Foundation Diet and Health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health
The best perspective for your health

Soy lecithin, powder

Soy lecithin can be purchased as a liquid or powder. Cooks use it as an emulsifying agent and to add stability to foams and airs.

Soy lecithin powder is used by cooks as an emulsifier to help combine liquids like oil and water, and as a stabilizer when incorporating air into liquids. It has a light nutty to neutral aroma and taste which allows it to blend well into a variety of foods. While lecithin is a nutrient that is essential for the healthy function of brain and nerve cells, current research does not recommend supplementation since the amount synthesized by the body is considered adequate.

Culinary uses:

For the best results, combine soy lecithin powder with cold water. Heat interferes with the emulsifying properties of soy lecithin. Using the proper mixing method is also important. If you are making a foam using an immersion blender mix the liquid beginning from the top, so the maximum amount of air will be introduced. This will help you achieve a light and fluffy consistency.  
According to Wikipedia, soy lecithin powder is used in baking and confectionery where it replaces more expensive ingredients, controls the properties of sugar and cocoa in chocolates, improves the texture of bread and baked goods, and increases shelf life.1  
You can replace eggs with soy lecithin when preparing vegan mayonnaise or vegan ice cream.

Purchasing:

Soy lecithin powder can be purchased in health food stores, well-stocked supermarkets, and online.
Since soy lecithin is highly processed, lecithin derived from genetically modified (GM) crops is difficult to distinguish from that derived from non-GM crops. Plant-derived versions that are GMO-free and allergen-free, such as sunflower, are becoming an increasingly popular choice for vegetarian and vegan foods.1

Storing:

Keep soy lecithin powder tightly covered and store in a cool, dry area.

Nutritional information:

Lecithin is made from a mixture of phospholipids including choline, ethanolamine, and inositol, along with two fatty acids.1

Health aspects:

Lecithin is a source of choline, an essential nutrient for brain and nerve cell function including cell membrane signaling and cholinergic neurotransmission. Research-based guidelines for supplementation have not been issued. … although its exact function has not been determined, and the involvement of choline in long-term health and development of clinical disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases, cognitive decline in aging and regulation of blood lipid levels, has not been well defined, and remains under research as of 2015.1

Medical uses:

Soy lecithin is often taken as a health supplement to help support memory and brain activity, certain types of depression, liver and gallbladder health, cholesterol, and the skin. You can purchase it in health-food stores, well-stocked supermarkets, pharmacies, and online. It is sold as tablets and soft gels and in powder and granular forms.
The Canadian Breast-Feeding Foundation recommends its use to prevent blocked or plugged milk ducts which can lead to mastitis in breastfeeding women.2   

Dangers / intolerances:

Under current manufacturing practices, it is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) in food production. Soy lecithin is required to be labeled as an allergen when used as a release agent that contacts surfaces. 

General information:

Lecithin (from the Greek lekithos, "egg yolk") is a mixture of various phospholipids and is present in the cell membranes of animals and plants. The composition depends on the origin of the lecithin. The main phospholipids in soy lecithin are phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl inositol, phosphatidyl ethanolamine, and phosphatidic acid.
Soy lecithin is sold as a food additive and dietary supplement. It is derived from soybeans by crushing the hulled and cooked beans and then mechanically separating out crude lecithin. After a cleaning (refining) process is completed, soy lecithin is ready to use. It is available as a powder and a liquid and has a lightly nutty to neutral flavor and aroma.
Soy lecithin powder is fat soluble.

Literature / Sources:

  1. Wikipedia. Lecithin [Internet]. Version dated 08.23.2018 [Quoted 08.27.2018].
  2. Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC © 2005 Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation handout #24, Miscellaneous Treatments. January 2005.