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Is Soy Lecithin Gluten Free?

Published on: February 3, 2023

Are you wondering if soy lecithin is gluten-free? 

If so, you’re not alone! Many people need clarification about whether or not soy lecithin contains gluten, and for a good reason. 

Keep reading to find out because it’s not as straightforward as you think!

What is Soy Lecithin?

Soy lecithin is a common ingredient in many foods, including baked goods, chocolate, and salad dressings. It acts as an emulsifier, which helps keep ingredients in a mixture from separating.

For example, it is used in many common foods like salad dressings and sauces to maintain consistency. Nobody wants to see a murky separate liquid layer in their dressing!

Is Soy Lecithin Gluten Free?

The short answer is yes; soy lecithin is typically gluten-free.

Soybeans, the main ingredient in soy lecithin, are naturally gluten-free. However, sometimes soybeans are processed in facilities that also process wheat, barley, and rye, which can lead to cross-contamination. Look for “gluten-free” on the package or certified gluten-free by the Canadian Celiac Association or another trusted third-party organization.

It’s also important to note that some soy lecithin products may contain other ingredients that are not gluten-free, such as wheat-based gluten. So be sure to read the label to help determine if the product is gluten-free.

Specifically, you’ll want to check for the following ingredients:

  • Wheat
  • Barely
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Oats 

*Oats are naturally gluten-free; however, they’re often made in facilities that use gluten-containing products. Ensure the label says the product is certified gluten-free or bears the Canadian Celiac Association certification to find gluten-free oats. 

You can find these ingredients in the following sections on a food label:

  • Ingredient list
  • Contains statement 
  • May contain statement

Typically the “contains statement,” and the “may contain statement” are found below the ingredient list on a food label.

How do I know if a Product Containing Soy Lecithin is Gluten Free?

Third-party food certifications are likely something you’ve seen on most food products you pick up these days. The problem, not all certifications hold their weight.

When it comes to ensuring the product is gluten-free, determining if a certification is well-trusted is vital. 

Here are some trusted third-party gluten-free certifications used in Canada that you can trust when choosing gluten-free products. 

  1. Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) 

The CCA has strict requirements for gluten-free foods. For a product to carry its certification, it cannot contain any intentional gluten. Even ingredients that have had gluten removed are not allowed to bear its logo.

Further, the CCA has strict safety measures and uses the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to ensure safety.

  1. Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO)

GFCO is an independent, third-party certification program requiring any product that bears its certification to remain at ten ppm or less of gluten.

GFCO releases public safety reports on their website regarding non-compliant products to ensure the public is well informed. 

  1. NSF Gluten-Free

NSF is a global independent organization that has a gluten-free certification program. 

NSF Gluten-Free requires products carrying its logo to follow FDA guidelines of no more than 20 ppm of gluten. Products are also produced in a facility that prevents cross-contamination. 

  1. Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFFP)

GFFP meets gluten-free regulation requirements in Canada and globally and is also endorsed by the National Celiac Association.

GFFP follows FDA regulations for gluten-free products at no more than 20 ppm.  

  1. National Celiac Association (NCA)

The NCA has the strictest of all trusted certification programs. All products carrying their logo are tested at five ppm or less. 

Is Soy Lecithin Safe?

Yes, soy lecithin is safe unless you have a soy allergy. Typically the protein content in soy contains such little protein that even if you have a soy allergy, you likely won’t react to it. However, always trust the advice of your allergist when it comes to any allergy.

Are there any Alternatives?

If you are still not comfortable with including soy lecithin in your diet for other reasons, there are plenty of other options available:

Sunflower Lecithin

Sunflower lecithin is derived from sunflower seeds and is an excellent alternative for those who are allergic to soy or prefer a non-soy option. It has similar emulsifying properties and can be used similarly to soy lecithin.

Egg Yolk Lecithin

Egg yolk lecithin is derived from egg yolks and can replace soy lecithin. In addition, It’s a natural emulsifier that can be a thickener in some recipes.

Vegetable Gums

Vegetable gums such as xanthan gum and guar gum act as thickeners and emulsifiers in food products. They can be an alternative to soy lecithin, but it’s important to note that they may have a different texture and taste in finished products.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural emulsifier that can replace soy lecithin in some recipes. It’s solid at room temperature and can substitute for butter or shortening in baking recipes.

It’s always important to double-check the ingredient list and nutritional information of products to ensure they are certified gluten-free. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, soy lecithin is generally considered gluten-free. Still, it’s always important to check the label and look for certified gluten-free products to ensure they meet your dietary needs. 

Now you can enjoy your favourite foods without worrying about whether or not they contain gluten!

Check out this post on 10 cheap gluten-free meals for more information on gluten-free eating.


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Kelsey Moore Registered Dietitian Headshot

Hi I’m Kelsey!

I’m a Registered Dietitian working in the retail grocery industry. I help families find allergen-free foods at the grocery store while saving them time and money.

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