Is the calorie-free sweetener erythritol safe? The FDA did not evaluate long-term use, and new research suggests it may cause blood clots in people with high blood pressure and other risk factors.
Table of Contents
- Page Content:
- What is Lecithin and why is it in so many foods?
- Is soy lecithin bad (high PUFA)? What about Sunflower?
- How much soy lecithin is there in chocolate, ice cream and other products?
- Should I avoid chocolate or other foods that contain soy lecithin?
- What about other problems with soy like GMOs and phytoestrogens?
- What is Lecithin and Why is it In So Many Foods?
- Is lecithin bad (high PUFA)?
- Questions? Corrections? Please leave your thoughts below!
What is Lecithin and why is it in so many foods?
Is soy lecithin bad (high PUFA)? What about Sunflower?
Everything that applies to SOY lecithin also applies to SUNFLOWER lecithin
How much soy lecithin is there in chocolate, ice cream and other products?
Should I avoid chocolate or other foods that contain soy lecithin?
What about other problems with soy like GMOs and phytoestrogens?
If you’ve been reading labels lately, you might have noticed soy lecithin showing up on the ingredients list. If you haven’t, take a look the next time you buy prepared foods like chocolate, candy of any kind, ice cream, mayonnaise, salad dressings, cakes, breads, peanut butter, coffee creamers, even orange juice or other citrus beverages.
This article will explain why soy lecithin is added to foods, and whether or not you should avoid some or all of the foods to which soy lecithin is added.
What is Lecithin and Why is it In So Many Foods?
Soy, sunflower and other lecithins are added to foods helps create a smooth consistency and helps ensure the mixture stays mixed.
This article is continued below...(scroll down)
It helped. I feel great.
"It’s helped. I feel great."
NBA baskeball player
This has been life changing
"Let me tell you this has been life-changing. I have all of her books, in audible and ebooks! I have gotten rid of all the hateful 8 oils. I have trained my body to eat its own previously toxic body fat. Download that pod it's a game changer!"
Broadcaster / The Megyn Kelly Show
Deep Nutrition changed my life.
Fox News Primetime host
Saved my life
I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine. Prior to reading the book, it was almost impossible for me to lose weight as a diabetic.
I feel free
For the last month, I have really been reading all labels on everything. I have completely remove those 8 oils you talk about. I must tell you, I feel great! I have more energy and I am now 197 lbs (have always been around 205 to 210lbs). I eat potatoes with real butter, grass fed steak, pasta with the right toppings. I eat everything! I seem to crave less sugar. I love it!
I feel so much better
I had terrible aches and pains everywhere in my body, my hands, shoulders and knees. I feel so much better and the way I feel is motivating me every day! Thank you
Mike Deb Wootan Burcin
Better than ever
I am an anesthesiologist in Orlando and a huge fan of both of your books! I have been incorporating your principles for the last 10 months and feel that my health is better than ever.
Marnie Robinson, MD
My allergies disappeared
The biggest difference for me (and a surprising one) is that my allergies have almost completely disappeared! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve had allergies most of my life and they have often affected what I do which is a teaching music in [a public school district]. In general, I feel much better and have more consistent energy throughout the day.
Heart Palpitations have Stopped
I’ve lost 20+ pounds (also fasting 16-24 hours daily) and haven’t had palpitations except for one occasion — I had a mini bag of Fritos for the first time in July. And, I feel better now on a daily basis than I ever did all through college.
Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix reader
I’ve lost over 50 pounds
I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I’m 56 years old. Cutting processed food and unhealthy fats from my diet was one of the first things I did on my health recovery journey...I went cold turkey off the bad oils. Emptied my pantry into the trash and just started eating real food
Mitzi Wilkinson Champion
Knowledge I didn’t know I needed
Your Fatburn Fix book is amazing, my friend. Thank you! I’m an Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and I know my stuff. This is the extra layer of knowledge I didn’t know I needed. Well done!
Fatburn Fix reader
Lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork is great
I have lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork (after 3 months of eating your way) was even better! I was metabolically healthy (per your book) before I read your book, but barely. Lowering my weight, sealed the deal! I have been talking about you and your book to anyone who will listen...Thank you for all you’ve done and what you continue to do! You are changing lives for the better!
FatBurn Fix reader
Lost 20 lbs I could never shed
I love your Fatburn Fix! Has helped me so so much! I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed. I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils. It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn. I work out in the am and believe I am burning fat for energy not from food!
I feel great
My waist is four inches smaller. I feel great and many of the minor aches and pains that I had (knees and lower back) are gone. Also, my muscle tone is amazing, even though I have not increased my workout routine.
Completed Dr Cate's online course
The go-to for strength and conditioning coaches
Whenever I advise my clients about eating to perform I go straight to what I have learned from Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition has become the go-to for strength and conditioning coaches across the country.
Major League Baseball Agent with WME Sports
Dismantles the lie
Dr. Cate dismantles the lie that seed oils are healthy, which may the biggest lie about nutrition and health because it’s so insidious.
Ken D Berry, MD
Author of Lies My Doctor Told Me
She knows the chemistry
Dr. Cate alerts us to the harms of seed oils and she’s convincing because she knows the chemistry better than anyone.
Dr. Drew Pinskey, MD
Globally recognized internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist, media personality, LoveLine Host, and New York Times bestselling author
No one is better at communicating nutritional truth
Dr. Cate has had the single greatest impact on how we talk to people about fueling for both performance or durability. While we all are a little unique, the foundational principles of human nutrition are immutable. If you are looking to create a more durable, resilient body, no one is better at communicating nutritional truth than Dr. Cate.
Dr. Kelly Starrett
Physiotherapist coach and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author
Highly recommend The Fatburn Fix
Dr. Shanahan has had a significant impact on my practice of medicine. I am known as a Low Carb Doctor, but I never really appreciated the negative effects of processed seed oils on the health of my patients. I highly recommend The Fatburn Fix to my patients and have a loaner copy in my waiting room. It is amazing how quickly blood sugars and overall health improves with cutting seed oils. It is not just about the carbs!
Dr. Brian Lenkzes, MD
CEO of LowCarbMD San Diego, co-host of Low Carb MD Podcast and host of Life's Best Medicine Podcast
Respected in the sports world
Dr. Cate reordered my diet when I was with the L.A. Lakers, and the benefits, for me personally, were felt immediately and have served me to this day. I’ve come to take real food so seriously I started a small family farm. I know of no M.D./nutritionist more respected in the sports world than Dr. Cate Shanahan.
Brought seed oil issue front and center
Cate brought the seed oil issue front and center. Healthy fats matter. So much so that I created an entire product line to swap out bad fats with good.
Founding Father of the Primal/Paleo Movement
Optimal health starts with food
If you want to understand how optimal health starts with food, start with Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition leaves you with an appreciation of the profound relationship between our genes and the planet, inspiring us to be good shepherds of both.
Attribution author of The Whole 30
Helped me with endurance
Deep Nutrition really helped me with endurance. I started to feel better as a player. I was able to run more, I was able to be more active …and I just decided to keep going with it to this day.
Silver bullet for me
Dr Cate’s teachings helped me lose 60 pounds like it was nothing. It was like a silver bullet for me.
Paul Grewal, MD
Dr Grewal Internal Medicine, MD, author of Genius Foods
Radically improve your health…
Dr. Shanahan has provided a solid reference that deserves a place in the library of anyone who is seriously interested in nutrition. Her perspective on the vital role that healthy fat has in our diet is novel and, if implemented, can radically improve your health.
Dr. Joseph Mercola
Author of Fat for Fuel and Founder of Mercola.com
Pull up a chair…
I have based my work on the idea that getting the right kinds of healthy fats into your body and avoiding the worst fats is essential to optimal health. I've interviewed dozens of the world's top experts about this, and I know of no one who speaks more eloquently on this topic than Dr Cate. If she’s talking fats, pull up a chair. Take notes.
Author of the Bulletproof Diet
The key to unlocking my fatburn
I love your Fatburn Fix! Has helped me so so much! I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed. I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils. It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn.
Saved my life
I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine.
> Tears of joy
I'm crying tears of joy and appreciation for all you've done for me and my health! Without Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix, I would literally still be in the vicious cycle I'd been fighting all my life! In a nutshell - I am no longer a compulsive overeating addict suffering under the crushing 'thumb' of all food and alcohol.
If you’ve ever done home made vinaigrette dressings, you may have noticed that the oil and water separate a lot faster than the vinaigrettes you buy in the store. That’s because the manufacturers usually add emulsifiers. Caesar dressing is cloudier and creamier than vinaigrettes because (when you make it yourself) you add an emulsifier in the form of egg yolk.
Egg yolks are also a great source of lecithin. So are soybeans and sunflower seeds.
Lecithin’s stabilizing property comes from its chemical make up, being composed of fat-soluble compounds on one end and water-soluble compounds on the other. This dual nature means it sticks on the outer surface of oil droplets and helps to hold it in place in water. Emulsifiers keep things nicely mixed together, not just oil and water but also oil and air, sugar and cocoa butter, sugar and cream and other mixtures. They work by holding the suspension for a longer time than they otherwise would before separating again. This has obvious benefits to the way the food looks–smooth and creamy rather than separated, lumpy, or greasy looking. Emulsification also has flavor benefits and even helps to slow certain kinds of chemical decay, thus potentially enhancing nutrition.
If you’ve ever tried to whip up mayo yourself using egg yolks and oil, you know that the egg yolk is essential for keeping the air/oil mixture stable and making your mayo nice and thick and white and creamy. Without the egg yolk, you might whip a few bubbles into your oil, but they won’t hold for more than a few minutes.
Many foods we love are actually emulsions. My personal all time favorite emulsion is chocolate. Chocolatiers recently discovered that making chocolate smooth and flowy enough to pour into molds is much easier when they add an emulsifier. Soy lecithin helps hold the sugar molecules in the cocoa butter (or any fat), thus it’s likely that lower sugar chocolates containing lecithin contain less lecithin than higher sugar chocolates. Same goes for ice cream: the more sugar, the more the lecithin (be it from egg yolks, or soy) helps your ice cream stay smooth and creamy, which is especially important as it warms up on your tongue.
Is lecithin bad (high PUFA)?
Soy, sunflower and other high-PUFA seed-based lecithins are not great. The reason it’s not great is that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the fatty acids in soy lecithin are polyunsaturated and therefore prone to oxidizing and breaking down into toxins like 4 hydroxynonenal, among others, during storage and heating. What’s more, once our body fat accumulates too many polyunsaturated fatty acids we can lose our ability to burn it. (This is discussed in detail in my 2020 book, The FATBURN FIX)
If you can avoid soy lecithin, I would. However, as is true everywhere in toxicology, the dose makes the poison. We can handle a tiny bit of even very toxic chemicals so it might not be necessary to avoid every single product listing soy lecithin on the label because some products contain very little. Which begs the question:
How much soy lecithin is there in chocolate, ice cream and other products?
It depends on the product.
The food with most lecithin might be mayo. Most mayo these days contains soy or sunflower lecithin instead of whole egg yolks. The manufacturers of products like veganaise like to claim their mayo is healthy because soy lecithin is healthier than egg yolks, but that’s nonsense because eggs are healthy. According to Chef Debbie Lee, mayo made with soy lecithin would contain about 2 ounces per quart, or 6% concentration by weight. A 10 ounce salad dressings made with soy lecithin would contain about the same roughly 6% concentration.
Tired of spending $6-8 on avocado oil mayo? Try making your own with Chef Macy’s basic mayo 101 recipe. CLICK HERE to view in YOUTUBE
Chocolate on the other hand contains much less soy lecithin than veganaise mayo, somewhere around 0.4% according to an article posted on FoodDensity.com, which seems chemically credible to me. Many of the more boutique brands of chocolate do not use any soy lecithin.
Should I avoid chocolate or other foods that contain lecithin from soy, sunflower or other high-PUFA seed?
Here’s my bottom line: Chocolate’s ok. But as for the rest, it’s best to avoid the lot.
In my view, the bulk of the other foods high in soy lecithin are also best avoided either due to being too high in sugar or loaded with vegetable oils, like soy oil. If you want to be healthy its essential to avoid foods with soy oil and the other toxic PUFA-rich seed oils [for more on the subject of good fats and bad, click over to my list of good fats and bad page]. So that means avoiding most of the mayo and salad dressing that contain significant amounts of soy lecithin, as well as cookies and other junk foods that are typically made with these toxic oils.
If you have an allergy to soy protein, that’s a different story and depending on the severity of your allergy you may need to avoid soy lecithin all together.
What about other problems with soy like GMOs and phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens: Phytoestrogens are simply plant hormones, and all seeds contain phytoestrogens. Our liver can break these down. Unless you are consuming very high amounts of soy and other seeds, the phytoestrogens will not be a problem.
GMOs: GMOs are a problem primarily for the environment, not for the animals that eat them. That said, GMO soy is often doused with extra helpings of herbicide that might very well remain in soy lecithin in concentrations you wouldn’t want to know about. Keep in mind that buying organic produce (or growing your own) is the best way to avoid unwanted chemicals of all kinds.