Soy lecithin is an ingredient that is not widely known but is found in a lot of foods, products and supplements that you may already be consuming.
At Happy Way, our focus is to create products that are not only natural and taste delicious but are also filled with lots of nutritional goodness. We always think about the user experience and what’s best for our customers, and we want to provide our community with products that are simple to use and fuss-free. It’s for this reason that we are always looking at improving and have reformulated some of our products to enable you to get even MORE out of your Happy Way.
One of the changes we have made recently is adding the ingredient soy lecithin into some of our powders.
So, what is soy lecithin you ask? There can be a lot of confusion as to whether soy lecithin is an ingredient that we should be having or avoiding, so in this blog, we are going to look at:-
- What exactly is soy lecithin?
- What are the benefits of soy lecithin?
- Are there any risks to consuming soy lecithin?
- Why do we include soy lecithin in some of our products?
We value transparency at Happy Way and want to ensure we provide you with all the information available—so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body and what’s in some of your favourite Happy Way products!
WHAT IS SOY LECITHIN?
Lecithin is an additive that can be sourced from various plant and animal tissues, in particular eggs, milk and sunflower seeds, with soy being one of the most common.
It can be found in many foods, skincare products and even medicines, and often its purpose is to increase the shelf life of products. It also helps to protect the flavour and act as an emulsifier or lubricant, which allows your products to have the right texture and consistency. You can also purchase lecithin supplements which help to support women who are breastfeeding, and it can also assist in treating certain health conditions such as high cholesterol, digestive issues, and even fight against dementia symptoms.
It is likely that you are already consuming soy lecithin or using products that contain it as an ingredient. It’s often found in protein powders and many other products, including:-
- dairy products
- infant formulas
- skincare products
- dietary supplements
- ice cream—who doesn’t love a scoop or two of ice cream?!
HOW IS IT MADE AND WHAT IS SOY LECITHIN MADE OF?
Soy lecithin is derived from raw soybeans, where the soybean oil is extracted using a chemical solvent. The soy oil then goes through a process where it is mixed thoroughly with water until the lecithin ingredient becomes hydrated, separating from the oil, and it’s then dried. Whilst some people are concerned that during the production of soy lecithin harmful chemicals are used which can remain in the end product, it’s important to remember that when soy lecithin is present in our foods and products, it is usually in very minimal amounts—usually no more than 1% of processed foods.
So although we would ideally like to avoid any toxins and pesticides in what we consume day-to-day, we should keep in mind that we are exposed to toxins daily in our everyday environment, food and household products. The levels of harmful toxins found in soy lecithin and the levels of soy lecithin in what we use or consume are extremely minor.
WHAT IF I AM ALLERGIC TO SOY?
When you hear the word “additive” it is often met with controversy, however, there has been no proven evidence that small amounts of soy lecithin in products can cause harm at all. According to a study by the University of Nebraska, soy lecithin contains trace amounts of soy proteins, which are known to include soy allergens. But for those consumers that are allergic to soy, the levels of soy protein in soy lecithin are so low, being that most of the soy proteins are removed during the manufacturing process—therefore soy lecithin is generally not considered an issue when it’s included in food products that those with allergies consume.
SOY LECITHIN BENEFITS
So what are some of the benefits of having soy lecithin in your products or taking a soy lecithin supplement?
Can help lower cholesterol
One of the most commonly known benefits of soy lecithin is that it can help to lower cholesterol. Soy lecithin can increase the good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol that’s found in the body and enhance the body’s ability to break down fats.
Improves heart health
For those at risk of heart disease or high blood pressure, products with soy lecithin have been found to improve cardiovascular health. Because of its ability to lower bad cholesterol, this means less fat build-up in the arteries and therefore a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Assists with digestion
Being that soy lecithin is an emulsifier, it helps improve the mucus in your intestine, making digestion easier, whilst also protecting the digestive system. It can assist people who suffer from IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and ulcerative colitis.
Can help mothers who are breastfeeding
It has been recommended by some breastfeeding experts that lecithin can help prevent the blocking of breast ducts which can cause infections such as mastitis. This can be quite painful for breastfeeding mothers, as the milk thickens and gets clogged. By incorporating a small amount of soy lecithin into your daily diet, it can help to thin out the breast milk, making the chances of infection less likely.
Can improve overall brain health and function
Lecithin contains a chemical called choline which helps to boost overall brain function and increase mental alertness. There is also continued research being done to determine if lecithin can help treat individuals with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, or other illnesses that affect the nervous system.
Provides skincare benefits
When found in skincare products, soy lecithin can help to soothe and moisturise the skin. Lecithin is often used as an emollient in skincare, which promotes hydration and increases moisture levels in the skin.
Improves the texture and mixability of products
Another benefit of soy lecithin is that it not only increases the shelf life of a lot of products but it can also improve the overall customer experience when using products too. When referring to powder type products such as our Happy Way protein powders, soy lecithin helps prevent clumping and improves the mixability when they’re combined with water or milk.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO SOY LECITHIN?
Soy lecithin is generally considered safe and there are no serious risks if taken in reasonable dosages.
As mentioned earlier, during the production process, soy lecithin is removed from the soybeans using the chemical hexane. Hexane is commonly used to separate oils from seeds and vegetables, and although it is removed during production, there can be some slight residue left over. The levels of soy lecithin used in foods and various other products are extremely low, therefore the chances of remaining traces of harmful chemicals affecting you are slim, and not to be overly concerned about. It’s best to choose foods and supplements made with organic soy lecithin, to avoid traces of pesticides or chemicals.
For those that have reactions or are allergic to soy, we recommend checking with your healthcare professional before including soy lecithin in your diet, especially if taken in supplement form. Soy lecithin is present in a lot of the foods we eat daily but in very small amounts, therefore there’s no real risk when consumed naturally through foods.
Some potential side effects of soy lecithin, when taken in excess, could include:
- stomach pain
- bloated feeling
WHY ARE WE USING SOY LECITHIN IN SOME OF OUR PRODUCTS AT HAPPY WAY?
At Happy Way, we have chosen to incorporate the ingredient soy lecithin into some of our powders to improve the user experience for our customers. Adding a small amount of soy lecithin into some of our protein powders (only 0.1%) allows them to mix well when used in your blended smoothies and pre/post-workout shakes, which are made just by mixing your favourite protein with water. We wanted to ensure you get the most out of your Happy Way protein powders, and that it’s not a workout in itself to get your powders mixed to the right consistency!
At Happy Way, all of our protein powders are 100% natural and are filled to the brim with the highest quality superfood and organically grown ingredients. With no artificial preservatives, flavours or sweeteners, our protein powders will have you feeling good from the inside out!