Why I NEVER Eat Most Organic Fair Trade Chocolate

Why I NEVER Eat Most Organic Fair Trade Chocolate post image

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.

According to Dr. Kaayla Daniel, the author of The Whole Soy Story,

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:

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!

Soy Lecithin: From Sludge to Profit

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Leave a Comment

  • Shauna May 6, 2015, 4:50 pm

    You should check out Pascha Chocolates (http://paschachocolate.com/), which is organic, fair trade, and allergen free (including soy free). Tastes wonderful, too, in my opinion.

  • Claire May 16, 2015, 9:48 am


    In the Uk the only stockist of Fairtrade Milk Chocolate I have found so far is the Royal Society Prevention of Cruelty for Birds and they have an online shop so not only is one buying fairtrade but supporting a worthy cause too.

    Traidcraft used to have it but they are out of stock at present with no more due. They promote Divine which has nasty soya in it. Maybe if enough people complained to Divine they would do something about it.

    • Olivia September 16, 2016, 3:06 pm

      Divine Chocolate switched from using Soy Lecithin – now uses Sunflower Lecithin.

  • Will Killyou May 22, 2015, 8:00 pm

    Lindt sold in the USA is no longer a good chocolate. I used to buy it all the time and it changed a while back. I contacted them and spoke with their marketing officer and found out that “market research had concluded that the new method for making their chocolate sold in the USA fit the tastes of America better” I felt it took a step towards Hershey and after hearing this I think that is exactly what they did. Interestingly, I also noticed that it started to be made in the USA. I really never thought any of the US made chocolates were great, even Godiva is not very good. Neuhaus made in Belgium is GREAT! Scharfenburger, NOPE! The only chocolate that is made in the USA that I had that I liked was the Green & Black 85%! That was quite good.

    • John October 21, 2016, 2:43 am

      Green and Black’s is made in Poland Italy and Canada, The only US made G&B was made under licence by Hershy

  • Jay May 27, 2015, 6:21 pm

    Try Pure7 Chocolate! Fair trade, organic soy free, dairy free and gluten free!

  • Katie Walsh July 22, 2015, 11:30 pm

    Try Alter Eco 85% no: alterecofoods.com/product/dark-blackout/

  • Paul Sheldon August 6, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Thank you for posting this information. Anna and I are also interested in such health matters. We are going to think of making our own chocolate!

    Ayurvedic medicine says you shouldn’t bake honey. Perhaps you may want to check this out.

  • Karen watkins October 3, 2015, 3:35 pm

    Fascinating article! My chocolate is raw, untempered with NO lecithin, but has to be refrigerated to keep it stable & smooth. Many people keep telling me to add lecithin to extend shelf life & allow it to be in an ambient environment but my chocolate would become sticky, claggy and seeming full of sludge! I also use agave syrup to sweeten & all ingredients are organic… I have been considering sunflower lecithin but needs further research. Cheers for your honest info, Karen

  • Yvonne December 10, 2015, 6:05 pm

    Contrary to what is said, Lindt 90% dark chocolate contains soy lecithin. very disappointed. Here in Mazatlan cannot find very dark chocolate other than Lindt.

  • bob January 19, 2016, 2:43 pm

    I’m in the UK, and have just checked a bar of Lindt cooking chocolate and it contains SOY LECITHIN. I have visited the Lindt website and they also state that there may be traces of SOY LECITHIN in their 70% dark chocolate bar – curses!

    • Jill January 19, 2016, 4:10 pm

      I use the 90% Lindt. There is no soy in that in the US.

  • Sue D February 8, 2016, 12:55 pm

    I’m also sensitive to soy so I avoid it as much as possible…I’m 100% organic but its hard sometimes…it seems almost everything has some form of soy in it…its so frustrating…and I want to thank you for the info you posted on soy!

  • Jon February 8, 2016, 5:37 pm

    Isn’t this a little alarmist? I understand your point about people who might be sensitive to soybeans, and the presence of soy products is more than a nuisance for them. However, if your intake of chocolate is moderate, the small amount of lecithin you would be consuming should not be cause for concern.
    Calling it a “waste product” is also misleading. Lots of useful food products are actually by-products of other processes. Molasses are espoused as a “health food” and are actually a “waste” from sugar production, and could probably also be described as “sludge”. Try to make the writing a little less emotive.

    • Bruce Hurley June 21, 2016, 6:59 pm

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. We need less alarmist writing and more straight facts. Great point about molasses! Oh, and the biggest waste product of food production is water!

    • Zal September 26, 2016, 1:29 am

      agree very much, the story is too alarmist, on a verge of causing panic.
      Little soy lecithin doesn’t do any harm. Hard to avoid soy lecithin. if to use something else, then the price will go up I guess.
      Somebody mentioned here Liberty chocolate. I checked them out and then got a shock, almost electric shock…$40 for 50g !!!!!!!!!!! It is NUTS!!!!

  • Ann Fons February 11, 2016, 3:12 pm

    Do you know of any soy free chocolate that is sweetened with stevia? do you have a recipe for your homemade chocolate?

  • Rhonda March 11, 2016, 5:25 pm

    I loved your article! Very informative! And I want to also request your recipe that you use. I would prefer to make my own chocolate, sweetened with raw honey if possible…

    Thank you!!

    • Rhonda March 11, 2016, 5:43 pm

      Jill, I just saw the message with the link to your chocolate recipe. Thank you!! I just have one question. If you leave out the stevia, how much more honey would you add? I look forward to trying your recipe. I do not eat a lot of chocolate, but occasionally want a healthy treat. Making my own is definitely the best option!!

      • Jill June 21, 2016, 8:37 pm

        Hi Rhonda,
        Just taste the batter and make it as sweet as you want. Maybe another tablespoon of honey.

  • James Sedlock March 30, 2016, 3:31 pm

    Your statement about not finding any soy lecithin-free chocolate bars at Whole Foods is not true. I just bought 2 bars there from 2 different brands that contain no soy lecithin (or any soy for that matter). They are Theo Dark Chocolate (65% cacao) and 365 Organic Dark Chocolate (56% cacao). There are a handful of other brands there that are also lecithin-free. FYI 🙂

  • Tanya May 18, 2016, 8:25 pm

    I know this was written 3 years ago, however I have to respectfully disagree with your misinformation. Soy from Europe is non GMO therefore the chocolates that are higher-end and come from Europe that use organic soy lecithin can totally be GMO free. American cheap chocolates maybe… but you should not be spreading this fear of GMOs for all soy lecithin products. Now, if soy lecithin is bad for you, which I am not sure, but at this point I don’t think I would stop buying organic European chocolate that was fair trade or direct trade and gmo free because of it…Fair Trade is a step in the right direction and Direct Trade is an even bigger step and I like to support companies who try to do what they can for the farmers.

  • Bruce Hurley June 21, 2016, 6:57 pm

    Mama Ganache sells organic dark chocolate with no soy lecithin, and it’s awesome. Some of their products do contain it, and they make it very clear. I buy the 84% dark chocolate shards, which only have 4 grams of sugar per ounce! The bulk items will give you the best deal, and if you have some justification for ordering it wholesale, you can save a bundle on their already fair prices! And the service is superb! http://mama-ganache.com/

  • Demi July 6, 2016, 7:44 pm

    The title of this article is so immensely misleading. Not all organic fair trade chocolate has soy lecithin, or additives in general. The bar I have on my desk right now is organic and fair trade, but is completely clean.

    • Jill July 7, 2016, 10:00 am

      Hi Demi,
      Since this article was written there seems to be more companies that do not use it. That is also why I use the word “most” in the title.

  • Ozbloke35 July 7, 2016, 8:46 am

    Good article but I have one thing when I read it. If it was Organic Soy Lecithin (as the label says that you gave an example of in the picture) it wouldn’t contain what you said. The pesticides, the artificial colours etc. As they wouldn’t pass as an organic product.

    The rest of the stuff you have said goes along with Whey Protein etc also. All the milk protein shakes come from the waste that used to be just throw away junk. I don’t touch soy for the pure reason most of it is GMO and the oestrogen side of things it converts to.

  • Erin August 1, 2016, 10:43 pm

    Soy causes cancer. I was diagnosed with estrogen driven uterine cancer. My doctor says no soy. I haven’t been the best at avoiding it because I love chocolate. I found Rudi’s bread and it is amazing. Then I found theos chocolate, it is wonderful but really expensive. Imam glad you suggested making your own I intend to start doing that. I will never understand why soy has to be in absolutely everything.

  • Karen September 18, 2016, 3:57 pm

    Do you know whether Organic Fair Trade 70% Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt contains soy lecithin? The ingredients are: Cocoa Beans, Cane Sugae, Cocoa Butter, Sea Salt and Ground Vanilla Bean. I don’t see soy lecithin listed. Thank you.

  • Karen September 18, 2016, 4:06 pm

    An addendum to my earlier query: I didn’t include the chocolate manufacturer. It’s Theo Organic Fair Trade. I don’t believe it contains soy lecithin. Can you confirm? Thank you.

  • Elke October 30, 2016, 12:54 pm

    The use of soy lecithin is nauseating. Check out Santa Barbara chocolates!! I just found them. Amazing!!

  • Taunya Millet March 24, 2017, 5:10 pm

    Hi.hi would like to comment on the post about soy lecithin. I can’t eat it and I ordered fair trade bar that I thought was soy free because it was organic. I gave it to my neighbor since she eats soy. I will never again buy that brand of organics.?

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