Nutrition: Lecithin as an additive mostly from plant sources
The E numbers on food packaging are often confusing for many consumers. For example, lecithin (E 322) should not be vegetarian. Consumer advocates clarify: The additive consists largely of herbal products.
What is lecithin made of?
Lecithins are important for health. Among other things, they protect the liver, promote nerve strength and improve concentration and memory. In addition, taking lecithin can help with some inflammatory bowel diseases, as older studies have shown. But even if everyone is talking about lecithins, few know exactly what this additive is made of. There are even rumors on the Internet that lecithin (E 322) should contain animal blood and is therefore not suitable for vegetarians.
"Mostly from vegetable sources"
However, Susanne Moritz from the Bavarian Consumer Center said in a message: "However, lecithin is largely obtained from plant sources as a food additive." Soybeans are mainly used as raw materials, but so are sunflowers, rapeseed, peanuts and maize. Animal sources from egg yolk or whey are possible. When it comes to allergens that require labeling, such as chicken eggs, soybeans, peanuts or milk, manufacturers must state the origin of the additives used. "Vegans should pay attention to the ingredient list of the product and, if in doubt, ask the manufacturer," says Moritz.
As additive E 322 in food
Lecithin is included as additive E 322 in numerous processed foods. Among other things, it ensures that margarine does not splash when roasted or that dough is easier to knead. In addition, fats do not go rancid so quickly. Lecithin occurs naturally in animal and plant cells. There is a particularly high amount of egg yolk and cells of plant seeds. They are used not only in food production, but also in medicine and cosmetics. (ad)