Soy lecithin is a byproduct of extracting soy oil. It’s often used as an emulsifier in all sorts of processed foods, including our Paleo favorite, dark chocolate.
Paleo and Soy
Since it does come from soy, we can’t include soy lecithin on the Paleo menu. It’s almost always GMO, but it’s not all bad news. Even those who are allergic to soy can usually tolerate soy lecithin and it even has some health benefits. It’s an excellent source of choline, and it’s not the hydrogenated soy oil we tend to see everywhere else in the shelves of American grocery stores.
The Bad News
That said, soy lecithin has demonstrated estrogenic effects and it has also been shown to interfere with mitochondrial function, both of which are bad news. If you’re not allergic to soy, there’s no reason to avoid good dark chocolate just because of the soy lecithin, but if you notice any adverse effects, you may want to switch to a soy-free brand to see if that’s what’s causing the problem.
Mark Sisson addressed the question of soy lecithin as part of a Paleo lifestyle in this post.