Mailbag: Lecithin for weight loss?
Two friends and I are trying to win an office bet by losing 10 lbs each before 3 other coworkers do. At our meeting last night, Sheila said she had read or heard lecithin is really good for weight loss, something about it breaks up fat or fat cells? I hadn’t heard of it before, but I’d like to order some today if there’s anything to that. Is there?
Culver City, CA
Lecithin is a terrific natural superfood, almost like several supplements in one since it supplies a mixture of nutritious fats and certain B vitamins. People have used lecithin supplements for decades. You can find traces of lecithin in many foods. Egg yolks and soybeans (and also brains, when eaten as food) are among the best sources but people don’t eat very much of those, at least not on a daily basis. That’s a shame since lecithin is useful to almost every cell in your body. Lecithin is used by the body in a few different ways, but most people use lecithin supplements specifically for for cholesterol-support or brain-boosting. So, what about lecithin and weight loss?
Lecithin for weight loss is a pretty old idea. Since at least the late 70’s, we’ve seen lecithin in certain diet formulas (sometimes referred to as lipo-tropics), where its usually accompanied by kelp and vitamin B-6. While it’s also true that these nutrients – phospholipids from lecithin, iodine from kelp, and vitamin B-6 – could be said to support the breakdown of fat in some indirect way, they don’t rise to the level of being worthwhile weight-loss supplements, which was established back in the mid 80’s. There are far more effective products with more reliable mechanisms like glucomannan fiber and strategic use of carb blockers.
The idea that lecithin could be good for fat loss probably stems from the fact that lecithin is also commonly used in baking and cooking as an emulsifier, that is, to break up and disperse fats and oils. Perhaps the idea was that lecithin could do the same for fats stored in the body. It’s certainly not going to hurt your results to use lecithin supplements while dieting and exercising, but it would be too much of a stretch to call it a bona-fide weight-loss supplement.