The Paleo List Answers:IS SUNFLOWER LECITHIN PALEO?
When it comes to making smooth chocolate, and a variety of other treats, lecithin is used as an emulsifier to create the perfect texture. We already know that soy lecithin isn’t Paleo, but what about the newer, soy-free sunflower lecithin we can find listed on ingredients labels? Is sunflower lecithin Paleo?
What is Sunflower Lecithin?
Lecithin is essentially an emulsifier. It helps liquids and fats blend together without separating. Think of oil and vinegar dressing: it always wants to separate. If you blend it with a touch of an emulsifier (egg yolk, lecithin, etc.), it will help the dressing stay together and keep it from “breaking” (separating).
Sunflower lecithin is produced (or harvested) as a byproduct of the sunflower oil extraction. It is also used as a healthy supplement due to its high concentration of choline (also found in eggs and liver). It is found naturally in sunflower seeds, and lecithin itself is found naturally in the body (including the brain!).
Is Sunflower Lecithin Paleo?
Here’s the thing: it’s kind of hard to say if sunflower lecithin is Paleo. It’s not something that was consumed in large amounts in the Paleolithic era, but it was definitely bioavailable in sunflower seeds. It is obviously from a seed, not a legume, and it is non-GMO, but it is also processed quite a bit to extract the lecithin needed. Much like soy lecithin, it really isn’t the end of the world if you get a little processed lecithin in your dark chocolate – the benefits outweigh the harm – but it’s not something you should consume excessively.
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: