What Foods Contain Lecithin?

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Lecithin contains fatty acids, which can be saturated or unsaturated, depending on the food. Your own liver produces lecithin as a component of bile to digest fat. Therefore, it's not a requirement in your diet. But it does occur naturally in many foods and is extracted for use in processed foods, often derived from soy oil and called soy lecithin. It extends shelf life, reduces stickiness and has an antifoaming effect. It's also an emulsifier, preventing water and oil from separating. Safe amounts of lecithin intake haven't been established.

Foods with Lecithin

High amounts of lecithin occur in animal-based foods, including meat, eggs and dairy. In meat, the greatest amount of lecithin occurs in animal brains, kidneys and liver. Other good sources of lecithin are whole grains and soy beans. Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of lecithin. Lecithin from these natural sources is an ingredient in all kinds of processed food, including chocolate, baked and frozen desserts, salad dressings, bread and nonstick cooking spray.

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