Soy lecithin granules, lecithin capsules and raw lecithin – a comparison
Lecithin capsule, soy lecithin granules and raw lecithin behave differently and I notice this when I was trying to make low fat butter spread Saturday 28th January 2012, Recipe 20120128
Comparison of soy lecithin granules, lecithin capsules and raw lecithin – an introduction
I began to experiment with lecithin last year. I was looking for a cheap source of lecithin and found a supplier who supplied raw lecithin by the jars. It was priced at RM7 (USD$2.20) per kg and I had to buy a whole jar which was 20kg. I still have 99% of that stuff in my apartment. Then I found that lecithin was sold in capsules. This was medical grade lecithin which was priced any where from RM0.30 (USD$0.10) to RM1.00 (USD$0.30) per capsule. That worked out to be RM300 (USD$100) to RM500 (USD$156) per kg, depending upon the brand and size of the capsule. Recently, I discovered organic soy lecithin granules which cost about RM66 (USD$21) per kg. I thought I was saving big money switching to soy lecithin granules until I discovered some difficulties. Knowing me, I could not leave things alone. I had to investigate. That triggered a chain of experiments that is described below.
A comparison of soy lecithin granules, lecithin capsules and raw lecithin – what got me going
I began investigating lecithin more than a year ago when I noticed that eating 4 or more hard boiled eggs for breakfast helped improve my eye sight a lot. I suffer from both long sightedness and short sightedness. Hence have two pairs of glasses, one for when I am reading and the other when I am watching TV or doing just about anything else. Actually, the eggs were improving my long sightedness. I noticed that if I had enough eggs for breakfast, by afternoon I would not need my spectacles for reading. That got my on the lecithin trail.
One of the experiments eventually ended up not working … as usual. That really bugged me.
As you can see from the picture above I was mixing soy lecithin granules in a blender in a yogurt butter mix, trying to make it into a gel. The damn soy lecithin granules just would not mix, even in a blender with its high speed blades. They floated to the top! I thought lecithin was heavier than water. It is possible that soy lecithin granules were lighter than yogurt … but it would not dissolve in the yogurt butter mix. Surely something is not quite right here. I didn’t have any problems with lecithin capsules for the same recipe. The lecithin capsules made a nice gel of the yogurt butter mix and I may blog about that recipe later.
As you can see from the picture above this is medical grade lecithin capsules. This is lecithin that can be used if you can cut open the capsule. Unfortunately, this particular lecithin capsule was very difficult to cut open. I found a indentation running along the side of the capsule that I used to pierce with a sharp knife and then crack open the capsule. Actually, I made a real mess cracking open the capsule and trying to ‘scoop’ out the lecithin. Some ended up on my fingers and some on the table top and not as much as I would have liked in the dish. I would suggest that you buy the lecithin in soft gel capsules as these would be easier to extract the lecithin – just snip off one end with a scissors and squeeze. Lecithin capsules are a good source of lecithin if you are occasionally using lecithin in your cooking.
I didn’t have any difficulties using lecithin capsules in my recipes. It worked wonderfully and as expected.
As you can see from the photo above, raw unrefined soy lecithin is dark brown in colour. It consist of about 30% soya bean oil and is horrible to taste. It does taste like raw flour. Hence it is best used when cooking. Raw lecithin has a very over powering ‘raw plant’ or ‘raw flour’ flavour. This means that you can only use it in minute amounts if you do not plan to cook the ingredients of your recipe.
Solubility of raw lecithin
The first thing I had to test for was solubility of lecithin. I am not a nutritionist or food technologist hence I may err in what I am about to say. My understanding is that for a food to be absorbed from the digestive track into the blood stream it has to be soluble in either water or oil. Dieters do take note that this is the reason that it is very important to have some fats and oils in your diet. The oils or fats will help your body absorb the oil soluble vitamins and other oil soluble nutrients. This is the reason minerals are sold in chelated from especially the calcium salts which are in general, insoluble in water.
Even though raw lecithin consist of about 30% soya bean oil it does sink in water. So why does soy lecithin granules float in water?
Solubility of raw lecithin in water
I whisked some raw lecithin in water to check if it would dissolve in water.
You can see that the raw lecithin is not very soluble in water. In fact most of it settles to the bottom.
You can see that it has dispersed slightly in water but it has settled at the bottom.
Solubility of raw lecithin in oil
I added a heaped teaspoon of raw lecithin into some cooking oil. In this case the cooking oil is palm oil.
I just stirred the raw lecithin with a teaspoon, I didn’t use the electric whisk stick blender and it had completely dissolved in the cooking oil. This shows that raw lecithin is highly soluble in oil.
The above two experiments show that raw lecithin is slightly soluble in water but highly soluble in oil. The dark area in the photo is the shadow of the spoon.
Soy lecithin granules
Organic soy lecithin granules look very delicious, almost like rice crispy.
Solubility of organic soy lecithin granules
I think it is important to check the solubility of soy lecithin granules. I have done some experiments as an indication of the solubility and I do hope that they give an indication of the soy lecithin characteristics.
Solubility of soy lecithin granules in water
As you can observe fro the photo above the soy lecithin granules are floating in water.
It did not dissolve when stirred with a spoon so I whisked it with a electric whisk.
You can see that not much of the soy lecithin granules can dissolve in water. Some it floats to the top and the rest sinks to the bottom unlike raw lecithin.
Solubility of soy lecithin granules in oil
Just added the soy lecithin granules into some cooking oil.
I had used a electric whisk, a stick blender, to get the soy lecithin granules to dissolve in oil.
It looks like the soy lecithin granules did not do anything. They didn’t appear to dissolve in cooking oil unlike raw lecithin or lecithin capsules. They may be very slightly soluble in oil. Does that mean soy lecithin granules are not acting like lecithin should?
Now I understand why Christine Lawhon does not appear to be a supporter of lecithin supplements, soy lecithin granules, lecithing tablets,.. for health benefits. In my next article I will show how I ‘turbo boosted’ soy lecithin granules to improve my long sightedness.
More of lecithin and liposomal vitamin C
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2.Comparison of soy lecithin granules, lecithin capsules and raw lecithin
1.How to make low fat butter spread
This article Comparison of soy lecithin granules, lecithin capsules and raw lecithin was researched and written by Peter Achutha