy.. (be sure it’s a tincture of pure cayenne and not mixed with paprika for that takes away from the healing qualities) God Bless:jason

        • Gabi says

          Hi Jason,

          I’ve heard about the wonders of cayenne pepper tincture but don’t really know much about it. Can you use it if you’ve had your galbladder removed?

          Many thanks for your reply.
          With kind regards,
          Gabi

    • Mary M says

      The homeopathic remedy “Phytalacca decandra” is very helpful for plugged ducts and mastitis. It helped me many times over my approximately 18 years of nursing five children and it helped the friends I recommended it to as well. I am not very into homeopathy but there are some remedies so effective that I do recommend them.

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