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Is Soy Lecithin Gluten-Free? Information On This Popular Food Additive

is soy lecithin gluten-free?

In a world of convenience, one may wonder whether soy lecithin, a common food emulsifier and additive, is gluten-free. Soy lecithin has plenty of uses. From increasing the shelf life of peanut butter to being infused in facial creams and body lotions to nourish your skin, soy lecithin is probably found in places which you can imagine and have never imagined. So, it is important for those following a gluten-free diet to know whether soy lecithin contains gluten! 

What is Soy Lecithin?

Soy lecithin is a common ingredient and additive in a lot of foods. It is commonly found in processed food and is primarily used as an emulsifier. Do you remember how in elementary school we were taught during science that oil and water would not mix well with each other? That’s where soy lecithin comes in – it helps to combine two substances that would have easily separated from each other. That’s why it’s an essential component in chocolates, mayonnaise, and ice cream. It helps to evenly distribute those fat particles, resulting in a smooth, creamy and glossy finish.

Is Soy Lecithin Gluten-Free?

And what is it made of? As the name says, it is made from soybeans. The soybean oil is extracted from the raw soybeans. This crude oil is mixed with water until the lecithin becomes fully hydrated and then separates from the oil. It is then further enzymatically modified. This means it should be free from wheat, barley, and rye, and hence technically, soy lecithin is gluten-free (Yes, you don’t have to toss out your strawberry ice cream just yet!).

Can Soy Lecithin be Cross-Contaminated with Gluten?

According to FDA regulations, soy lecithin is considered ‘gluten-free’. Even for those suffering from celiac disease, Beyond Celiac has declared that soy lecithin is safe to be eaten. However, since the FDA regulations only apply to the 50 United States and some other U.S. territories and possessions, you may be wondering whether soy lecithin not under FDA’s purview is safe to be eaten. 

Well, the answer is yes. That’s because although soybeans can be easily cross-contaminated with gluten, the resulting soy lecithin may not be so. 

We know that soybeans are one of the easiest crops to be contaminated with gluten. Firstly, a growing number of farmers grow soybeans beside wheat fields. Next, some farmers alternate growing soy and wheat crops on their land, depending on the harvesting season. Inadvertently, some wheat grains may end up on the soybeans, causing cross-contamination. Secondly, soybeans can contain gluten if the manufacturing and processing facilities use the same equipment to handle gluten-containing products such as wheat, barley and rye. Unless the facility has a separate, dedicated gluten-free production line, one must not take the gluten-free status of soybeans for granted. 

However, soy lecithin is not the same as soybeans. The truth is because soy lecithin has undergone extensive processing, the final product, whether powder, oil, or capsule form, looks almost nothing like the original soybeans that it came from. Hence, this final product of soy lecithin is unlikely to contain any gluten at the end of the day. Even if the soybeans were contaminated in one way or the other. 

Of course, for those who are looking to have additional assurance, there’s no harm in opting for soy lecithin which has been certified to be gluten-free. This is especially important for those who are extra sensitive to even the tiniest traces of gluten in the food.

See Also: Is Dextrose Gluten Free?

Certified Gluten-Free Programmes

Gluten-free certification programmes are independent organisations which provide additional testing to ensure that the traces of gluten found in the products meet the threshold limit. For example, the Gluten-Free Certification Organisation (GFCO) is the largest and fastest-growing gluten-free certification organisation in North America. All products bearing the GFCO logo must contain less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is less than the FDA requirements of 20 ppm.

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) also provides third-party certification. Ensuring that the amount of gluten does not go over the FDA’s recommendation. Regardless of what kind of certification logo is present on the product, this will provide extra peace of mind for people navigating a gluten-free diet. 

Brands of Gluten-Free Soy Lecithin

So, here are some gluten-free brands of soy lecithin to ensure that you can sleep soundly at night!

●     Modernist Pantry Soy Lecithin Powder: This powdered form of soy lecithin is specifically crafted for all your cooking recipes from baking to emulsification and preservation. 

●     Lotus Lecithin Granules: These granules are perfect for adding to porridge or cereal or sprinkled over yoghurt or fruit bowls. The granules form adds a slightly crunchier texture than powdered lecithin. 

●     Nature’s Truth Soy Lecithin 1200mg capsules: A great source of Choline and Inositol to support liver health and promote overall healthy mood, these capsules are gluten-free. Bonus points for it being non-GMO as well, ensuring that the best quality product is provided for all. 

Soy Lecithin in the Kitchen 

The benefits of soy lecithin are countless. The best part of soy lecithin is that you don’t have to eat it as a supplement in yucky capsule. You can include it in many recipes – and it doesn’t even feel like you are eating lecithin! 

Why not explore some of these recipes below to see how you can incorporate soy lecithin into your daily life? 

●     Multigrain Gluten-Free Bread RecipeBread has always had a not-so-good rep because of its high amount of carbohydrates. This multigrain bread is the exact opposite. It incorporates superfoods such as psyllium husk and flax seed meal with sunflower lecithin, and most importantly, it tastes great. 

●     Vegetable Discs with Soy Lecithin100% vegan, these patties make great substitutions for your burger patties. With only 6 ingredients, you can easily make this with whatever is in your kitchen while reaping the benefits of soy lecithin. 

Conclusion: Is Soy Lecithin Gluten-Free? 

Soy lecithin, with its many functions, is thankfully gluten-free. Whether you use it as a daily supplement, eat it in ice cream and chocolates, or sprinkle it in your muffins, the possibilities are endless. Furthermore, the heavily processed nature of it ironically makes it safer to eat for people who are gluten intolerant or sensitive to gluten. It would have been difficult to imagine how life would be if soy-lecithin was not gluten-free. And, with a huge sigh of relief, you can safely continue to enjoy ice cream, chocolates, peanut butter and mayo even if they contain soy lecithin. 

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