Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Soylent gets a lot of hate (I'm looking forward to skipping out on this thread before the inevitable negative comments from people who assume that Soylent consumers will eat nothing but Soylent for the rest of their lives), but to me, it's solved a large problem in my life: what to eat when I'm hungry but I don't have enough time to prepare a full meal. It can happen every now and then when I'm rushing around, and soylent blows away whatever I'd eat before (nothing, some Mexican I bought in the Mission, clif bars, etc).

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.

What advantage does Soylent have over say, other meal replacements e.g. Slimfast, weight watcher shakes, juices etc that have existed for years before it and will continue to do so for years after? All I see is SV hype and marketing. In fact you just showed that Soylent is easily outplayed because you switched to a different drink already.

Slimfast has 4x as much sugar as Soylent (per-calorie). To get 2000 calories from Slimfast you'd be getting 180g sugar, while with Soylent it would be 45g. Now 45g is a little higher than recommended, but 180g is way too high.



not sure where you got the slimfast nutritional info but they have 1g of sugar: http://slimfast.com/advanced-nutrition/#shakes

if it had that much sugar, it wouldve never gained a reputation for losing weight.

That's a hilariously naive comment.

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.)

> if it had that much sugar, it wouldve never gained a reputation for losing weight.

Ah, I see you've forgotten about the 'low-fat' era.

Efficacy has very little to do with the popularity of diets.

Original vs Advanced (click the buttons on their website to find Original).

The Original I checked had 18 grams of sugar.

And it looks like Advanced was introduced after Soylent.

looks like the "original" versions have much more sugar: http://slimfast.com/original/#shakes

You can't go hiking with Slimfast, Weight Watcher shakes, or juices.

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.

> 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 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 ;-)

> 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.

You can easily have dehydrated meals for under 50cents that don't have the nutritional criticisms of soylent.

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.

1/4 the price, but how much extra time does that take?

Not saying that's a bad option, just different.

Realistically, I need to go to Costco anyways, and I can buy these products in bulk as they have long shelf lives. Perhaps I spend 5-10mins extra at the store every 2 months, and another 5mins pouring everything in a large container together, once a month. So perhaps 10 minutes a month to save, say, 3$ a day, or 90$ a mo, works out to $360/hr tax free value creation rate without including the value of eating healthier, better tasting food. Where I waste my time is on reddit, HN, and video games.

I like your idea. Certainly sounds way better taste wise.

Gorp is not a new idea. In fact you can get it for free in every single hiker box on the AT. I know someone who claims he didn't buy a single meal on the trail.

The disadvantages to soylent are taste, chewing difficulty/calories, preparation, it stops up your digestive tract, and takes much longer to become usable energy.

Trail mix (never heard the word gorp before) is nothing new, neither is muesli. My version above, however, is low sugar and a complete protein with much more varied nutrition sources. Thought it doesnt taste quite as good to your sweet tooth as a bag of m&ms and nuts.

> muesli

Ah, now I know why it sounded good to me. As a Swiss we basically grow up with that stuff.

You should go to Nepal. Serious mountains and everyone there uses dried instant noodles, which were less than 50 cents a pack. You can eat them dry, or boil them up and make a soup.

Agreed. I use Soylent as a replacement for cliff bars when I ski or climb. It's easier to get down and has more calories.

What are the acronyms REI and SAR?

REI = Recreational Equipment, Inc. (essentially a a camping and hiking store though they do have some general sports stuff like bikes)

SAR = search and rescue

SAR = search and rescue

REI = major American outdoor retailer

Uh, you know that every REI has a wide selection of freeze-dried camping foods, right? They're a lot better than the idea of slurping down bland nutrient goo (but more power to you, if nutrient spooge is your preference, I suppose).

As for price, I bought a 30-day supply of camp food for less than $100 on amazon.

Those are really not alternatives to the mentioned uses. The freeze dried food selection is somewhat limited, tends to be very salty, takes substantially more time to prepare, and generates a lot of waste you get to continue hauling around.

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.

The things i'm talking about are a single pouch per meal. There's no more or less waste than mixing up a sack of goo. Many can be eaten dry in a pinch. Have fun eating dry soylent.

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.

Yes. That single pouch is a significant problem when you generate several a day. They are intended to be used for meal prep, which involves hot water. They're fairly heavy and large, and you have to carry them out with you. You can save a significant amount of weight when packaging your own food by using smaller, lesser weight bags with a separate reusable insulator. Remember, we're talking about people that will pay a significantly higher price for an item that is maybe an ounce or two lighter.

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.

Last time I checked, Soylent comes in packages, and requires water to eat.

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.

Mountain House requires more than water though, it needs to be cooked, and ounce-for-ounce, provides no more or better nutrition than Soylent. Cooking is a hassle sometimes; if I'm just doing a quick 20-miler for the day, I want to eat but not carry a stove.

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.

> Mountain House requires more than water though, it needs to be cooked

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.)

what you are saying is that you don't know any hikers that care significantly about weight.

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.

I'm saying that nobody I know cares about the weight of a plastic bag unless they're trying to win a pedantic internet debate.

If everyone you know is different, congratulations. Enjoy your nutrient goo.

Out of curiosity, have you tried Tsogo for your SAR needs? I generally like Soylent better taste-wise; but one thing that Tsogo does, they pack their powder in fairly thick sealed mylar bags that can just be dropped in your backpack without worry of it spoiling (the shelf life is also on the same order of magnitude as freeze-dried food, so you can just put it there and forget it).

Yes. Yes, you can go hiking on slimfast or Weight Watchers. I go hiking all the time in Arizona with a Builder Bar or an apple and some water. 6 to 8 mile trail runs with some water (nothing else) is very common for me and my friends. I am not going to mix up Soylent for trail running or hiking, ever. I can almost say that 99% of my friends will not either.

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.

Sorry, why can't you drink a protein shake on a call?

yeah, when I'm out backpacking I drink trader joe's chocolate protein powder, costs less, same nutrition facts on the label, no strange gas.

Soylent is just very good at marketing to people unfamiliar with protein powder.

trader joe's chocolate protein powder, costs less, same nutrition facts on the label,

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?

> Soylent is inarguably better than any other product in its niche

jakefood.com beg to differ.

> What advantage does Soylent have over say, other meal replacements e.g. Slimfast, weight watcher shakes, juices etc

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.

Products for people on feeding tubes like Jevity?

Last I checked Soylent contained Sucralose (Splenda).

Not speaking to that specific product, but actual medically-approved food replacements are at a big price premium, because their use is so niche.

(And if it's not going in your mouth, it can taste like ass.)

> but actual medically-approved food replacements are at a big price premium, because their use is so niche

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.

> ... sucralose

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?

Huh, I thought they got rid of sucralose in 1.7; it's clearly there in 1.8 though.

I don't like artificial sweeteners because I am worried about changes in gut bacteria. There's some research suggesting it may.

Meaning they'll eventually become capable of digesting sucralose? Or that the artificial sugars are killing our gut bacteria. One I care about. Haha.


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.

Protein isn't a panacea. Eating 2,000 calories of Soylent a day would mean consuming 100 grams of protein. That's unnecessary for the average person.

Eating 2000 calories of Slimfast notcompletelysugar^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^high protein, because it seems to be their only option that isn't giant heaping piles of sugar, would net you 222g (and wickedly overload you on vitamins, but, you know, whatever, right?). Which would you prefer?

Eat some fruit and vegetables.

Man, I wish I needed 100g of protein a day. I try to be very conservative on my intake, and I still need 142g minimum at 180 pounds.

RDA for protein is 0.8g/kg (~0.36/pound), so about 65g in your case if you're sedentary. 1g/pound is an old bodybuilder myth according to this article [0] which goes through various studies: "many review papers have concluded 0.82g/lb is the upper limit at which protein intake benefits body composition". This is for strength athletes and bodybuilders, mind you: most people (even many athletes) need far, far less.

[0] http://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-pro...

> 1g/pound is an old bodybuilder myth according to this article

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.

You're right, I forgot about that. My main point was that parent is probably overdoing it (even if he/she were a bodybuilder), and this seems to be quite common.

What do you mean by overdoing it?

It's hard, although possible, to have too much protein.

That's not a massive ton of protein. It's probably a bit more than the average person is likely to make use of but I'd rather an extra 20g of protein than an extra 20g+ of sugar.

> So here you are crapping on the product, but you actually haven't pointed to a realistic replacement for it.

Why should suggesting a replacement be a requirement for criticism?

In this particular case, the criticism was that there are better replacements.

>... haven't pointed to a realistic replacement for it.

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.

Buy why not Soylent? Why is it so offensive compared to not eating at all or eating Taco Bell or a few granola bars?

A better alternative to Soylent is going hungry? Why?

> Buy why not Soylent? Why is it so offensive compared to not eating at all or eating Taco Bell or a few granola bars?

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.

> easily outplayed because you switched to a different drink already.

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 lived on Garden of Life's Raw Organic Meal + Green Vibrance + Alkaline Water for a while.



How did that go?

It worked, though I had a few other items. Those products don't contain many fats nor carbs so I also had green juices, Garlic Hummus & Mary's Gone Crackers & eggs in the morning as well. What was nice about this combination was the ease of digestion.

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.

Do you have a blog or anything? Sounds like you have an interesting lifestyle (potentially). I'd be curious to know more about what your diet is like, what your work from home habits are like, etc. Always looking for ways to improve.

I hope you realize that alkaline water is a total scam.

Check out Tsogo.


>All I see is SV hype and marketing.

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).

Well can't have Herbalife having all of the fun

That's my impression as well, feels a lot like this juicer https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-04-19/silicon-v...

There's a marked difference between all of the above if you take a cursory glance at the nutritional information. If you tried to eat a 2,000 calorie diet on classic Slim Fast, you'd be getting around 200 grams of sugar and over twice the recommended daily allowance of sodium. Ensure, Cliff Bars and a lot of other popular snacks of that kind compared about as unfavorably last time I checked.

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.

...a simple powder/drink that could serve as one's sole source of nutrition - is sort of ridiculous

Care to explain why? I am genuinely curious, as it sounds like an awesome idea.

Pro GMO: they are not hiding that they used a lot of GMO product, instead of selling you something organic with a huge premium.

Glycemic Index/Glycemic Load: a quick search doesn't give me SlimFast's GI/GL info, while Soylent does post the number.

> 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.

GI/GL is important for diabetes/prediabetes. The number is of course reasonable (mid-low GI/GL).

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.

A very quick look at the Slimfast page for their high protein product links the nutritional information. It shows that the mix has ~1g of sugars per serving, but is mixed with milk, so you'll need to account for that in your calculations depending on the type of milk you use for mixing.


GI/GL is not directly related to the carbohydrate number on nutrition fact table. The number must be tested in a controlled environment.

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.

This is a really weird myth that has started spreading lately. That somehow Soylent was just another meal replacement in a long line of meal replacements.

No, none of the products you mentioned is anywhere near as nutritionally balanced as soylent. And those that are, clearly came after

Yeah, I've noticed that. It seems many people simply aren't aware of the state of meal replacement drinks when Soylent came out. People in the Soylent community actually looked at the other options at the time, but they were all fairly bad.

Yes, exactly. The reason why I remember it so well is because I had been looking for something like Soylent for years before it came out

This was posted last week https://www.blendrunner.com


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.

Neither is Ensure a "lose weight" brand. But Ensure is an old-people brand. So Soylent (and Ample, which I learned about in this thread) are basically Ensure for young people.

Ensure is a weight gain brand, which is also incidentally marketed as a meal replacement for everyone and their dog because why not - of course marketing will never tell anyone, "don't eat this, it's not for you". That's why it's an old people brand, it's for people who can't eat enough solid food to maintain their weight. Just compare the nutritional labels:

Soylent (400 kcal) 21g fat 37g carbs (9g simple sugars, 3g fibers) 20g protein

Ensure (400 kcal) 11g fat 60g carb (?g simple sugars, doesn't say, NO FIBERS) 16g protein

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.

The maltodextrin is the primary calorie source in Soylent, but it's a much slower absorbing sugar (higher glycemic index, so it doesn't completely fuck your blood sugar) than the plain old sucrose you get in literally every other meal replacement drink.

It's the other way around. Higher GI carbs will absorb quicker and cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Maltodextrin is considered a complex carb but it breaks down quickly into glucose so the impact on your blood sugar levels is on par with dextrose.

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 just researched it, it's actually worse, the GI of maltodextrin is like 105-130, that's higher than plain sugar or dextrose.

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.

Apparently, I got the high/low backwards, but keep in mind the GI of a serving of Soylent is 60 for the powder, 49 for the drink. You can't just take the index of one ingredient alone and peg the whole product to that when the other ingredients influence absorption. Soylent's glycemic load over time is pretty modest.


Quest Bars have better much macros (barely any net carbs, plenty of fiber and protons) than that, though you'd need to eat ~two to hit the same calorie count. Any reason it needs to be a drink?

Did not know them, will look into it, thanks. No, doesn't have to be a drink.

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.

Are they any good? The erythritol worried me a bit.

I have been eating a Quest bar for lunch for a year now (to save time and leave work half an hour earlier). I'm happy with them. They are quite filling (I don't get hungry until dinner time), I like the taste of most variants (bit of an acquired taste, they do have the artificial tinge of all artificial sweeteners), and I have zero gastro issues from them.

They are a bit hard, but filling. I microwave my chocolate chip ones to make a cookie.

How bad does a food system have to be to get to the point where people deliberately choose to eat this?

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

Allow me to introduce to the ingredient list of an egg. Terrifying isn't it.


Is a list of ingredients intended to be a slur? I just see a list of ingredients.

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".

https://www.blendrunner.com/ has a huge table.

Ensure, like Slimfast, has much more sugar than Soylent.

Per 2000 calories, Ensure has 135g sugar to Soylent's 45g.




Consuming 135g (a cup, give or take) of sugar daily is pretty crazy, nutritionally speaking.

Is that product penetration or advertising?

The advantage, for me, is that there are no animal products in Soylent.

Unless you grow and prepare all your food yourself, you have this problem with anything.

You have it disproportionately more often with Soylent.

Other food manufacturers go for years, with tens of millions of units sold each day, without having a recall.

Other food manufacturers have been around for a lot longer.

So what?

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.

So, mass production is hard, supply chains are hard, shit happens. A recall of ~700 boxes isn't enough to damn the whole company.

I get what you're saying, but for many who have tried it, Soylent is simply better than ensure and slim fast. (Frankly, ensure is just too sweet.)

I drink a mix of whey/soy protein powder mixed in milk each morning. Does soylent have any advantages over that if I eat balanced meals the rest of the day?

Depends on how balanced those other meals are. There are some nutrients in there that are not in every ordinary meal, like methylfolate. You could think of soylent as a weak multivitamin plus macronutrients. In an early report a tester talked about a fantastic energy boost, and I'd wager he was deficient in one of the nutrients soylent contains. In the case of methylfolate, it's actually better than most multivitamins which only contain folic acid, which is harder to metabolize (especially if you have a MTHFR mutation).

I like the Coffiest product because it's basically like green tea, due to the caffeine + l-theanine they add (basically you get calm energy). Also I have only 13 minutes from waking up to leaving my door each morning, so saving time from mixing anything up, chewing food, etc is very useful.

Do you shower?

He could be like me and shower before going to bed.


This is my take as well. I don't see an innate advantage to Soylent over existing meal replacements like SlimFast. While Soylent has struggled with quality control, their competitors have been producing high volumes of equivalent products for many years, at better prices, and better name recognition to the american population outside of SV.

>I don't see an innate advantage to Soylent over existing meal replacements like SlimFast.

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?

> I don't see an innate advantage to Soylent

> equivalent

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.

I personally would never have slimfast because I'm not on a diet! This feels like a large distinction that you are missing here.

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.

Yes, I understand the diet centric focus that SlimFast has employed since their founding. My assumption is that the parent company could easily create a spin-off brand that is not focused on the dieter's market, with considerable resources, and a considerable advantage in their existing supply chain.

>If there are non-diet meal replacements


Im going to copy a response I made to someone else in this thread:

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.

Vega brand has decent penetration in mainstream retail, including grocery stores, as well as outlets that specialize in supplements and specialty nutrition items.

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.

the meal replacement (or "MRP") is extremely well established. Just walk into any nutrition store like GNC or VitaminShoppe and they'll likely have a whole section devoted to MRPs right next to the protein shakes/bars.

And as for specific products...

- https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/vega/one.html

- https://www.bodybuilding.com/store/garden-of-life/raw-organi...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Madre-Labs-Zenbu-Shake-Meal-Replace...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Tru-Food-Vegan-Natural-Be...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Nature-s-Plus-Source-of-Life-Vitami...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Orgain-Organic-Meal-All-In-One-Nutr...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/PlantFusion-Phood-100-Whole-Food-Me...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/MRM-Veggie-Meal-Replacement-Chocola...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Pure-Advantage-MRP-Meal-Replacement...

- https://www.iherb.com/pr/Vibrant-Health-Maximum-Vibrance-Ver...

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0038B1EOY/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00KS6WUUE/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0184DGHHO/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B004VRGS7W/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0088YQ8MO/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01N2M3RK0/

- https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01N3Y7R1S/

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.

Skimming the ingredients and descriptions for those, they seem to be intended as protein powder mixes for bodybuilders, not general meal replacements.

Yes, because like I said: marketing. "Protein Shakes" are a bigger/more popular niche than "Meal Replacements", so naturally a lot of products are gonna double dip and try to claim belonging to both categories. But that's irrelevant because what matters is the actual nutritional​ composition of these products.

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.

The serving size is the whole freakin' point. If you were to consume 1 bag of the Soylent powder, or 5 bottles of the pre-mixed drink, you would have exactly 100% of your RDA for most macros and some micros (+/- some modest amount) for a 2000cal diet.

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.

The only items in that list that require less than 10 servings to get to 2000 calories are the ones with serving sizes that are twice as large. Not even remotely comparable.

The "Recommended Serving Size" for these products can effectively be considered as just another part of the marketing. Comparing them based on their superficial face value is as useless as comparing apples and oranges, you have to actually calculate the amount of nutrients per quantity of mass if you want to compare them thoroughly.

Right off the bat, it's worth noting that Soylent has an unusually large serving size of 106-142g [0], 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.

[0] https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/204409635-Preparin...

Uh yeah I looked at a 6-7 of the "meal replacements" you linked randomly, they all have way too much protein.

> 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.

Have you heard of keto or Atkins diets? High protein intake isn't really a problem.

EAS Myoplex.

Name one. I've check the nutritional labels of every single thing that looks like a meal replacement shake around here looking for a cheaper alternative and didn't find one that came close.

>what to eat when I'm hungry but I don't have enough time to prepare a full meal.

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.

You missed a major benefit of Soylent... convenience. It is pre-made, pre-bottled and ready to drink. For some at least, time is worth more than the money saved.

Soylent has 20% of calories from protein - good luck with that if you do any physical activity.

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.

Oh my gosh, one of you shows up in every thread about Soylent or veganism talking about how we need 30% protein in our diet or something.

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.

You went from 55kg to 90kg (I'm assuming those numbers are lbs beacuse I highly doubt someone eating 20% protein can bench 200kg) ? That's just your CNS learning how to activate the muscles with intensity - you probably gained very little lean mass. For comparison I made a bigger jump in first 3 months of training on a 500 kcal deficit - but I plateaued after that because I just wasn't getting enough calories and protein to grow - after I went in to a surplus I started adding weight to the bar again. There's no way you'll be anywhere close to a competitive (even on recreational level) with 20% protein intake - and you won't gain significant muscle mass/look like you lift (you might get some newbie gains but even those will be underwhelming compared to a proper bulk diet).

You know, there is a world of difference between each of those things:

> 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.

There's a huge gap between DYEL and BB - you can have a physique most would find desirable/attractive without even coming close to BB level - but you can't do it on 20% protein, the best you can do on that is be skinny.

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.

> You can have a physique most would find desirable/attractive without even coming close to BB level - but you can't do it on 20% protein, the best you can do on that is be skinny.

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.

btw. competitive on a recreational level means you aren't a professional athlete (you don't make money from it/do it full time) but you still want to compete in amateur categories.

>Soylent has 20% of calories from protein - good luck with that if you do any physical activity.

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.

1) It's not convenient 2) That's not nutritionally complete.

You're just describing DIY soylent. I've seen recipes very similar to yours on the official DIY site.

Soylent gets a lot of hype, and invariably the hype follows a predictable pattern-

"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.

Just because I don't intend to replace 100% of all meals with Soylent doesn't mean that its nutritional content is irrelevant. The fact that I could replace all meals with Soylent if I wanted to suggests that it has a better nutrient profile than something like Ensure or Slimfast, which is not intended to replace all meals. If you look at the macronutrient profiles of those three drinks, Soylent comes out head and shoulders above the others. Even though I don't want to bother making breakfast, a 200 kcal shake isn't going to cut it for me on a regular basis.

Soylent has a very high glycemic index, and isn't far off of eating a bowl of sugar. From that angle alone I would categorize it as an extremely poor choice (and indeed this whole discussion is a little surreal -- Soylent would be categorized as garbage, ultra-processed junk food if it didn't have the VC/valley aura around it). I've never bought into the super-food fantasy, because there is utterly nothing qualifying it.

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.

>Soylent has a very high glycemic index

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!)

Soylent 1.6 has a GI of 65. That happens to be the same GI as sucrose (aka sugar). It is literally spot on, so you don't have to say "particularly" regarding 2.0.

> Soylent 1.6 has a GI of 65. That happens to be the same GI as sucrose (aka sugar). ...

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.

>Both false and misleading

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.

> Further, saying "white bread is worse" is a laughable diversion.

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.

Partially agreed, though, I replace two meals a day with the UK equivalent. I suffer from depression and ADHD, so while I generally collect myself enough to make a proper evening meal, prior to Huel I would often skip or forget meals, and binge on junk later in the day. I'm working on 50/50.

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've lived off Huel for months on end (3? 4?) with snacks and cheat weekends and never felt better in my life. As in, I felt significantly better than when eating "normal" food.

I would gladly pay twice the amount I pay for Soylent for a "nutritionally complete lifestyle" that I could get in the same amount of time.

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?

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!"

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.

I'm not sure I follow. How is it a straw man if people such as GP literally did exactly what I said they'd do. That's not a straw man, that's the opposite - like a flesh man.

(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.)

Your comment reminds me of this article an article the guardian wrote about "conspicuous production" being the new way of signaling status[1]. To that end, the consumption of food becomes just another thing to be optimized.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/24/new-statu...

> it's laughably easy to have a nutritionally complete lifestyle with minimal effort or time.

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.

I get a lot more pleasure out of shopping, meal prepping and cooking without the pressure of having to scramble for crappy food if I get busy when I'm low on food. There have been many times where I'd normally be sheepishly eating Wendy's where instead I'll head straight to the supermarket with a Soylent in my car's cupholder. On a similar note, I love cooking breakfast for myself and my wife, and if anything occasionally being able to take a break for a day or two has sustained my enthusiasm.

So Soylent and real food hardly need to be enemies.

I would much rather do any other enjoyable thing, than stop doing that thing, to eat.

> I don't get Soylent. Not only is food one of the greatest luxuries in life -- one of the greatest rewards

totally agree with this. soylent feels too much like... dog food for humans

How miserable the dogs must be to eat so poorly. They must never have a moment of joy in their lives.

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.

Something I always wanted!

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.

Soylent is exactly that - it's kibble for humans.

And there's nothing wrong with that. It's great to enjoy your meals, but you don't always get an opportunity for that.

Soylent does nothing for me because I find that any other viable option for eating, be it a sandwich from a vending machine, is a more attractive.

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 can't get the hate either, though.

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.

But I think that's really the point.

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.

Why? Most $50mm investments end up worth nothing. The fact a company has investment does not mean they have actual value.

It's a quibble, but I would expect most $50 million dollar investments to be low risk. Things like power plants and so on.

You mean VC investments, the point is that VC investment is a small fraction of overall investment.

I mean, it kind of does.

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.

> Ample which is similar to Soylent but a bit more health conscious with ingredient choice

What does that mean? How did you make this judgement?

If you go to what they've written up on their website, https://www.amplemeal.com/products/ample, you can see they've taken and written about a lot of care in selecting ingredients.

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.

Spirulina is far from a good health choice. It got popular because it contains a molecule that's similar to B12, but it turns out that it's not B12. But it does bind to B12 intrinsic factor, which is a problem because intrinsic factor production, not B12 consumption, is frequently the limiting factor in how much of the nutrient you can get into your system.

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.

To be honest, I take my data from examine.com, which does a survey of the literature and backs me up on this (sorry, on mobile so I'm not going to pull out the URL, but google finds it easily). It specifically says spirulina is one of the few "superfoods" that is in fact good for you.

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.

Not interested in getting into an Internet argument over credentialism, but I will say that I did some looking at examine.com's treatment on spirulina, and found it to be less than compelling.

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.

Examine.com absolutely gives study quality, impact factor, etc consideration.

Perhaps your superficial look was the problem.

I recently tried Ample Original and AmpleX, and I like Ample Original quite a bit. The only other product I've tried is from Super Body Fuel, though that one had a pretty different macronutrient profile and required some preparation.

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?

Looks great. I've been using Huel, the British Soylent knockoff, for 1-2 meals per day (much healthier than the 4oz bag of chips it replaced), and now that I'm moving back to America I'm looking for local alternatives.

Looks good but doesn't list many vitamins or minerals on the label.

The published nutrition panel [1] lists four micros:

Vitamin A 0% (zero percent)

Vitamin C 2%

Calcium 4%

Iron 14%

Since they list no others, one might infer those are not present.

[1] https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1096/7494/products/Ample_4...

Hence my comment.

It contains an unnecessary amount of protein if you're only consuming Ample.

Yeah- in comparison to Soylent the Ample guys specifically say not to only eat Ample. Arguably people get less protein than they should.

There is no such thing as protein deficiency in America. If anything Americans get too much.

There's no such thing as poverty in America. If anything Americans should get rid of some stuff.

What does that have to do with protein?

It was a sarcastic retort that your perspective is egocentric extrapolation based upon averages. Akin to looking at the highest GDP/capita and deciding that poverty does not exist.

I still don't get it. How is my comment egocentric?

e·go·cen·tric ˌēɡōˈsentrik/ adjective 1. thinking only of oneself, without regard for the feelings or desires of others; self-centered.

Sorry maybe a poor word choice. By "egocentric extrapolation" I meant applying the statistics on an individual basis, centered around an individual, which is egocentric more in the Greek sense than in common usage.

Soylent is great, but you should check out Joylent if you get a chance. Similar nutritional profile to Soylent, but cheaper, better tasting, and cooler branding.

I've been getting 90% of my calories from Joylent for about 5 months.

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...

Re Amplemeal? You should take a close look at the nutrition label and compare to Soylent's, Joylent's or any other meal-replacement. You will find the product provides laughably paltry amounts of micronutrients, less than 5% RDA of any vitamin, in a 400 kcal "meal". If you replace even one meal a day with Ample you will run a deficiency.

There's Calorie Mate Balanced Food Block from Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company in Tokyo.[1] It's like Soylent, but in solid form, without the pretension. Popular with Japanese salarymen who eat lunch at their desks. It's such a cliche in Japan that it appears in Metal Gear Solid. Nijiya Markets, the California chain, stocks it.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Calorie-Mate-Balanced-Chocolate-Ounce...

The bay area version is called Mealsquares: http://www.mealsquares.com/

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.

That's my use case too. I've also just bought something called MealSquares, which may be serve the same purpose with the advantage of being solid food and using mostly whole foods.

I second MealSquares! I've been on their subscription for months now and don't intend to stop. I really appreciate their emphasis on full nutrition with whole foods.

I'd never again trust Soylent with my health for all their problems.

Yeah! I tried MealSquares for a while and they were great. The actual taste left something to be desired - they were quite dry - but if I wasn't into Ample I'd totally get some more.

I think you nailed it. I drink Soylent not to replace a dinner with my girlfriend, but in those times when the alternative is getting a quick burger or pizza due to lack of time, usually late in the night.

For other readers, a caution - I found Ample to be inedible, taste wise. I took a few sips of the first bottle, and didn't touch the rest of my order.

That's a really interesting experience. I personally find it to be significantly better tasting than Soylent.

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.

What about the taste was bad? Does anyone use a dairy-free milk alternative instead of water?

>what to eat when I'm hungry but I don't have enough time to prepare a full meal.

In what way is Soylent any better than a handful of almonds and a banana?

Thank you for mentioning Ample, as I hadn't heard of it before. I'm a T2 diabetic, so I've been avoiding Soylent because of the carb content. Ample looks like it's made of things I'd actually feel good about putting in my body vs the maltrodextrin/oat base of Soylent. I went ahead and ordered a 12 pack to give it a try.

Soylent does publish their GI info [1].

But if you want a low-carb product with a wide range of flavors, check KetoChow [2].

[1] https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/212769503-Glycemic...

[2] https://www.ketochow.xyz/

Is there a KetoChow equivalent in the EU?

edit: I just found this: https://www.completefoods.co/diy/recipes/keto-chow-150-maste...

How does it blow away a clif bar?

Clif bars a terrible meal replacement, they're intended to be something that you eat to fuel or replenish for/from endurance sports.

As I recall, Clif Bars are predominantly carbs and some fat. Soylent has a reasonable balance of protein and more emphasis on vitamins and minerals.

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.

My Choc Chip Clif Bar says 10 of its 65grams are protein with approx 10% of daily values of quite a few vitamins #NotADoctor

And too much protein?


"The FDA recommendation for daily protein intake is 50 grams on a 2,000-calorie diet."

That's not a maximum. The body can heathily process a few times that much a day (don't quote me on the precise number).

That's true but it also means they could be using those calories for other macronutrients instead.

Clif is ok if you are going hiking, there is a lot of sugar. Sitting in front of a computer? Not so much.

Clif Bars are roughly the same caloric and nutritional content of a standard size Snickers bar.

Except Clif Bars have like 4x the protein, which makes them a million times better for their primary purpose, which is a compact energy source during/after a workout.

Clif bars are candy, but this would be a much more interesting comparison with Quest Bars.

What's wrong with those microwavable stuff (like noodles, and others)? I mean it's not healthy, but if it's once in a while, it's cheaper and imo tastes better!

> What's wrong with those microwavable stuff?

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.)

Not all microwave dinners are beer-battered steak fries with gravy and nacho cheese. There are some that have reasonably healthy ingredients, like lean meat and actual vegetables. If you want, you can go all the way and get some that have whole grains, kale, quinoa, etc. in them.

Soy protein, maltodextrin, and canola oil blended with a multi-vitamin doesn't sound healthy. I suppose it can't be worse than the occasional discount 10-pack of Celese frozen pizza. Paired with a vitamin, of course.

> I mean it's not healthy

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.

So stopping at a groceries store to buy a fruit is not an option when you're 'rushing around'?

It is an option with trade-offs and variables (distance, hours, how busy they are)

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

Soylent is a meal replacement product. A fruit is not. Not to mention, it is indeed faster to drink the bottle you already own, rather than going to a grocery store.

>it's solved a large problem in my life: what to eat when I'm hungry but I don't have enough time to prepare a full meal.

Meal replacements is a well-defined and established category

The fact that at least 3 people in this thread have named the category "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.

While I'd generally agree with you, you can look up any "meal replacement" shakes made for athletes that are used to add calories. They contain a large amount of protein and calories and are fairly well established. MET-Rx Meal Replacement is one of the larger SKUs on the market, but there are many others.

If it has a large amount of protein, it's not an actual meal replacement -- it's a supplement.

An average meal comprised meat and rice contains a large amount of protein. It's a relacement for that. What are you talking about?

Only about 25% of your daily calorie intake should be from protein. 60g a day for a 160lb sedentary person. Those high-protein shakes are usually around 60% protein. It is possible to consume too much protein.

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.

Yeah, just like ketogenic dieting and no-carb diets are supplements.


If you're a sedentary person, and you were to drink 3 of those protein shakes per day you'd end up with 2x your recommended protein intake and only but only 1/2 your recommended calorie intake. That's not a balanced replacement. It's a protein supplement.

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.

A ketogenic or no-carb diet only works if you completely abstain from carbs. If you have one or two keto meals a day, but not every meal, you're not doing a keto diet. Just eating a ton of protein.

Can't you keep some fruits like strawberry or bananas handy?

I do! But strawberries, bananas, apples, even nuts don't feel like a full meal. I always feel oddly and uncomfortably unsaturated after eating them.

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. :))

Hehehe...I think the argument made here is perishability/storage since they spoil easy. But that brings up another point: dried fruits, nuts etc. are excellent sources of nutrition, and I would certainly prefer that over Soylent.

I don't really hate it, but I don't see Soylent as providing anything you haven't been able to get by just walking down to the local drug store and buying a bottle of Ensure or other meal replacement formula.

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...

The reason it's for old dying people is that it's a weight gain shake. It turns out old dying people have trouble eating enough food to maintain weight so it (arguably) makes sense to give them basically liquid candy to up their calorie intake.

Please walk down to the local drugstore and actually look at the nutritional labels. Than tell me they are the same.

Their initial shtick was that you could replace all meals with Soylent - an idea with appeal to SV engineers.

>meal replacement formula

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.

> For example, Ensure (the commonly cited "alternative") is a supplement - not a replacement.

This is incorrect.

Several Ensure products, including Ensure Original, can be used as a sole source of nutrition.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact