The World's Healthiest Foods are health-promoting foods that can change your life.

Try our WHFoods Meal Plan.

The George Mateljan Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or
advertising. Our mission is to help you eat and cook the healthiest way for optimal health.
I notice "soy lecithin" as an ingredient in some foods. Does it contain the goitrogenic compounds that is found in the soybean itself?

Lecithin is a complicated mixture of molecules that are especially concentrated in egg yolks, soybeans, and wheat germ. Three components are especially plentiful in lecithin. These components are phosphatidylcholines, phosphatidylethanolamines, and phosphatidylinositols. Lecithin is found in the cell membranes of all cells, including human cells.

Soybeans are sometimes referred to as "goitrogenic" because they contain substances that can interfere with production of thyroid hormones under certain circumstances. These substances are called isoflavones and are naturally occurring substances found in numerous foods that are known to have a variety of health-supportive properties. Especially in the case of women's health surrounding the stage of menopause, isoflavones have been shown to provide risk-lowering benefits in the areas of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.

With respect to potential interference with thyroid function, I want to emphasize the words "under certain circumstances" when it comes to soy foods. Several research studies have repeatedly shown that it only during times of measurable iodine deficiency that soy isoflavones have an unwanted impact on thyroid function. In other words, for individuals who have normal amounts of iodine in their body, the risk posed by soybean consumption appears to be extremely low.

When it comes to soy lecithin, the risk posed is even lower, since lecithin does not contain isoflavones. Those substances are left behind in the unused part of the soybeans when lecithin is extracted from them. For all of the reasons I've described above, I do not have concerns about the use of soy lecithin in processed foods from the standpoint of thyroid function. However, I always prefer whole, natural, organically grown foods (like the soybeans themselves) as a source of nourishment in comparison to processed components like soy lecithin.

For more on this topic, please see:

We're in the
World's Top 10!

35 million visitors per year.
The World's Healthiest Foods website is a leading source of information and expertise on the Healthiest Way of Eating and Cooking. It's one of the most visited websites on the internet when it comes to "Healthiest Foods" and "Healthiest Recipes" and comes up in the Top 10 websites on a Google search for these phrases.

Over 100 Quick &
Easy Recipes

Our Recipe Assistant will help you find the recipe that suits your personal needs. The majority of recipes we offer can be both prepared and cooked in 20 minutes or less from start to finish; a whole meal can be prepared in 30 minutes. A number of them can also be prepared ahead of time and enjoyed later.

World's Healthiest
is expanded

What's in our new book:
  • 180 more pages
  • Smart Menu
  • Nutrient-Rich Cooking
  • 300 New Recipes
  • New Nutrient Articles and Profiles
  • New Photos and Design
privacy policy and visitor agreement | who we are | site map | what's new
For education only, consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.
© 2001-2020 The George Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved