Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is a food additive used in many processed foods, like chocolates and baked goods, as an emulsifier and stabilizer. Many bakers and bakery companies use it in their dough to make it smoother and fluffier. During the production process for soybean oil, solvents like hexane are used to extract soy lecithin as a byproduct.

How is Soy Lecithin Extracted?

Lecithin is found naturally in plant and animal tissues. The most common sources are eggs and soybeans. A complex and fatty substance, soy lecithin consists of choline, triglyceride, phospholipid, glycerol and fatty acids. When used to prepare food, soy lecithin is generally used in very small amounts, so it is good to keep in mind that you can get various forms of soy lecithin supplements.

To extract soy lecithin from soybeans begins with a highly humid environment in which the soybeans are kept. The moisture in the air is what helps loosen and separate the beans from their hulls. The beans are then heated and turned into flakes, which is when soybean oil can be extracted from them through distillation. Once the soybean oil has been extracted water is added to it and the centrifugation or steam precipitation process is begun in order to pull out soy lecithin from the oil.

Benefits of Soy Lecithin

While it is not a mandatory supplement for everyday bodily functions, soy lecithin has been found to play a significant role in combating heart-related problems. You can take it as a supplement on a regular basis and receive many health benefits from doing so.

Side Effects of Soy Lecithin

As with many food products, consuming soy lecithin in excess can and will cause many adverse side effects. If you take soy lecithin without a pharmacist’s or doctor’s advice, you may suffer the following unwanted side effects:

As soy and soy lecithin allergies are not uncommon, it is wise to ask your doctor for an allergy test before you begin consuming soy lecithin in food, as a supplement or in your medications. If you have experienced any of the above side-effects, try cutting out processed food as soy lecithin may be the culprit.

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