Store Bought Chocolate Without Soy Lecithin, Does It Exist?
In honor of World Chocolate Day, we’re celebrating pure, scrumptious dark chocolate. But before you head to the store and pick up a chocolate bar, take a look at the label. Nearly 94% of chocolate on the shelves contains the additive soy lecithin, which can be harmful to those with soy allergies and plain dishonest to people looking to avoid GMOs. While we don’t make chocolate at Rowdy Prebiotics, we have a soft spot in our hearts for it. We use 68% and 70% organic soy-free dark chocolate as a key ingredient in our Rowdy Bars, so it’s baffling to us that so many chocolate bars out there rely on soy lecithin. If you’re a chocolate purist like us and are wondering, "Where can I find chocolate without soy lecithin?" read up on this extremely common additive so you can find chocolate without soy lecithin.
What Is Soy Lecithin (and Can I find Chocolate Without Soy Lecithin?)
In nature, lecithin can be found in cells of all living organisms. On its own, lecithin is actually a good source of choline and is often prescribed to people with high cholesterol. Soy lecithin is a food additive that, when extracted from soybeans and processed, can be used as an emulsifier to improve the texture and consistency of products like chocolate (it keeps the water and fat from separating). This process releases a chemical called hexane, which is used in adhesive and varnishes. It’s also not regulated by the FDA. While hexane is supposed to be removed during an additional process, trace amounts my still be found in the final food product.
Let’s Talk About Soy
For those who are allergic to soy, there’s no question that consuming it will be bad news. In fact soy is one of the top 8 food allergens, also known as the Big 8. For those who are not allergic, soy is a bit more controversial. While there are undeniable nutritional benefits of soy (great source of plant protein, polyunsaturated fats, Omega-3s and many vitamins and minerals), it’s ultimately the source and processing of the soy that strips soy lecithin of nutrients and causes health concerns. An estimated 95% of soy products are genetically modified, so if you are looking to avoid GMOs or you have an allergy to soy, then it’s best to avoid anything containing soy lecithin.
While soy isn’t as damaging to the gut as gluten or sugar, some studies have shown the unfermented soy in the diet can lead to health issues. Fermented sources of soy include miso, tempeh, and traditionally made soy sauce.
For people who have thyroid issues or have low iodine intake, soy should also be avoided. Otherwise soy consumption can lead to hypothyroidism. (Did you know: when owner Kellie Lee was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, she decided it was time to create clean, simple foods that could fuel her active lifestyle. Read her full story to find out how the first round of Rowdy Bars came to be.)
Why Is There Soy Lecithin In My Chocolate?
Soy lecithin is used to replace more expensive ingredients like cocoa butter because you typically need more of these ingredients to achieve the same result. Soy lecithin also increases the shelf life, which is an added bonus for manufacturers.
If you compare the labels of foods that contain soy lecithin with foods that don’t, you will also notice a significant difference in the number of ingredients. Foods that contain soy lecithin typically have more ingredients like additives and preservatives (i.e. ingredients that cut cost AND nutritional value), while foods without it have a smaller ingredient list.
Our Rowdy Bars are made with simple, whole food ingredients like organic cashews, organic egg white protein, organic peanuts, organic yacon root, and 68%-70% soy-free organic dark chocolate, that provide sustained energy and promote gut health. Our prebiotic bars are trusted by Olympic triathletes, ultra-marathoners and health nuts alike. Good, clean energy is our M.O. and we take pride in creating on-the-go foods that support your superhuman, super Rowdy feats.