I've actually switched over to a product called Ample which is similar to Soylent but a bit more health conscious with ingredient choice. Still, I've got nothing against Soylent.
if it had that much sugar, it wouldve never gained a reputation for losing weight.
Historically, diet shakes/meal replacement shakes/etc have been almost entirely sugar, and slimfast is infamous for exactly that.
> if it had that much sugar, it wouldve never gained a reputation for losing weight.
That's not how advertising works. :)
(There is a new variant of slimfast with low sugar, but that's a very recent exception to the rule. Most slimfast is high sugar, and historically all slimfast was high sugar. It's like arguing "coke doesn't have lots of sugar", and linking the nutritional information to diet coke.)
Ah, I see you've forgotten about the 'low-fat' era.
Efficacy has very little to do with the popularity of diets.
The Original I checked had 18 grams of sugar.
What I don't understand: the REI market is the one place where Soylent is inarguably better than any other product in its niche, and nobody seems to give a shit about that.
I carry a bag of dry Soylent in my SAR pack. When I get sent out on an assignment, I have no idea how long I might be out for. For less weight than any other option, I have dinner and breakfast and lunch if necessary.
If I know in advance I'm going to be out hiking for more than about three hours, a pre-mixed solution of it in a Nalgene, with a quick chug here and there, really beats back the fatigue.
The REI market is not small, and it's got a huge focus on ultralight, ultralight, ultralight now. Soylent really seems to be missing an opportunity here.
I guess it depends on what you mean by "better".
SAR is a niche within a niche. I can totally understand why Soylent is 1000x better than other options.
But most backpackers are doing it for fun. Reducing weight and space is great, but there are plenty of much more enjoyable meals that are only marginally heavier/bulkier.
At least for me, cooking a good meal before bed is my favorite part of the day. I'll happily carry an extra pound or so to make that happen.
TBF, a lot of purely recreational backpackers care less about the pleasures of life. The type doing 14 hour days and so on. But that's a small market, and all the folks I've met on trails who are doing that sort of thing tend to be pretty price sensitive. Young folks with few savings taking a few months off work don't have three months of Soylent money ;-)
thru-hiker here. I did it on $2k of credit cards, which is the least of anyone i met personally. a dehydrated meal with 350 calories costs $5 minimum, requires cooking (fuel cost/weight), and requires time/energy for your body to digest.
a soylent powder meal costs $2.
It does require you to go to the supermarket, quickly buy some ingredients, and mix them together.
Here is an example: You can just buy oats, skim milk powder, peanuts (a bit better if you buy them crushed, or crush them), raisens, and dehydrated fruit & berries. I also add almonds, walnuts, chocolate, coconut. It works out to b/w 25-50cents a meal if you buy at Costco, and is very healthy. You can add sugar if you want (I add a little, and a very small amount of salt).
You can also customize to your heart's desire. Replace milk powder with whey powder. Peanuts with almonds, flax for omega 3s, etc.
There you have it - The wisdom to outcompete soylent on price, nutrition, and taste, and all by a lot.
Not saying that's a bad option, just different.
The disadvantages to soylent are taste, chewing difficulty/calories, preparation, it stops up your digestive tract, and takes much longer to become usable energy.
Ah, now I know why it sounded good to me. As a Swiss we basically grow up with that stuff.
SAR = search and rescue
REI = major American outdoor retailer
As for price, I bought a 30-day supply of camp food for less than $100 on amazon.
If your goals include speed or (less) weight, those freeze dried options are really far from ideal. To get around the weight issue you mostly need to plan and package your food yourself, which takes some time. If you're getting called out to do SAR you either need to have it done in advance or go with another option.
I can't really speak to the exact sodium content, but it's more than reasonable for emergency rations or hiking or SAR. You're not eating this stuff every meal for the rest of your life, and if you are, you deserve what you get.
It also gives you a lot more control over portions, which can be an issue as well. There is no point packing more than you are going to eat.
I brought up the salt content not for health reasons, but taste. Many of the ones I've tried have been so salty I've had trouble finishing them even after a day of backpacking.
So sure, you can combine your nutrient goo powder into a single sack, and thereby save a tiny fraction of the weight of the food (and water) itself. But you're splitting hairs.
I picked a mountain house pouch-based product at random on amazon, and the packaging weight was .06oz on a gross of 5oz, or 1.2%. Which is, of course, nothing. I have heard exactly zero people, ever, complain about the weight of their dried food packaging. I've heard lots of people complain about camping food being boring and flavorless.
If you like Soylent, fine, but the claim that this stuff is the obvious best product for campers is silly.
If I'm carrying a stove, then I'm carrying fuel too. That weight and space adds up. Even if I'm carrying my MSR Windburner, it's still about the size of my first aid kit. My old MSR PocketRocket was smaller by itself, but required a mess kit or a pot of some kind for the hot water. I could go with a soda can alcohol stove, but then if I spill my fuel I'm a bit boned and they aren't always the most reliable or efficient setups to begin with.
Soylent is: remove Soylent package from pack, dump approx 10 oz into Nalgene, add water (cold, filtered from a stream if possible), shake, and continue.
Cooking while backpacking is fun ... sometimes. Once in a while it's nice to take the time to put together some backcountry gourmet stuff.
But for just having the equivalent of emergency rations in my pack, Soylent really is better than the other choices.
Oh, and anecdotally: digestion is a pretty big deal when you get far enough away from civilization. I've had some Mountain House meals do some pretty unhappy things in my gut, and there's only so much cleanup that small wad of "oh-no" TP I carry around can do. Soylent tends to digest really well and not cause post-digestive messes. Unless, of course, you happen to be one of those many people who were allergic to one of their recent formulations.
The instructions on all the Mountain House stuff that I have say "add hot water and wait N minutes".
(But I agree with the gist of the argument, that things like Soylent and Tsogo are better for this use case anyway.)
I can also state that the majority of people I know care so much about weight that they would never carry mountain house type food around.
If we both extend our friends to the general public, we have a clash. Or, maybe, there are different types of people in the world, some of whom think that Soylent is a great alternative for many of the situations they find themselves in.
If everyone you know is different, congratulations. Enjoy your nutrient goo.
I also participate (professionally) in uSAR via a technical rescue team for a decently large municipality. We don't take food on call outs and have no idea how long an extrication will take for example. When I am at work, I often don't eat for two, three, or four hours past "lunch time" or "dinner time" due to calls. Soylent is not an option anymore than drinking a protein shake on a call. Not happening.
Soylent is just very good at marketing to people unfamiliar with protein powder.
I though Soylent was good because it covers all your nutritional requirements (haven't tried it) - this trader joe's has the same nutritional content?
jakefood.com beg to differ.
Which of those examples are actual food replacements instead of liquid candy blasted with vitamins?
Slimfast high protein is the only option I see online that doesn't include huge amounts of sugar, but a single 180 calorie shake also gives way too much vitamins and protein to be sane times 10, which is what you need to get a day's worth of calories from it.
Weight watchers shakes look like they have exactly the same issue as slimfast high protein, except with more sugar and more servings required.
So here you are crapping on the product, but you actually haven't pointed to a realistic replacement for it.
Last I checked Soylent contained Sucralose (Splenda).
(And if it's not going in your mouth, it can taste like ass.)
No, they're expensive because no food manufacturer wants to kill the customers, and these customers tend to be at significantly increased risk of death.
> And if it's not going in your mouth, it can taste like ass.
Medical sole-source of nutrition products can be given through a naso-gastric tube, but many of them are designed to be drunk. Manufacturers have increased the range of flavours because they recognised that people hated the vanilla / chocolate / banana / strawberry limited range.
Funny how that information buried on the site. I've re-ordered a few times based on its (prominently featured) use of Isomaltulose, thinking that is where the sweetness came from. Some evidence that sucralose will spike insulin. Seems to jibe with personal experience. Will probably hold off until they eliminate sucralose. Perhaps trehalose?
Last year, though, a team of Israeli scientists put together a stronger case. The researchers concluded from studies of mice that ingesting artificial sweeteners might lead to—of all things—obesity and related ailments such as diabetes. This study was not the first to note this link in animals, but it was the first to find evidence of a plausible cause: the sweeteners appear to change the population of intestinal bacteria that direct metabolism, the conversion of food to energy or stored fuel. And this result suggests the connection might also exist in humans.
Except that every time I've ever seen/heard it from bodybuilders it has always been 1g per lean pound which fits pretty well with your 0.82 figure accounting for typical bodyfat percentages. So your article is arguing a strawman and they've been right all along.
It's hard, although possible, to have too much protein.
Why should suggesting a replacement be a requirement for criticism?
The "realistic replacement" is to not worry too much about perfectly balanced nutrition if you need skip an actual real meal occasionally. The body can handle it.
A better alternative to Soylent is going hungry? Why?
When Soylent launched they made several misleading, unethical, medical, claims.
They've since dropped every single one of those.
Soylent have had a number of product recalls. They don't have a huge volume of product, and they've only been in business for a short time, so it's a bit worrying that they haven't fixed their problems.
Some people think that when you're raising money from the public you should be honest. Some people think that when you're providing a safety critical product you should be competent.
There's also an element of backlash against the massive hype / very successful marketing - we see this with any product.
Not really. Soylent is much cheaper than Ample, and that's a major plus for the cost conscious (which is a lot of people!)
As for the other ones - honestly mostly marketing I'd imagine. I've never heard of any product billed as a "nutritionally complete" meal. SlimFast to me sounds like a dieting product (as do weight watcher shakes), which isn't what I want at all. Non-dieting meal replacements, where they exist (I don't know the name of a single one!), just don't seem to target the same market that Soylent does.
Do other products exist that do what Soylent does? I don't doubt it. I've never heard of them, though.
I was working from home & had an ashtanga yoga routine. Personally, I think it's better to have a diet of home-prepared food consisting of whole foods grown in good soil, but in the interest of time & (lack of) motivation to prepare meals, it worked for me.
That's all it is. If Soylent brands itself as a normal meal replacement, that's not sexy. So Soylent branded itself as a food replacement - which is more interesting and more dangerous (I just cannot trust that replacing food with Soylent won't have unintended health consequences down the line).
I agree with the common sentiment that Soylent's original goal/purpose - a simple powder/drink that could serve as one's sole source of nutrition - is sort of ridiculous, but it actually led to a remarkably well balanced product unlike anything on the mass market. It's remarkably filling and nutritionally well balanced for a convenience food.
Care to explain why? I am genuinely curious, as it sounds like an awesome idea.
Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load: a quick search doesn't give me SlimFast's GI/GL info, while Soylent does post the number.
It's available. Seems weird to decide based on the availability of the number versus the number.
I don't see result by searching "glycemic site:slimfast.com". There are some numbers posted on other websites (e.g. http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?num=1469&ak=deta... which looks credible), but compare to Soylent's disclosure (https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/212769503-Glycemic...) I'm more confident to choose Soylent instead of SlimFast.
Out of curiosity, I also searched GI/GL info on amplemeal.com and found nothing.
E.g. regular coke has a GI of 63 (source http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycem...), and is considered medium GI, but of course it contains a lot of sugar.
No, none of the products you mentioned is anywhere near as nutritionally balanced as soylent. And those that are, clearly came after
Unlike the examples you mentioned, Soylent is not a "lose weight" brand.
As an undergrad in college, Soylent is everywhere. Can't remember the last time I saw any of those other meal replacements.
Soylent (400 kcal)
37g carbs (9g simple sugars, 3g fibers)
Ensure (400 kcal)
60g carb (?g simple sugars, doesn't say, NO FIBERS)
I looked at every single brand of meal replacement shakes I could get my hands on around here at drugstores, I was looking for a cheaper alternative to Soylent and figured one of them would do. You would think someone would be making a meal replacement that's not sugar water garbage already. NOPE. Plus, most of them serve a different goal, either weight gain or weight loss, not just meal replacement.
EDIT: arguably Soylent is sugar water garbage too, it's first ingredients are water and maltodextrin (a sugar), but it's not as bad as the others I've looked at.
Every time someone talks about Soylent I always bring up the main ingredient, Malto, it's such a terrible substitute for real complex carbs (oats, brown rice, etc.). You may as well be pounding sugar all day. Maltodextrin is what I use in my post-workout shake to spike my insulin.
I didn't know that... thanks, I've actually switched my subscription to Biolent, the carbs in it come from oat and buckwheat flour, it has more fibers and no fast carbs as far as I can tell. I'm Canadian so it's only slightly more expensive for me.
EDIT: They're protein bars, not meal bars, am I missing something?
20g protein, 6g fat, 4g carb
That's too much protein. AFAIK even a strength training diet is only 30-35% protein or so.
Soylent - http://files.soylent.com/pdf/soylent-drink-nutrition-facts-e...
Ensure - http://c4.q-assets.com/images/products/p/ab/ab-116_3z.jpg
Ample - https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1096/7494/products/Ample_4...
Edit: added Ample info.
Filtered Water, Soy Protein Isolate, Maltodextrin, High Oleic Algal Oil, Isomaltulose, Canola Oil, Rice Starch, Oat Fiber, Isomaltooligosaccharide, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Dipotassium Phosphate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Gellan Gum, Sodium Ascorbate, dl-alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Ferrous Gluconate, Zinc Sulfate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Sucralose, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Folic Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Phytonadione, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D. Contains: Soy
While you're at it, you might as well list the ingredients in fast food meals, pizza, and all sorts of other food people "deliberately choose to eat".
Per 2000 calories, Ensure has 135g sugar to Soylent's 45g.
Other food manufacturers go for years, with tens of millions of units sold each day, without having a recall.
Plenty of new companies are capable of producing food in similar or greater volumes than Soylent is without any recalls, why has Soylent had more than one recall?
Soylent aren't even doing the production; they're sub-contracting it out to existing companies.
Aside from being an actual meal replacement, rather than a calorie-cut diet drink (140ish for a single slimfast shake) who's third ingredient is plain old sugar?
Then you havn't looked very hard. Some of us have gone so far as to look at the nutritional label and list of ingredients.
If there are non-diet meal replacements, I don't know if any, which clearly seems like an opportunity for a product such as Soylent.
The fact that at least 4 people in this thread have mentioned "meal replacements" but not a single one has named a specific product I would know by name (non dieting!) seems to me a pretty clear indictment that this category is not as established as you are suggesting.
I agree, though, that Soylent's unique strength is in marketing to middle-class to upper-middle class Millennials that arent seeking any particular goal other than replacing the bother of food; not through unique product features, just pure marketing focus.
And as for specific products...
And those are just a few results from a quick search for "meal replacement" across 3 different stores.
Now, I'm not against Soylent, and I'm definitely pro meal replacement products, but let's at least be honest here and call a spade a spade. Soylent's main differentiating factor is it's marketing pitch and that's ok, it doesn't have to be totally revolutionary to succeed.
Soylent has 20g of protein per serving, and most of the products listed above are also in that 15-30g of protein range and share most of the same micronutrients, so functionally they're about equivalent. The only real differences between all these products are marketing, price, taste, "recommended" serving sizes, and small tweaks in nutrient ratios. Other than that, they're all pretty interchangeable.
This breaks down easily into per-meal replacements especially for the powder. Half a bag is half a day's needs, and so on.
That is literally the whole reason Soylent exists. As far as I know, it's the only product that works that way at that price point.
Right off the bat, it's worth noting that Soylent has an unusually large serving size of 106-142g , compared to the products listed above which have an average serving size of 30-40g, and therefore position themselves as being 'better deals' because they can claim to have more "servings". But otherwise the nutrient ratios are quite comparable and it's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
> Soylent has 20g of protein per serving, and most of the products listed above are also in that 15-30g of protein range and share most of the same micronutrients, so functionally they're about equivalent.
The point is that they have 15-30 g of protein per 120-150 kcal serving as opposed to 20g per 400 kcal serving for soylent.
The macro ratios are not comparable at all. Point me to a single meal replacement that has comparable macros. If it's actually cheaper I will gladly cancel my soylent order and buy that instead.
Protein powder (whey or soy pick based on lactose tolerance) + powdered oats + whatever for flavoring (eg. cocoa powder and coconut flour) in a shaker bottle - add water/whatever milk - shake and consume.
Throw in fiber supplement if you don't get enough fiber like psyllium husks.
Waaay cheaper than soylent if you buy smart (bulk), scale macros according to your requirements, at home or if you have a kitchen at work you can pre-mix powders in a container then scoop out, mix, drink and clean up in 10 mins tops.
Take some fruit along if you want - like an apple or a banana. Honestly soylent seems like a shitty version of a protein shake diet - low satisfaction is there but you get none of the gains.
The stuff I mentioned can be bought in 5kg bags which will last you a month at least - depending on how much meals you're replacing - if it's all then you'll probably go trough more - you can pre-mix a week worth in a standard plastic container and shake in like two minutes.
The major time difference is going to be in figuring out how to do it the first time - but this is time well spent if you want to balance your nutrition (figuring out how much protein/fat/carbs you want and how many calories).
I'm in the same boat - I don't want to cook every day or eat out all the time - this is convenient and works towards my fitness goals. Throw in a multi vitamin, fish oil and some fruit/vegetables and you got a easy to do fast and cheap diet for building muscle.
As I went vegan I went from benching 120 to 200 with about 20% protein intake, and it was fine. We don't need shit tons of protein that everyone says we do, Soylent has a nice ratio of it.
> good luck with that if you do any physical activity
> close to a competitive
> on recreational level (how is this is even a thing? "competitive on a recreational level"?)
> you won't look like you lift
You've just substituted "any physical activity" for the "do you even lift bro" culture. Please don't do this and try to understand that the majority of people don't need or even want to be bodybuilders. For them Soylent is A-OK.
When I said "any physical activity" I should have said "actively engaging in a sport" fair enough - but it doesn't have to be lifting, that's just the example you mentioned with benching. Your performance will go to shit in endurance sports on that low protein as well simply because catabolism would wreck your muscles and you wouldn't have enough protein to recover.
This statement is ridiculous. You can't have a physique that many would find attractive unless you're bulking with extra protein?
Perhaps you meant to say something less presumptuous, like you won't look "ripped" unless you are taking protein.
20% calories from protein is fine. Even for a strength athlete, if you are trying to gain muscle mass, 20kcal/lb and 1g protein/lb is a reasonable set of macros, which indeed is 20% calories from protein. A lot of bodybuilders will go up to 25% or even 30% from protein, but that's on the high end and certainly not something that would make sense for non-strength athletes.
"Geez, you don't eat only Soylent! It's just an occasional meal replacement!"
"Okay, then how is it interesting when there are dozens of competing products in the meal replacement category?"
"Because those aren't a full dietary replacement. You can't live on only Ensure (insert many other products here)."
"Okay....but you just said..."
I don't get Soylent. Not only is food one of the greatest luxuries in life -- one of the greatest rewards -- it's laughably easy to have a nutritionally complete lifestyle with minimal effort or time. But if I were enfeebled they all sound pretty terrible.
Having said that, most people -- even very busy people with busy lifestyles and a "poor" food diet -- are not nutritionally deprived (and really, a centrum can alleviate concerns with ease).
There are a lot of valid reasons for products like Soylent. Stocking a bunker, for instance. Or for coping when under low energy (depression, as mentioned elsewhere), or in a critical crunch. But that seems to be such a niche that the presentation on here constantly as if this is the future of food seems like fantasy, and would never get a pass if it weren't that it somehow got bound up in the valley/VC bubble. If Oprah came out and started pushing Soylent, it wouldn't get a mention on here beyond derision.
This is false, particularly for Soylent 2.0. https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/212769503-Glycemic...
I'm not saying Soylent is a super-food, but it is a food that isn't horrible for you (at least not as horrible as you're letting on!)
Both false and misleading. According to the link provided by the parent poster:
-Soylent 1.6 _powder_ has a GI of 60
-Soylent 2.0 _liquid_ has a GI of 49.
Also, note that common white bread has a glycemic index of 75, which is higher than that of table sugar (65), so your statement, even if you had used the right number, is not as much of an indictment as you make it out to be.
Apologies, I should have said Soylent 1.5. Not sure why you decided to say "both false", however, given that sucrose most certainly has a GI of 65. Further, what is the relevance of saying _powder_. You realize that mixing a powder into water generally doesn't reduce its GI, right?
Further, saying "white bread is worse" is a laughable diversion. White bread is considered the unholy worst case for GI, so being better than it is not a high mark.
I beg to differ. White bread and other baked goods like bagels, pizza, etc are a staple of the western diet, so it is absolutely a valid baseline for comparison. People don't regularly consume plain table sugar.
Moreover, as far as I know, Soylent 1.5 powder isn't even being sold anymore. According to the Soylent site, the current version being sold is 1.8.
Therefore, I think I'm perfectly justified in calling your statements misleading.
From the horses mouth, most use cases I've heard are pretty sensible. Very few users treat it as their entire diet. You've a good point that food is great, and it's good to do it right. I'd hope students would take the opportunity to learn, but they rarely do. Still, Soylent or equiv >>> pizza. Most other arguments against it/characterisations are a little circular at best, or reduction to absurdity at worst.
I honestly don't think it exists, though. Cooking and preparing food takes time and creativity.
> Not only is good one of the greatest luxuries in life
See, I promised myself I would leave this thread before people started toting out the arguments isomorphic to "you only eat Soylent 100% of the time! You monster!" - and yet here we are :). I thought I made it clear in my OP, but I don't eat Soylent for every meal- just the meals where, in the absence of Soylent, I would have had something worse.
Does that clear things up?
You announced this at the outset, and remarkably have left a number of comments now. Yet you were the one who keeps bringing up this strawman, and exactly the same circle of argument happens every single time. You, as is the rote cycle, are trying to argue both sides at the same time.
(In my defense I didn't expect my comment to become popular at all. I find it only polite to people asking me direct questions, such as yourself.)
Care to elaborate? I can cook and know how to eat a balanced set of macro-nutrients, but I find it quite difficult to be consistently health concious when eating out all the time and cooking regularly is anything but minimal effort and time.
So Soylent and real food hardly need to be enemies.
totally agree with this. soylent feels too much like... dog food for humans
Personally, I think this whole "food fetish" mantra is a ridiculous exaggeration. There are literally thousands of things that bring me more pleasure than food.
I love cooking, I love eating, but cooking well takes time, effort, ingredients, shopping trips, storage, inventory management. I can do all that, but when you get right down to it replacing some of my diet with Huel (a British product in the same niche as Soylent, although the composition is substantially different) just makes my life easier. It's tasty enough, it keeps me going, I can be confident that it's giving me a balanced meal, and on a busy day it's saving me a pile of money too.
Then when I do have time, I cook something ridiculously delicious.
For me, this category is about convenience, and it serves it very well.
And there's nothing wrong with that. It's great to enjoy your meals, but you don't always get an opportunity for that.
Even low quality food is likely to give me a modicum of satisfaction, when a meal replacement does not.
I can't get the hate either, though.
If you are happy with it and improves your life, more power to you (and to Soylent).
I believe the fact that someone just wrote them a $50MM check is a fine reason to make a critical assessment of their actual value.
Criticism of Soylent seems to be due to factors that go beyond a reasonable critical assessment of the product, and tends to be much harsher in form.
I think many people tend to assume that just because Soylent is not an appealing product for THEM, then there is not a market for it.
You mean VC investments, the point is that VC investment is a small fraction of overall investment.
For example, the day they close the round of funding they will presumably have $50MM in their checking account, so it would be a quite remarkable situation indeed if their actual value on that day was below that number.
What does that mean? How did you make this judgement?
Off the top of my head, probiotics are a big thing that you don't see in Soylent. Spirulina is included. Omega 3 fatty acids. The emphasis on whole foods rather than nutrients is another thing important to me.
From what they've written it is clear they are taking a significant focus on nutrition, as the expense of, er, expense. This is a trade off I am willing to make.
I don't want to spend my days pouring over the latest nutrition research to see what I should be eating. Before Ample I would spend a lot of time chasing the latest research, yet continually feeling like there were huge things I was missing. It gives me great peace of mind to see that apparently smart people are doing this work in my stead. This is a huge advantage I cannnot overstate.
Or, to put it more succinctly - spirulina : B12 :: CO : O2.
And while I'm laying it on, probiotics isn't really all that impressive, either. Right now the food industry's approach to probiotics is, at best, comparable to the kind of thinking that caused to large swaths of the USA to have problems with kudzu and asian carp.
Unless you've done a similar review of the literature and have comparable credentials, I'm probably not going to trust you on this one, unfortunately. It's nothing against you in particular; it's just that literally everyone totes a different set of studies and I can't trust everyone to have done the work necessary to show if they're valid.
It still commits the same fundamental mistake made by any other popular sources that covers supplements: it doesn't really give study quality adequate attention. Instead, it just accepts all published findings as probably being valid. What with the replicability rate for medical research papers being somewhere around 20%, that's an approach that will lead you astray 4 times out of 5.
As a concrete example, the support they give for the first item in the table of results, lipid peroxidation, is three papers with n=37, n=16 and n=9. All of them throw some flags that make me suspect p-hacking may have occurred, with the n=37 one being the most worrisome in that department.
Perhaps your superficial look was the problem.
I agree that the focus on nutrition is a huge benefit. In addition, I appreciate the transparency of the company and what seems to be a desire to iterate and improve on their product. Today, they announced a few small tweaks to their formula and released a "change log" (their choice of word) detailing the reasons behind their choices.
Do you personally feel any physically different or have noticed any health improvements upon switching to Ample from Soylent?
Vitamin A 0% (zero percent)
Vitamin C 2%
Since they list no others, one might infer those are not present.
thinking only of oneself, without regard for the feelings or desires of others; self-centered.
I've been getting 90% of my calories from Joylent for about 5 months.
90% for 5 months? Any specific situation or just prefer it that way?
Personally, I'd prefer to get out of the home /office, stretch, clear my head and eat the (kinda) old fashion way. Everyone has the same 24 hours...
Whole foods, in bar form. Pretty good when warmed up (think banana bread, but slightly gritty, from all the fiber) but not exactly recreational when cold. Short shelf life.
I'd never again trust Soylent with my health for all their problems.
One crucial thing is that the water you mix it with has to be very cold, otherwise I did find it to be difficult to drink. Once you hit that temperature threshold though, it makes a world of difference.
At least for me.
I've never been bothered by the taste of any version of Soylent, even 1.0, so I could just have a unique experience.
In what way is Soylent any better than a handful of almonds and a banana?
But if you want a low-carb product with a wide range of flavors, check KetoChow .
edit: I just found this: https://www.completefoods.co/diy/recipes/keto-chow-150-maste...
To be clear, I'm not a nutritional expert. But I've had people who know more than me tell me clif bars are basically non-nutritious.
"The FDA recommendation for daily protein intake is 50 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet."
I'm guessing you and many other commenters haven't hit the age where heart disease, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes start raising their ugly heads. All of those conditions are depressingly common in the Western world and require medication with various side effects to treat. Each one of those microwaveable meals, though tasty and convenient, takes you one step closer to a rather unpleasant conversation with your doctor.
Given this, it should hardly be surprising that there's a market for a convenient meal replacement that is, if not actually healthy, then at least health-neutral.
("Just prepare your own healthy means and exercise more!" you say? Easier said than done. Just because you are able to do it doesn't mean everybody is in a situation where they can do the same.)
And that's precisely why people turn to Soylent and its competitors, because they are attempting to be healthy, balanced sources of nutrition. A bowl of instant ramen might be tasty but it's not going to get you much in the way of protein or vitamins.
Is "a fruit" really a healthier alternative as a meal replacement?
"Which fruit" is also a question that requires some overhead to answer (bananas are convenient but I don't like the flavor, oranges are delicious but messy to eat, etc)
I actually do prefer to have a Soylent in addition to whatever fruits I have available. It's not like you're swearing off all other foods if you choose Soylent as an option.
Everything that was an option still remain to be options, Soylent adds to the list of available options
Meal replacements is a well-defined and established category
So I say that it's a supplement rather than a replacement because it's not replacing a balanced meal. It's supplementing protein. A single protein shake can give a sedentary person almost 100% of their protein. That's great for active, athletic people who have higher protein requirements. Not great for sedentary people who have lower protein requirements.
Even on keto or no-carb, you still only get 30% of your calories from protein (same ratio as a non-keto diet, BTW). If you were to drink protein shakes all day you'd get 70% of calories from protein. The keto diet does not change the ratio of protein you consume. It only replaces carbs with animal and vegetable fats.
Too much protein is not good for you. It can damage your kidneys. It also causes weight gain, digestive issues, bad breath, and other things.
So again, I say that those shakes are a supplement, not a meal replacement, because they're not balanced. They're great for athletic and active people, because the more active you are the higher your protein requirement is. But a typically sedentary person should not use high-protein shakes as a meal replacement.
The closest I ever got was avocado. Avocado is delicious and satiating. Takes a bit to prepare, but that's okay.
Avocado: the true Soylent competitor?
(Probably not. :))
I do think they have brilliant marketing, though. They turned something that was for old, dying people and made it cool. So I see all the "research" stuff they post as kind of a joke or marketing, because it has all been done and available for over a decade in terms of product...
Please walk down to the local drugstore and actually look at the nutritional labels. Than tell me they are the same.
I've noticed many people mixing up "supplement" with "replacement". For example, Ensure (the commonly cited "alternative") is a supplement - not a replacement.
In fact, FDA regulation differentiates between "dietary supplements" and "food". Go ahead and research how Ensure is classified then compare that with Soylent.
This is incorrect.
Several Ensure products, including Ensure Original, can be used as a sole source of nutrition.
I think many people approach Soylent as a way to solve some of their problems, but people should realize it won't be and can't be. Another person I knew had bought a few boxes of Soylent attempting to lose weight. In reality, she did not change her weight appreciably, as all she did was consume the same number of calories she would have otherwise.
Lastly I would like to add that there is some debate over the actual nutritional efficacy of the composition of Soylent. If you look at the bioavailability of their calcium supplement, calcium carbonate, it is significantly less than the one found in milk, calcium phosphate. However, Soylent will still claim that it is possible to have 100% D.V. of calcium with 5 bottles.
Overall, Soylent is probably not a healthy solution to your problems.
I drink Soylent occasionally -- once every two or three weeks, maybe. Normally I use it if I know I'm going to eat a huge dinner, or if I ate a giant lunch and don't need to consume many more calories in the evening. It works great for me.
Yes, if you misuse Soylent, it will not be a good thing for you. That goes for, like, everything.
My parents were hippies and we grew/raised most of our food when I was a kid. But my grandparents had embraced the new space-age diet: margarine in place of butter, tang instead of orange juice, kraft instead of cheese, etc. I thought it tasted awful compared to real food.
As we have found out, some food choices like trans fats have an impact on health. There's really too much noise in the nutrition related data to draw wide ranging conclusions. But buyer beware.
For me I think the safest option is the "whole foods" (Polan) route. For me it would be "eat what your grand-grand parents ate". I was even a vegetarian and eating fake-meats and then realized I was just eating chemicals. So I started eating meat again.
Edit: Changed wording on first sentence
You do realize that everything you eat is chemicals, right?
In other words, are you eating processed cheese for the protein, or for the potassium sorbate? Only one of these is a "chemical" is the vernacular.
The vernacular is wrong in this case and encourages ignorance. "Preservatives", "dyes", "perfumes", "thickeners", and "artificial sweeteners" are all words that everyone understands. We can say "artificial ingredients" instead if we want a catch all. The English language is really expressive.
"Chemicals" is a buzzword used a lot by hucksters to push sales through pseudoscience. We must demand better and more specific reasoning than "chemicals" if we want the words "shown by science" to be meaningful as well.
Edit: This seems to be your argument, that engineered is the same as non-engineered. Because they are all the same basic building blocks. Right?
Is the result of this process "grown"? "Made"? "Engineered"? All of the above?
I was just saying the vague and abused "chemicals" is a bad descriptor. It's fair to rail against "manufactured", "under-researched", or "engineered" ingredients.
When I hear hucksters marketing organic, GMO, or Soylent. I'm always cautious. Caveat emptor.
Edit: I'm not anti-GMO. Nor the concept of Soylent. But I use a headset rather than hold my phone up to my head. Even though there's no definitive proof we can get cancer from smart phones. I just think there is additional risk here.
Edit: Also, your "chemicals" point is like arguing that Global Warming doesn't exist because it's snowing today. It's true, but not relevant to the discussion.
Quibbling aside, health in general was certainly much worse in our great-grandparents' days, but for those who weren't straight up underfed, nutrition was probably not worse. I'm not sure it was as magically better as some would have you believe, but there is decent evidence that traditional diets were more-or-less fine, and that the modern diet has something wrong with it.
Edit: Sorry, misread. All I know is my great grandfather was a pony express rider and got colon cancer
Not possible, unfortunately. Meat and vegetables are so totally different now. For example meats are raised on GM corn and antibiotics, altering their balance of omega 3's, impact on gut health, and other things. While today's vegetables are massively decremented in micronutrients- and may have less arsenic-based pesticide residue than your greatgrandparents', but more of other pesticides.
And if you can't because of where you live, there's a good chance neither could your grandparents had if they lived there as well.
Edit: For pregnant women and others for sure. But in the general population no
The advanced glycation end products from overcooked/burnt meat have been shown to, but not meat itself.
There's such a gap between Soylent and something like Wendell Berry's ideas:
People do mention that in relation to Soylent, encouragingly (whether it's altogether right or not). Historical perspective is very important.
My wife raises our livestock and garden while I work. Yesterday I had a sandwich and I know where every ingredient came from(our yard). Look, it's not impossible. It just requires you to look outside of your modern context.
And refrain from "food" that comes with a version number. But that's just me.
File under "false dichotomy".
For everyone else, I just want to add that there is a place for things like Soylent, beyond the marketing. We're most likely not going to be able to continue our current method producing food cheaply. I could be wrong but things like Soylent will probably be the future that mitigates this issue for a lot of people.
Edit: because cancer is complex, the same a food and nutrition
Things like Soylent are already here. It's not vaporware. Yes it's not perfect or ideal but it's an answer to really inefficient food production whose water and nutrient needs aren't sustainable for a growing population.
But, is it? The ingredients include oats, grapeseed oil, soy derivates, and whey. I'm sincerely having trouble seeing how this represents more efficient food production.
In fact, it would seem to be less efficient from that perspective: it still requires the resources for crops/farming, derives isolates from foods that are otherwise more whole (what happens to the rest?), then adds a degree of processing that requires still more resources.
Isn't it more efficient to just eat whole foods rather than extracts from various foods that, by definition, require energy/processing to obtain and must leave some waste in the process?
Maybe it's more convenient from the consumer's perspective, but I don't see how it solves the production problems you suggest.
I'm not telling you to not eat Soylent or that it won't potentially be great for the human race. But again, we don't know.
Edit: fixed wording
Edit: What if they get something wrong like including trans fats? I know this a "playing to fear" argument, but there is a long history of industrial foods being not healthy. It just takes a new generation of suckers to come of age.
Sure, said peasants probably had vitamin A deficiency—but they managed to live long, mostly-healthy lives despite that. Which is my point: we don't need to get "food" perfect in order to ensure that 10x as many people as today can live "long, mostly-healthy lives." It's not unethical to feed starving people food that's missing some micronutrient we aren't yet aware of, because they'll still be better off than if they were starving. The human body is hardy.
> As a nutritionally complete food source, Soylent should be considered a food product just like any other. You can include Soylent in your diet for as long as you’d like, in any amount that suits your needs. There is no right or wrong amount of Soylent to eat - the whole idea is to find a balance that works for you.
Both examples had underlying issues that Soylent did not solve, because it never could. Doesn't mean it can't solve those same problems for others.
Anyway, I'm not really a fan of Soylent. I disagree with its health benefits. I think the company is pushing it as a far more miraculous product than it is (especially considering the recalls they received for their health bars which seemed like poor quality control). I also think it tastes awful, but obviously that is completely subjective.
Other than maybe giving the reader some perspective on their life. Anything used in a poor context, for example not combined with the right attitude, environment, etc can cause issues.
Often we just fall into negative cycles and need to be kicked in the butt to change them. We often fixate on one specific thing, like I quit smoking and suddenly became healthy (but I also worked out, started eating better, spent less time/money on a neutral/negative activity, etc, etc). There are always so many moving parts.
At most you could critique Solyent if they advertised as the solution to your health problems. Rather than something to replace 1-2 daily meals when you're on a tight schedule. The former is a complicated multi-faceted lifestyle thing that no company could offer with a single product but that won't stop them from positioning the product that way. But we should be smart enough to know it will only ever (potentially) be a component of it.
Let's not forget about alleged mold in Soylent not that long ago:
This is yet another example of how dangerous VC money is because it enables idiots to push their garbage with little to no oversight.
Depressed people misuse all kinds of perfectly valid products and services. Being mad at Soylent, or pizza delivery, or the internet, or beds, or any other thing that depressed people might end up leaning on in an unhealthy way seems pretty silly to me.
> I think many people approach Soylent as a way to solve some of their problems, but people should realize it won't be and can't be.
I'm not sure the parent's tone indicated that they were "mad" at Soylent and honestly your response to it is fairly insensitive.
> Meal replacement shakes have been around for, what, 2+ decades now?
Reading the copy on the Soylent website suggests that it saves you time. If meal replacement shakes have been around, then what is Soylent's value proposition and what makes it different?
Marketing. Initially based around the idea of replacing all food with it (which even the founder stopped doing during his initial trial).
It's tapping into a lot of sentiments around food as a "problem" or "nuisance", where a lot of the other shakes on the market have gone for the health and fitness angle, or the "I'm too important and busy to sit down and have breakfeast so I'll down a shake on the go" angle.
But it's not bringing much more than marketing.
I wish people would stop saying this.
There are many products, some are Ensure brands, that can be used as sole source nutrition products.
They don't market themselves like that to the general public because they're big companies with lots of lawyers who are cautious about that kind of claim.
But many of those other products can be used as sole source of nutrition.
EG fortisip: http://www.nutricia.ie/products/view/fortisip
> Fortisip is a Food for Special Medical Purposes for use under medical supervision. Fortisip is a nutritionally complete, 1.5kcal/ml, ready to drink, milk shake style nutritional supplement, for the management of disease related malnutrition. Fortisip can be used to supplement the diet of patients unable to meet their nutritional requirements from other foods, or used as a sole source of nutrition. Fortisip is available in 200ml bottles, with a flexible straw attached, in 8 flavours: Neutral, Vanilla, Chocolate, Toffee, Banana, Orange, Strawberry and Tropical Fruits.
Ensure original: https://abbottnutrition.com/ensure-original
> For interim sole-source nutrition.
Depression, in this way, is kind of a weird bogeyman of an argument: its prevalence would be increased by anything that makes life easier. And so, naturally, the solution is reactionary: eliminate depression by eliminating progress! (This is the same sentiment behind the phrase "idle hands are the Devil's workshop"—made clearer with the knowledge that Christianity considers sloth–or in other translations, sadness—a sin.)
Look, it's not crazy to grant that each of those things is a benefit and bring up the fact that there are downsides. It doesn't have to be all good or all bad. We can say "ordering pizza is great, and we should consider the fact that some people rely on it to the detriment of their physical and emotional well-being."
It's this same attitude that ends up with heroin addicts on the street: these are almost always people who, at one point, had chronic pain; and then became addicted to their (much less scary) pain medications; and then, when someone decided to make it hard to live an easy life while addicted to pain medications by taking the supply away, they "solved" this problem by finding a different opiate to consume that they could access.
A person with depression will be able to have an easier time having depression if they don't have to cook for themselves, yes. But you know what that easier time means for them? More emotional energy left over to maybe try to get over their depression! And you know who's never going to get over their depression? The person stuck spending the little time they feel like getting out of bed each day trying to scrounge up a meal, pay bills, take care of children/parents, etc.
In short: things like Soylent are, at worst, a crutch. Even when misused and relied upon long-term, they're still letting people have the opportunity to get better, in a way that forcing them to "walk it off" would permanently disable.
It's not as simple as "easier/more efficient = more emotional energy to get over depression". In fact, you might have it backwards. Therapies such as behavioral activation therapy exploit the fact that our mood can follow from our behaviors. (You might be familiar with this, for example: force yourself to smile for thirty seconds, and see how your mood changes.)
I experience a chronic, mild to moderate form of depression called dysthymia. For me, there are two things that can make a world of difference in how my day goes. One is leaving the house shortly after getting up, which prevents me from starting the day by flopping on the couch and wasting hours online, then feeling guilty. The other is taking a shower after getting up, because if I don't, I generally won't leave the house. Both of these actually take effort, especially some days, and your read on things would suggest that just not doing them would leave me more time and energy to "try to get over" my depression. But in fact, it's precisely the immediate investment in myself and my day that makes the difference.
As it happens, cooking also ties in for me. I enjoy cooking, generally, and I feel proud of the food I cook for myself and especially for others. On the other hand, here's what happens when I order a pizza: I feel guilty about being lazy, and I feel hopeless about the prospect of getting out of whatever funk I'm in when I can't even get myself to put together a meal. That said, I take what I can get: I was alone a couple Thanksgivings ago, and had been in a low stretch for a few weeks, and it was a victory to make myself get up and go to the gas station for Bugles and Swedish Fish, rather than ordering in.
I'm telling you this personal stuff, which doesn't feel terribly comfortable, because I constantly hear naive bullshit about how depression works, and it is supremely unhelpful. It is not simple. And my experience isn't going to be the same as anyone else's. But the person who has to scrounge up a meal, pay bills, and take care of others could absolutely be doing better than the person who "has it easy", because they've got structure, activities that get them out of their head, and others who they can be responsible for or even live for.
I'm not saying Soylent shouldn't be on the market, and I'm not saying pizza shouldn't be able to be delivered. But the idea that thinking about how all these factors fit together is "silly" and worth dismissing is really wrongheaded.
Rather, my point was more like this: I have a friend who, right now: is in debt; is transitioning from male to female but can't afford to keep paying for the relevant drugs; is too sore (from the drugs) to work more than one shift per week at their job; is depressed (from gender dysphoria); is insomnaic (from a side-effect of an anti-depressant); is tired all the time (from insomnia); has very little willpower to do anything (from tiredness, and depression, and chronic pain, and, well, all of that.) Their only passion in life is art—but they not only have no emotional energy left over to do said art, but their wrists and arms hurt too much to work on their art even when they're inspired (because of the drugs, but also because their job is labor-intensive.) And they'd look for a new job, but...
This friend of mine would benefit immensely from anything that could "lighten the load" on them, to the point that they would be able to find both the physical and mental energy—at the same time—to do a single enjoyable thing for a minute per day. With all of it together, it's a swirling vortex that sucks them back in each time. (And I constantly wish I lived within 1000km of them, so I could go help them out a bit.)
So—I guess I was more considering the case of "depression + chronic pain" than depression alone. It's a terrible motherfucker of a place to be.
> It was a victory to make myself get up and go to the gas station for Bugles and Swedish Fish, rather than ordering in.
Here's a question: do you think being unable to "order in" would make your depression less? If you didn't have that option?
Consider what it would feel like to be homeless+carless+penniless. You'd have to put quite a bit more effort into life each day in order to survive. Probably interact with more people. Would your disposition improve?
Because that's not my experience. I went through a period in my life where I was depressed, didn't go to work, got fired, got evicted... and continued to be depressed. All of those things made the depression worse, not better.
These experiences, at the time, served to tell me that I didn't deserve to have a job; to have money; to have a place to live. And, on top of that, they made life harder in a particular way where each day was then a reminder of how much of a fuck-up I was. Bootstrapping back up to a regular life required engaging with the world, but engaging with the world as I was meant a constant confrontation with just how far bad I had let things get. The fact that I had to get food from a food bank was a reminder that nobody thought I deserved money to eat—and I didn't want to be reminded of that, so I just didn't go, and let myself starve. Etc.
At that point, it would have been quite nice to have replaced those activities that cost emotional energy, with energy-neutral ones. Having some free Soylent laying around with no "aura of self-pity" attached to it, would have left me with more energy for the rest of the day.
Yes, it would have been nice to also add on experiences with positive affect, on top of removing the negative ones. I did do a few of those: forcing myself to dress up nicely for job interviews every day and go to a downtown library to send out resumes made me feel a lot better than doing so from home.
But those things do require some amount of a crutch, before you can generate enough initial emotional-energy "steam" to even contemplate doing them. That's the real use-case for anti-depressants, after all: they take enough self-loathing and grey affect away from things to let you contemplate ideas like actually making it to your therapy appointments every week. To me, things like Soylent solve a similar problem.
Why is that not something that can be discussed? I mean, I'd bet good money that delivery pizza is a net benefit, but I can still admit that some people probably rely on it in a way that's unhealthy.
>make general remarks about world demand for products and time management, accuse CEO of autism, vulgarly insult product
"ergocalciferol should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification."
D2 and D3 are metabolized so differently that they result in the "production of unique biologically active metabolites."
Ergocalciferol is the version used in the Soylent powder, while the bottled version doesn't even deign to inform the consumer what they are getting (it just says Vitamin D)
The fact that this problem exists and has existed for years with many of their ingredients indicates that they aren't even doing shallow research into nutrition.
(https://www.MealSquares.com try to provide multiple sources of all micronutrients from different food groups)
This medical professional's nonchalance about the difference is in pretty stark contradiction to your bizarre claim that they "aren't doing even shallow research into nutrition". There's a million possible reasons they may have decided not to optimize solely for bio-availablility, just as my doctor did.
Even in general though, I don't see why the only thing to optimize for is as much bioavailability as possible. People care about things like cost too. (Though this opinion of mine is a lot less strong than my reaction to your initial claim)
Is that the primary difference?
That there's this much nuance just with this one ingredient is a microcosm of the overall flaw in Soylent's approach.
Optimizing for just the legible dimensions of a poorly understood domain will not result in good outcomes.
For mealsquares we take consilience seriously and combine the inside and outside view (see: reference class forecasting) on human nutrition to try to establish reasonable confidence intervals around nutrition models, and even then we aren't stupid enough to think or claim that mealsquares are just as good as fish, fruit, and vegetables.
Thank you. This one sentence can replace all my responses to the original post.
You are saying your case (and that of your friend's) apply to everyone. I've lost a lot of weight using Huel (a similar product made in the UK), because it makes calorie tracking incredibly easy and allows me to avoid thinking about food except when I specifically choose to eat something.
Just because it wasn't suitable to you, and your friend didn't find a use for it, doesn't make it bad for everyone.
My experience with Huel was that it allowed me to reset my relationship with food to a more healthy one. My analogy is music - in the past I sat down and just listened to music, sometimes with friends. I still do that, but now I have a phone with me all the time, and headphones, and I listen to music almost all of the time. It's a constant, background thing, rather than (only) a special event.
Food had become something similar for me - I wanted to be eating all the time, to always have some flavour. For music, that relationship wasn't a problem, but for food, it has meant I'm overweight.
So I tried Huel. I don't think about food most days now - I drink, I drink a given number of calories of Huel (helping me lose weight).
Then, sometimes, I go out and eat something really nice with friends or family. Or I just feel like something and I make something nice. I still enjoy food, but it isn't a constant thing.
Now, you could do a similar thing with a normal calorie controlled diet, and in fact I did by using a calorie tracking app a few years back - but I didn't stick with it because it was hard, because every time you go to make food it's a tempation. Avoiding food entirely made it easier for me.
It's definitely not for everyone, but there are plenty of use cases.
Out of the those 3, MANA was clearly superior. The main reason was better texture. Taste was also a factor. Both of Joylent and Jake had a really distinct taste (most likely) caused by sweetener they used, which was really unpleasant.
In fact, I never managed to finish Joylent/Jake because I just couldn't get myself to drink them. On the other hand, I still use MANA for ~7 meals a week to this day.
Someone I know also tried Huel, but their verdict was "would not recommend".
The other big thing I found was the texture improves a lot if blended or left in a fridge for a time before drinking. Shaken and drunk straight away the texture isn't great.
Here's a list of Soylent style products; you can filter by shipping destination: https://www.blendrunner.com/
° Actually my bags still say Joylent, which was the name until a few months ago. https://www.jimmyjoy.com/
You raise a great point about self reflection and Soylent. To stop cooking entirely is madness, and Soylent can enable antisocial tendencies or depression. They shouldn't brand themselves as a complete dietary replacement for food.
Does that include takeout/eating out? Because I know tons of people (myself unfortunately included) that have stopped cooking entirely and rely on takeout. It's not ideal but I wouldn't call it madness.
I found that it did nothing to satiate my appetite and that I'd be hungry, bloated and gassy all day long. The bloating and gas were incredibly uncomfortable and never really subsided. Eschewing the normal 3 meals a day routine and doing 5 meals didn't seem to help. Despite the fact that I was only consuming 2000 calories, 500 less than recommended for my size/weight/age/sex, I managed to gain weight.
The powder was messy and would coat whatever surface I prepared it on with a fine dusting. The liquid smelled unpleasant after a while and eventually I started to smell like it when I sweat. The liquid was basically an oil and solid particulate suspension so if you spilled it on anything it was difficult to clean up because the particles would work their way into fabric. Not such a problem for clothes but more so for furniture or car seats.
From a social perspective it really sucked because meals are a time to socialize it was awkward to go out with people and not order anything. I gradually moved to half days which actually curbed the weight gain I was seeing and eventually motivated me to give it up.
2500kcal is only suitable for people living a very active lifestyle or exercising a lot. Note that going to the gym for 45minutes 3 times a week is not being active.
When I spent an hour lifting heavy weights 5 times a week, my weight was stable at around 2500kcal.
The reality is that unless you work as a construction worker or other type of job that keep you active most of the day and/or exercise a lot (my 5x a week were heavy compound powerlifting lifts), chances are you need to adjust those recommendations down substantially.
Ultimatly the only thing you can do is to gradually lower your intake until you're losing weight. That you were adding weight at 2000kcal is not that surprising.
I've not tried Soylent, but I've trued Huel, and compared to what you described it seems a lot more pleasant, and more importantly, if anything I've found it hard to eat enough on it because it fills me up so much. The biggest problem for me in using it as much as I'd like is that filling me up doesn't stop me craving food - it's a reward thing for me.
In your own case you've yourself proven that the sources you've found are wrong or at least have a ridiculous error margin, given that you've measured that your maintenance intake is much lower than your sources claim it should be.
Meanwhile it's exceedingly rare to see the opposite.
One of the big issues appears to be that people take advice based on a belief they are more active than they are. E.g. as I mentioned elsewhere, pretty much anyone in an office job is sedentary by default, even if they spend most of their spare time being active.
I got a membership at a gym closer to my house, so now I go something like 3 times a week for 45 minutes (overall less, but likely more intense), so my maintenance is even lower now, probably.
You were eating too many calories. 2500 for maintaining body weight is a lot. Perhaps you were overestimating your activity level?
Overall I think the typical old advice of 2500kcal for men and 2000 for women are dangerously out of tune with modern lifestyles.
As your own results demonstrated, that's often way too high. Measure, weigh, adjust - ultimately the only thing that will tell you what the right amount of calories is for you is to actually adjust your intake and check what happens.
Obviously if the op was gaining weight at 2000 calories it was a bad estimate for him (or he was eating more than he thought, which is often the case), but it isn't a crazy estimate or anything.
The problem is not the estimate per se, it is that people don't understand what terms like sedentary and active implies, and tend to overestimate how active they are.
E.g. the vast majority of people who work office jobs are sedentary, whether or not they think that their out-of-office activities makes them "active". An hour of activity here and there in the evening does not get anywhere near compensating for 8 hours in a chair.
This, to me, is another reason why employing a feedback cycle and only relying on those estimates as a first approximation makes most sense.
The estimates won't take into account how dilligent you are: do you estimate how many meatballs there is per 100 calories, or do you guesstimate based on measuring once? do you count the calories in your sugar free chewing gum (it's certainly not calorie free)? do you measure out the amount of ketchup you put on your food and count the calories? And so on.
With a feedback cycle hopefully you're roughly consistent, and if you adjust on a weekly basis based on how you're doing you'll hopefully also counter-act your own self-sabotage (e.g. it's oh-so-easy to subconsciously take more of anything you've decided doesn't need measuring, like the above mentioned ketchup, or find yourself suddenly chewing 10x as much chewing gum...)
(at the same time, one of the benefits of these shakes certainly is that if you adhere strictly at least for periods, you take dilligence out of the picture; though you still need a feedback cycle, as e.g. differences in how much energy you have can easily affect your activity levels and so change your rate)
What matters is not what the average burn rate for your build is, but what you burn. And you yourself is the source for that calorie intake being too high for you.
The averages matters for generc advice and as a starting point, but they can never be as good as measuring and adjusting.
And I think that is part of the problem with this advice. Too many people seem to influence their intake by it but then get surprised and dejected when they don't get the result they expect, instead of using their result to tweak their intake accordingly.
For example, in my own experience counting calories, oil is always the killer - it's so calorie dense and sneaks into everything when you're cooking.
You need 2400 calories a day to maintain weight, were supposedly consuming 2000, and were (off the cuff) burning close to 1000 a day from running and other activity.
There's no way you'd gain weight at 220 lbs effectively consuming 1000 calories a day. I've lost weight eating more than that at 180 lbs body weight.
Counting calories is very difficult. It's so easy to over- or under-estimate.
No, his sources estimates 2400 calories a day. You're right to question if he's consumed more, but taking his claims at face value, they match my own experience and many, many anecdotes I've seen over the year to indicate that advice of maintenance levels around that range are way too high for most people.
> and were (off the cuff) burning close to 1000 a day from running and other activity.
I very much doubt that. My own off the cuff estimate is ~500 calories a day for that activity.
> There's no way you'd gain weight at 220 lbs effectively consuming 1000 calories a day. I've lost weight eating more than that at 180 lbs body weight.
More like 1500 by my account, possibly more depending on the intensity of his exercise. And if you assume lack of substantial muscle-weight in that, it matches pretty well with my own experience from before I started lifting weights - I had diets where I had to drop to around 1200/day before it made a noticeable difference.
Once I started adding muscle, I could get away with more, but not a lot more.
I don't doubt your numbers, but to me they'r why we shouldn't listen to estimates, but measure, as activity level (all day long, not just during exercise) and body composition makes the error margin on estimates of metabolic rate crazily high.
But even still, at 220 lbs, your estimate of 1500 calories a day should not cause weight gain.
And did, for that matter until I'd adjusted my intake further down. To notice much in terms of a loss I had to go below about 1600kcal before factoring in the exercise. I believe my maintenance level at the time was ~1800kcal.
If you're largely sedentary outside of your exercise, you can end up burning exceedingly little.
When is someone going to disrupt the smell-o-vision for the internet market?
Was Soylent ruining your health, or enabling you to let your health decline by isolating yourself? If the later, I don't think that's any reflection of the product itself.
Some of us like food too much, and replacements can help with that. Some people don't care about food, and replacments are just as good to them, but easier.
 which may actually be the case here
I applaud you for admitting your ignorance. Let me give you some reasons why:
I know a guy who doesn't enjoy eating. For him it's always been a chore. He has a poor sense of smell, it's surely related. It works for him.
I drink soylent as an alternative to eating out on my own, which is an expensive and unhealthy habit I have. It does not replace 1) eating out with friends or 2) cooking at home.
This resonates with me. When I tried Soylent, it was because I was working WAY too much, and that "always-on" mindset carried over into other parts of my life. I felt like I didn't have time for food - I needed to be productive instead! Soylent markets to this extremely well, and it worked on me.
I stopped using Soylent when I found a healthier work/life balance, started meditating regularly, did a bit of traveling, started exercising more often, and met a new love interest. I wouldn't say that I'm a stellar cook, but I enjoy preparing meals - it's just another thing to try to do well.
So Soylent isn't really for me - though there probably are some lifestyles in which it makes sense.
It doesn't leave a lot of time
for cooking healthy things (or, more accurately, I would rather spend the limited time left over after work for reading and producing music rather than cooking and cleaning my dishes and kitchen) and most packaged/prepared food is pretty unhealthy. Soylent and Joylent and Jake mean I end up healthier.
In the same way that "ball is life" gets a lot of kids to pay a lot of money for sneakers and the faint possibility of a future as a pro athlete, you'll get goods that signal your commitment to that lifestyle. Same with startups. Ergo, as startup culture does well, so does Soylent.
The only person that I know drinks soylent only to surpess the hunger until lunch, and doesnt plan on drinking only soylent. So far they say its doing its job good enough.
What's your opinion on that ?
It is marketed as a most-of-the-time meal replacement.
Am I wrong?
Disclaimer: I'm a firm believer that we need to change our consumption habits. Soylent is a way to make an impact, even if it is only used once a week.
Name one that a) provides a proper amount of needed nutrients and b) is as simple and convenient as Soylent (or equivalents).
And purple corn meal for carbs: https://www.amazon.com/Z%C3%B3calo-Peru-Organic-Purple-Flour...
Organic virgin coconut oil (in glass jar) for fats: https://www.pureformulas.com/nutiva-organic-extravirgin-coco...
Soylent is $2.69 / 400 cal and vegan.
To get the same macro ratios you don't need the corn meal, the shakes have plenty of carbs, you can do 1 shake @ $3.33 + 15g coconut oil @ $0.55 + a few cents for the multivitamin = ~$4.00 / 400 cal.
(You may still want the cornmeal for fibers and slower carbs, since the carbs in the shake are all from milk and cane sugar.)
So it's more expensive, requires preparation, is not vegan, and the glycemic load is probably worse. Beautiful.
Cow milk has actual estrogen. Because cows are mammals. With actual sex hormones. Which binds strongly to estrogen receptors, because that's what they're for.
I know which one I'm going with.
To be honest I don't think it's that big of a deal in either case (soy or dairy), for occasional consumption, I eat both on occasion. But if we are talking about replacing meals with a dairy shake, or GOMAD (gallon of milk per day, a 'traditional' recipe for fast weight gain), I might be a little bit concerned.
> Calcium carbonate is the most common and least expensive calcium supplement. It should be taken with food, and depends on low pH levels (acidic) for proper absorption in the intestine. Some studies suggests that the absorption of calcium from calcium carbonate is similar to the absorption of calcium from milk
1 in 3 Americans are obese and the next 1 in 3 are overweight. We have no idea how to feed ourselves. Skepticism seems appropriate.
We mostly don't know how to deal with abundance, combined with reluctance to utilize tools like taxes to attempt to alter societal eating trends.
When this guy goes to get a physical, he will go into database as "overweight" (BMI 26-27): http://ow.ly/KnTx30bsc3d
And this is "Obese": http://ow.ly/33ls30bsclV
With the extra time I found myself, instead of rushing between lunch and work, wandering around listening to audiobooks or podcasts. I started enjoying these walks so much I extended them. On one podcast I heard about Blue Apron. I've never liked cooking, but the release of lunch's tediousness pushed me to give it a try.
Dinner is now, three times a week, a home-cooked meal for myself and one other. (Together, Blue Apron and Soylent reduced my daily caloric intake appreciably, at least on weekdays.)
I think Soylent was a great crutch during my downtime. I don't think it encouraged depression. In my case I argue it kept my body healthy while my mind wasn't, which is itself a bonus.
But it is a convenient solution for when you want a quick, kind of nutritionally complete meal that's convenient.
Of course, the founder didn't really position it that way? The hype was all about it being a meal replacement for ALL your meals - which is what caused your problem.
I'm honestly not sure how healthy it is, but I'd be very surprised if it was worse than what I'd do otherwise.
Now I agree if you have 5 bottles a day as your only food source, that's probably not great. We don't really understand human food needs as well as we say we do, and we kind of just get by as a kind of coincidence through variety. Having the same thing over and over and over almost garentees you get it wrong, no matter what it is you have.
One thing to keep in mind is it's not only depresssion that could cause the poor time management that Soylent benefits from. The whole "gotta be working every minute of every day" ethos of SV can feed into this very easily as well. Which isn't also to say that the two can't be intertwined...