I love chocolate, but I am very particular about which brand of chocolate I eat. Even the very best organic, sustainably produced, fair trade chocolate contains soy lecithin. What is wrong with these companies? Don’t they know that even organic soy lecithin is a waste product?
Soy lecithin is an ingredient in much more than just chocolate. It is used as an emulsifier to keep water and fat from separating in products such as margarine, peanut butter, chocolate, ice cream, coffee creamers, salad dressings and infant formulas. It is ubiquitous in supplements and packaged foods — if it comes in a box or a bottle it probably has soy lecithin.
Soy lecithin is a Toxic Waste Product
Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a degumming process. It is a waste product that contains solvents and pesticides with color ranges from dirty tan to reddish brown. Manufacturers then bleach it to make it the more appealing light yellow color.
Additionally, let’s not forget that 90% of the soybeans in this country are now genetically modified and very heavily sprayed with glyphosate herbicides (compliments of Monsanto). Consequently, most of the soy lecithin is from genetically modified soy which is full of chemicals that are truly poisonous.
The action of glypohsate is incredibly damaging to everything it touches. It is a poison plain and simple.
We use a chemical that is a poison (glyphosate) to raise crops. The crops are fed to livestock. The livestock get sick and we have to call the vet who uses chemicals to treat them. The chemicals from the food and the chemicals from the treatment are now in the meat of the livestock that humans eat. The humans get sick and go to the hospital where they use chemicals to treat them. Full circle.
Break the cycle. Avoid all genetically modified products. Avoid all soy products because they are almost 100% genetically modified. Avoid soy lecithin because it comes from genetically modified soy and is an ingredient in many commercial products.
A Thousand Uses For Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin became more available in the early 1900’s when companies realized that they could use this waste from soybean processing — soybean oil refining was a fast growing industry – and resell it as soybean lecithin. In previous years, lecithin was derived from egg yolks. It is very difficult to find lecithin from eggs at this point.
Scientists hired to find some use for the substance cooked up more than a thousand new uses by 1939.
Since it is a natural product, it isn’t bad for you – right? After all, it is found in the cells of all living organisms. Wrong. It is bad for you and since it is in everything, you are likely getting more more than you think.
Soy Lecithin — The Wonder Food
Health claims have been made for soy lecithin since the 1920’s. These include benefits for atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, gall stones, psoriasis, eczema, scleroderma, anxiety, tremors and brain aging.
It makes sense that it might be beneficial because our bodies use phospholipids in the structure of every cell membrane and along every nerve cell. However, the phospholipids found in soy are considerable lower than those found in egg yolks.
It was popularized in the 1960’s and 70’s by Adele Davis and other writers and became the latest health panacea. In 2001 it was backed by the FDA and allowed to be notated on labels as being a good source of choline. Research from the University at Chapel Hill and at Duke University backed up the claim for soy as being a good source of choline along with eggs and milk products.
Supplements with Soy Lecithin
Phosphatidylcholine is a popular supplement that alternative practitioners use to prevent and reverse dementia, improve cognitive function, increase human growth hormone release, and to treat brain disorders such as damage from stroke.
Phosphatidyl Serine is another supplement that supports brain function and mental acuity as well as sleep disorders.
However, I would think long and hard about using these supplements if the lecithin is derived from soy. Typically it is not sourced from organic soy.
Another phosphotidyl substance worth mentioning is lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE), which the FDA has approved for fruit ripening and shelf life extension. Just another additive with dangerous potential effects.
Soy Lecithin is Highly Allergenic
The manufacture of soy lecithin theoretically eliminates all of the soy proteins which would eliminate the allergenicity. However, there is always minute amounts of soy protein remaining in lecithin as well as in soy oil. This fact makes it very difficult for people with allergies or those who are highly sensitive to soy.
For some people, even the tiniest molecule of soy can set off an immunological response and trigger a flareup of symptoms. It is just as reactive as gluten and because, just like gluten, it is in everything, those folks need to be extra careful which commercial foods they eat.
Dangers of Soy
In the early 1990’s I fell under the spell of the joy of soy. Now that I know better, I wouldn’t go near it with a ten foot pole. Read about my 7 Reasons to Avoid Soy Like The Plague.
Just to mention a few problems with soy — it is a goitrogen. That means it will have a negative affect on the thyroid gland. Soy contains substances called phytates, lectins and enzyme inhibitors which make it very difficult to digest. Additionally it has isoflavones that mimic the effects of estrogen and can be very dangerous for children and adults to consume.
Soy Lecithin in Chocolate
Soy lecithin is used in chocolate as an emulsifier. However, chocolate can be made without it. There are several brands of chocolate that manage to produce fantastic chocolate without any lecithin (or other additives) and that taste great. When I am not making my own, I prefer to buy a commercial product that has as few additives as possible.
If you take a look at all the ingredients in every bar of chocolate in a store like, for instance, Whole Foods, you will not find one that doesn’t have soy lecithin. Even the organic, fair trade, sustainable brands all have soy lecithin.
I enjoy some chocolate now and then, but I am very careful which one I buy. Mostly, I make it at home — so easy from pure, organic, fair trade cacao powder, cacao butter and a little honey.
Here are three suppliers of chocolate that make it without soy lecithin:
- Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunk — This one is very low in sugar
- Lindt Chocolate 90% Cacao — Dark Supreme — This one is extremely low in sugar
- Liberty Chocolate — this one is made with honey and so technically is GAPS legal
Of course all sweets should be eaten in moderation and the 80/20 (or 90/10) rule can apply here. I’ve given up lots of commercial products because they contain too many ingredients that are just bad. Of course, once in a while it certainly wouldn’t be harmful to have some of these additives (unless you are super sensitive or on a healing diet very strictly.) However, soy and all of its derivatives is a dangerous and poisonous food.
This poison is non-negotiable. No soy lecithin for me. What about you? Leave a comment and let me know!