Soy lecithin is a mixture of phospholipids, naturally occurring fatty molecules, that is derived during the processing of soy beans. It is often found in chocolate bars, and sometimes in ice cream, peanut butter and margerines, where it works as an emulsifier by keeping the ingredients together. It is also added to dough to make it less sticky and easier to rise.
The main problem with soy lecithin is that is derived from soy beans. Soy beans are widely known to have one of the highest pesticide contamination levels of any crop.
During the processing of soy beans solvents are used to degum the soybean oil and this is very likely to lead to chemical solvents and contaminant in the soy lecithin. Also, if the soybeans are not organic, then soy lecithin may also contain harmful herbicides and pesticides. Many soybeans are also genetically modified, a process which as yet has not been concluded to be safe and should be avoided.
However, soy lecithin side effects are outweighed by the benefits, especially if you choose the right supplement with the right source of soy.
The 7 Most Common Soy Lecithin Side Effects
The most important side effect is that if you have a serious soy allergy, you should avoid all products which contain it. Here are the main soy lecithin side effects to be aware of:
Gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea
Changes in weight (loss and gain)
Loss of appetite
Nausea, dizziness, vomiting and confusion
Low blood pressure (which is just as dangerous as high blood pressure)
Blurred vision and occasional fainting
Now, these side effects sound severe – and some of them are – but it is worth remembering that they are almost all as a result of pesticides and chemicals applied to many soy crops. If you choose a good source of soy lecithin, you should have no problem with any of these side effects. Want to know how to avoid them by choosing a good soy source? ;) Keep reading.
How to Easily Avoid Soy Lecithin Side Effects and Get Only The Benefits Instead
Opinions on soy are mixed, but from my own personal experience, and those of others who have tested and experimented as I have, if you choose the right source of soy, there are considerable health benefits that you can experience.
There are three things to look for when choosing a soy lecithin supplement that you absolutely must adhere to if you want only the best quality without negative side effects.
Choose soy that follows strict guidelines for toxicity. Pesticide levels are high on many soy crops so to avoid the potential health problems these harmful chemicals cause you should always choose a manufacturer that complies with Good Manufacturing Practices for human food products as established by the US FDA, the European Commission and the World Health Organization’s CODEX.
Ensure the soy is fermented. Many soy sources are unfermented, and while this may seem like the better choice, studies have shown that unfermented soy contains toxins and plant oestrogens that could disrupt menstrual cycles, cause breast cancer, damage your thyroid, lower testosterone and cause prostate problems as well as being difficult to digest. Fermenting soy dramatically reduces these risks but still retains all the good nutrients needed to be healthier.
Check that the soy is not genetically modified. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) pose considerable health risks and unfortunately, soy is one of the crops most likely to be modified. Long term effects are unknown and there is an increased risk of hidden toxins or interactions with other nutrients that you cannot predict. There are also no label requirements so you really have no idea what you are getting. When you consider that one in four food products are GMO, you really are risking your health by choosing food which has been genetically altered. The get the soy lecithin benefits, always check that the soy source is not genetically modified.
Recommended Soy Lecithin Product
Actually, soy is not the only source of lecithin. It can be found naturally in a number of foods. The best sources of lecithin in food are eggs and bee pollen. It can be found in wheat, peanuts and oatmeal as well, but I would personally avoid these foods as they are high in calories but low in actual nutritional value.
You can also get excellent soy lecithin benefits by choosing a health supplement which includes it as part of a total range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The best which I have found is Now Foods Non-GMO Lecithin softgels. You can also find many other soy lecithin products on iHerb.com (just make sure you get a good iHerb discount code!)
Although the soy used in Now Foods is not officially certified as organic, it is non-GM and is also manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices for human food products as established by the US FDA, the European Commission and the World Health Organization’s CODEX.
Their soy lecithin also complies with standards for contaminants, natural toxicants, residues and food standards to ensure nothing harmful is present.
While some people will tell you only to choose organic soy beans, I would say that Now Foods are a very reputable, family-run business and that if they say their soy is contaminant free, then they will be true to their word. In fact, you can always contact them and you will receive a personal response answering all your questions. This is how I found out about their soy source.
To learn more about Now Foods and their soy lecithin supplements just click here now.