Saturday, June 2, 2012

Q: What is Soy Lecithin? Is it okay?

Q: What's your thought on soy lecithin ? Do you do it at all or do it with an enzyme? It's in so many things that would otherwise be ok. Do you have a thought there?

A: Soy lecithin is a byproduct of soybean oil production that is used as an emulsifier in many processed foods. So, if you have cocoa with cocoa butter in a candy bar it will keep them together so they don't separate. Because it is used in such trace amounts in products and because it is derived from the oil, most people who are sensitive to soy are okay with soy lecithin. Of course, everyone is different so the fact that most people are okay with it doesn't mean that everyone is okay with it. Some people do react to soy lecithin--but in general it seems okay for people who soy is a secondary intolerance.

We were on a very strict gluten free, dairy free, soy free diet for years but we were actually always able to include soy lecithin without a problem. Digestive enzymes would certainly be helpful as any food that contains soy lecithin is probably a processed food with many components.

I want to emphasize that in general most soy found in processed food is to be avoided especially forms like "soy protein isolate" and soy milk. But, trace amounts of soy lecithin are okay. SOY LECITHIN IS THE ONE FORM OF SOY THAT SEEMS TO BE OKAY FOR MOST WHO ARE SENSITIVE TO GLUTEN, DAIRY and SOY.

I do recommend digestive enzymes with meals for children who are sensitive to these types of proteins, based on our amazing experience with Houston Enzymes Tri Enza, recommendations by top nutritionists and books like "Digestive Enzymes for Autism and Other Neurological Conditions" by Karen Defelice. In the book, they say that some children do better on a wider diet with enzymes than a more restricted diet without enzymes. Enzymes would help the body process soy lecithin but it would also help break down other components in the food so that more nutrients were extracted.