Is Soy Lecithin Gluten Free?

To all our readers: We love you ‘soy-much’! Talking about ‘soy’, let us read about : Is Soy Lecithin Gluten-free?

We are sure you’ve come across the term ‘soy lecithin’ while reading the food labels, as it is one of the most widely used food additives in the market today. Soy lecithin is widely available in both mainstream and natural grocery stores. Soy lecithin  is commonly used as a food additive and is available as a supplement that can improve your health.

Despite this, there is a lot of misunderstanding (and possibly prejudice) about soy lecithin because it contains the word “soy.”  So, what exactly is soy lecithin, and is it beneficial to your health?

Is soy lecithin gluten-free?

Good news: Gluten-free soy lecithin it is! 

Popular questions popping up these days: Is Sake gluten-free? Is Sour cream gluten-free? Just like them, we are here to answer another popping question from the readers: Is Soy lecithin gluten-free?

Soy lecithin is a food additive that can also be taken as a supplement. It helps with the emulsification, thickening, and stabilization of food products and is also used as a supplement recognized for multiple health benefits.

There are benefits as well as drawbacks to consuming soy lecithin, but it’s not as awful as some people make it out to be. When you buy the correct soy lecithin products, it can genuinely provide nutritional benefits, including lowering cholesterol and improving brain function.

If you have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, soy lecithin is one of the best gluten-free substitutes for you and safe to consume.

Is Soy gluten and dairy-free?

Soy is gluten-free on its own. “Soy” can refer to either soybeans or soy protein, both of which are gluten-free. Pure soybeans are gluten-free. The gluten protein that causes celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity are found only in the crops wheat, barley, and rye.

Unfortunately, the soy-gluten story does not end there. The rest of the story might explain why you’re allergic to soy, although it’s naturally gluten-free. Many items that have soy as a critical ingredient also contain gluten.

As soy is a popular ingredient in many processed foods, it’s found all across our food supply. In general, raw soybeans are only found as edamame, which are plain soybeans cooked in their pods. Edamame is a popular side dish at sushi restaurants and other Japanese restaurants. Besides this, soy is included in products like soy sauce, soymilk, and candy bars, and is also used as a meat substitute.

Is Lecithin gluten-free?

Lecithin is a gluten-free thickening agent that is usually manufactured from soy. Lecithin is a lipid combination that is necessary for human cells to function. Many foods contain it, including soybeans and eggs, which are also rich in Omega 3.

Lecithin is the primary dietary source of choline, a substance linked to the B vitamins. Acetylcholine, a molecule that conducts nerve impulses, is formed by lecithin.

There is no good scientific evidence to support the use of lecithin in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and a range of other disorders.

Lecithin is typically consumed in foods when taken by mouth. When used as a supplement in doses of up to 30 grams per day for up to 6 weeks, it is most likely safe. Diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and fullness are all possible adverse effects.

Lecithin is probably safe for most individuals when administered to the skin. 

Is Soy flour gluten-free?

Soy flours are made from finely ground full-fat dehulled soybeans or defatted flakes made from dehulled soybeans. To be classified as soy flour, at least 97 percent of the product must pass through a 100-mesh standard screening.

Soy and soy products are okay to eat as long as they are gluten-free and you don’t have a soy allergy or sensitivity. By now we all know that soy is a legume that is gluten-free by nature.

Soybean proteins contain all of the essential amino acids required for good health. Soybean protein is four times that of wheat and six times that of rice grain, and it’s high in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B, C, and D [1].

Is Soybean oil gluten-free?

Gluten-intolerant people can safely consume soybean oil as it is produced only from pure soybeans. Soybean oil is soybean-derived vegetable oil and hence, is completely free of gluten!

To manufacture soybean oil, oil is extracted from whole soybeans. This process includes dehulling and crushing soybeans, separating the oil from the rest of the bean, distilling, and refining the oil to remove impurities that could change the flavor, smell, and color of the oil.

Is Soy sauce gluten-free?

So if you’ve been thinking about soy sauce being absolutely gluten-free, then let me clear your thoughts! Just because soybean is a gluten-free bean, it does not make all its products gluten-free!

To know the how’s and why’s we need to know the where and when of the product. If you read a typical label on any soy sauce bottle, you will find a mention of the grain ‘wheat’ on it. So the answer is typically clear here.

Soy sauce is a popular delicacy that can be used as a condiment or in cooking. Shoyu and soy sauce are two different names for it. In China, soy sauce has a strong history, extending back over 2,000 years. Since salt was expensive at the time, soy sauce was used to keep food from spoiling while also enhancing flavor. 

It was first introduced to Japan in the 7th century, and afterward to Korea and Southeast Asia. Many other countries are now aware of it and are absolutely in love with the taste.

Soybeans, wheat, salt, and fermenting agents are used to manufacture it. Soy sauce is traditionally prepared by soaking soybeans in water for many hours and then steaming them for a while. After that, the wheat is roasted, crushed into flour, and combined with the steamed soybeans.

Since wheat comes into the picture, soy sauce, unfortunately, is not a thing for Celiacs! 

But for others, you should know that just a tablespoon of soy sauce has about 40% of the daily salt allowance of 2,300 milligrams [2]. Sodium is a nutrient that our bodies require to function correctly. However, too much of it can raise blood pressure and lead to other health issues.

Benefits of Soy lecithin

Many of the research on lecithin’s health benefits have been conducted on animals. While animal studies can be encouraging for human health, there is no guarantee that comparable outcomes will happen in people.

Boosts immune system

According to a study, adding lecithin to rats’ diet increased macrophage (a type of white blood cell that helps destroy sick cells) and phagocytic (immune system cells that are the first line of defense against foreign pathogens) activity [3]

It also enhanced the number of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that helps the body defend itself against external invaders such as germs and viruses.

Controls cholesterol

Cholesterol management is one of the most common reasons people add more soy lecithin to their diet. The effectiveness of this has received little research. In one study, animals given soy lecithin had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels [4]. Another study revealed comparable results in humans, with total cholesterol reductions of 42 percent and LDL cholesterol reductions of up to 56 percent [5].

Improves digestion

Ulcerative colitis, the most common form of inflammatory bowel disease in the world, is one of the most widespread digestive problems. Idiopathic (cause unknown) colon inflammation is caused by ulcerative colitis.

When compared to healthy people, ulcerative colitis patients have lower phosphatidylcholine levels in their intestinal mucus. Researchers believe that this could be one of the reasons for ulcerative colitis.

Soy lecithin supplementation, according to researchers, can assist people with ulcerative colitis and reduce inflammation, which can help them feel better. They concluded that it may become a first-choice treatment for those with ulcerative colitis [6].

Restrictions with Soy lecithin

The FDA has authorized lecithin, and it is widely accepted as safe (GRAS). It is classified as E322 as a food additive in the EU.

Soy allergies are one of the most prevalent food allergies, and people who are allergic to soy should avoid soy lecithin. Soy allergies are caused by proteins present in soy. 

As soy proteins may be present in soy lecithin, those with recognized allergies should exercise caution when consuming soy lecithin-containing foods. Because of the modest amounts of soy lecithin in processed foods, those with soy intolerance rather than soy allergy may find that they can tolerate it. 

Soy lecithin is typically utilized at extremely modest levels, rarely exceeding 1% of the final food product’s weight.

FAQs

Is soy lecithin in chocolate gluten-free?

Soy lecithin is an emulsifier used in chocolate to aid in the binding of cocoa solids, sugar, and milk to cocoa butter. When melted, this improves the viscosity (“flowability”) of the chocolate. It’s absolutely gluten-free.

Is sunflower lecithin gluten-free?

Sunflower lecithin is extracted from the oil-bearing sunflower kernel by dehydrating it and separating it into three parts: oil, gum, and solids. Gluten, soy, and dairy are all naturally absent in sunflower lecithin. Patients with celiac disease and other gluten-related issues should be fine with sunflower lecithin.

Is soy lecithin bad for you?

Soy lecithin is a safe food additive that is unlikely to harm your health. Soy lecithin is found in trace amounts in processed foods. Phosphatidylcholine, a molecule present naturally in foods like eggs and soybeans, is abundant in soy lecithin. Phosphatidylcholine has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits in studies.

Wrapping up

Yes, soy lecithin is gluten-free. Soy lecithin is a food additive that is generally considered safe. It is unlikely to be dangerous as it is found in small amounts in food. 

Although soy lecithin has numerous potential health benefits, it is still typically derived from genetically modified soy, so look for organic alternatives wherever possible. 

Remember that soy lecithin includes isoflavones, which can have estrogenic effects if consumed. Consider your Doctor’s advice before consumption.  You can also read related articles, Is Kombucha gluten-free? that may help you with your ‘gluten’ knowledge.

References

  1. Taghdir, Maryam, et al. “Effect of soy flour on nutritional, physicochemical, and sensory characteristics of gluten-free bread.” Food science & nutrition, (2016), vol. 5,3 439-445.
  2. Shahar, Suzana, et al. “Sodium content in the sauces-a major contributor of sodium intake in Malaysia: a cross-sectional survey.” BMJ open, (2019), vol. 9,5 e025068.
  3. Miranda, Dalva T S Z et al. “Soy lecithin supplementation alters macrophage phagocytosis and lymphocyte response to concanavalin A: a study in alloxan-induced diabetic rats.” Cell biochemistry and function vol. 26,8 (2008): 859-65. 
  4. Wilson, T A et al. “Soy lecithin reduces plasma lipoprotein cholesterol and early atherogenesis in hypercholesterolemic monkeys and hamsters: beyond linoleate.” Atherosclerosis vol. 140,1 (1998): 147-53.
  5. Mourad, Amouni Mohamed, et al. “Influence of soy lecithin administration on hypercholesterolemia.” Cholesterol vol. 2010 (2010): 824813.
  6. Stremmel, Wolfgang, et al. “Phosphatidylcholine (lecithin) and the mucus layer: Evidence of therapeutic efficacy in ulcerative colitis?.” Digestive diseases (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 28,3 (2010): 490-6. 
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