Eat This

The 10 Best Chocolate Snacks Without Soy Lecithin

By Anne Olivia Bauso

For most people, soy lecithin isn't a big deal. But for those trying to avoid it, it can seem impossible to find a chocolate treat that's okay to eat.

Soy: friend or foe? For those with soy allergies, the answer is obvious. For everyone else, the answer is a little murkier. "While soy is not detrimental to your health in the same way that sugar and gluten are, I always advise my patients to remove it from their diets," says Frank Lipman, author 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat...And How You Can Stay Young, Slim, and Happy! and founder of Be Well by Dr. Frank Lipman. "Why? First of all, it's estimated that well over 95 percent of all soy is genetically modified. It's also known to be one of the most pesticide-drenched crops on the market. Secondly, soy plays a role in the development of a number of debilitating conditions, which can morph into far larger problems down the line."

Lipman stresses that "consuming small amounts of soy lecithin as a food additive is very different from drinking soy milk or eating soy burgers or foods fried in soybean oil," and doesn't consider soy lecithin problematic. But for people with soy allergies or soy sensitivities, or anyone looking to weed out refined or processed ingredients from their snack intake, eliminating soy is surprisingly tough—the snack aisle alone is rife with the stuff.

That's because soy lecithin—a "mixture of phospholipids that are derived from the processing of soybeans," according to Nina Curtis, a chef at fitness destination The Ranch Malibu in California—is a near-ubiquitous ingredient in food items like "chocolate bars, salad dressings, ice cream, peanut butters, and margarines, in which it helps hold the ingredients together," says Curtis. "It's one of the most common additives in our foods and supplements, and it is used primarily as an emulsifier," says Lipman.

Garcia's fellow chef Meredith Haaz explains that soy lecithin is common in chocolate "since it keeps the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating." For this very reason, it's no easy feat to find a packaged chocolate treat that doesn't have soy lecithin lurking somewhere in the depths of its ingredient list. We did the legwork for you this time, though, and tracked down 10 chocolate snacks that are not only soy-free but also tasty and wholesome; they're largely all-natural, kosher, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free...you get the idea. Scope out your future indulgences and then make sure to avoid these 23 Worst Food Additives in America!

1
Hail Merry
Dark Chocolate Macaroon
Merry Bites

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A "guilt-free chocolate treat" is basically the stuff of marketing mythology. But these cute little brownie bites come as close as possible to that concept. The rich, two-bite treats are made from just shredded coconut, coconut oil, dark cocoa, vanilla, and sea salt, and are sweetened with organic maple syrup ("a natural sweetener that has some beneficial trace antioxidants and minerals," according to Lipman).

2
Enjoy Life
Dark Chocolate
BoomChocoBoom Bar

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"Soy is an inflammation-triggering irritant to millions of people who may not even be aware that they're sensitive to it," cautions Lipman. Although it can be surprisingly difficult to find a chocolate bar that doesn't rely on soy lecithin, Enjoy Life's gluten-free chocolate bar contains just three ingredients (none of 'em soy): chocolate liquor (non-alcoholic, of course), evaporated cane juice, and non-dairy cocoa butter. It tastes sweeter than most dark chocolate bars but fits the bill for those looking for a sweet, non-soy treat.

3
Dang
Salted Cocoa Toasted
Coconut Chips

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"With a great flavor and high fat content, coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals," says Lipman. They also pair beautifully with chocolate, as proven by these barely-sweet, cocoa-dusted coconut shavings—the newest coconut chip offering from Dang. Made from the flesh of the coconut (called "copra"), cane sugar, coconut oil, cocoa powder, milk powder, and sea salt, they're delicious on their own (equip yourself with a few napkins!) or over yogurt, granola, or oatmeal. For more fiber-friendly foods, check out these 30 High Fiber Foods That Should Be In Your Diet.

4
Foodie Fuel
Swiss Chocolate Crisps

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If the consistency of these gluten-free, cookie-like snacks strikes you as too dry, they're wonderful in a bowl with milk. Coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt flavor the nutritious blend of seeds. That seed blend is made up of sunflower, golden flax, pumpkin, and super-filling chia—a potent source of antioxidants, fatty acids, fiber, protein, and anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

5
The Good Bean
Roasted Chickpeas
in Chocolate

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Yes, there is something inherently odd about chocolatey chickpeas. But it only takes one handful of these cocoa- and vanilla-coated chickpeas before the savory-sweet-crunchy addiction kicks in. You might even find yourself trend-forecasting chocolate hummus to be the next big food thing in food. Keep the chickpea craze going with these 20 Amazing, Surprising Ways to Eat Chickpeas.

6
Go Raw
Coco Crunch
Sprouted Granola

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There isn't a preservative or refined sugar to be found in this mixture of buckwheat, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, dates, cacao, and coconut (all organic, obvi).

7
Health Warrior
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Chia Bar

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These chewy snacks may be small (25 grams a pop), but they're mighty. The main ingredient, chia seeds, are "tiny, nutritional dynamos," says Lipman. "In fact, they're the single richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids you can buy. They're also loaded with antioxidants, protein, and minerals, plus soluble and insoluble fiber to help keep your digestion moving in the right direction." Joining chia seeds to pack a tasty and satiating punch are peanuts, rolled oats, peanut butter, organic dark chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs, plus organic agave syrup and brown rice syrup.

8
Raw Revolution
Chocolate Crave

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Soy lecithin "serves as an emulsifier, holding substances together and keeping them from separating," explains Project Juice co-founder Lori Kenyon Farley, a certified nutritional consultant and co-author of The Juice Cleanse Reset Diet Book. Raw Revolution swaps the soy additive for dates, a naturally gummy ingredient, to hold together these dense, agave-sweetened cashew- and sunflower-seed-based bars, which taste like an Appalachian Trail hiker's version of classic chocolate fudge. (Translation: It's satisfyingly sweet, but healthy and fuel-supplying.)

9
Rise Bar
Carob Chip
Protein Bar

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"The main problem with soy lecithin is that it is most often derived from soybeans, which are widely known to have one of the highest pesticide contamination levels of any crop," says Curtis. Rise Bar eliminated this risk entirely, by formulating their energy-boosting bars with almonds, honey, carob powder, and whey protein isolate.

10
Wonderfully Raw
Brownie Coco-Roons

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No artificial or soy-derived ingredients here: These macaroon-like morsels are made from dried unsweetened coconut, almond flour, cacao, maple syrup, vanilla, Himalayan crystal salt, and coconut oil—which "contains lauric acid, a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that lowers cholesterol, boosts thyroid function, and improves overall hormonal health," says Lipman. "MCTs are absorbed directly into your liver, where they are metabolized to provide instant and sustained energy for your body and brain." Speaking of metabolism, don't miss these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!


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