Hi, I’m an obesity researcher with a background in nutritional science and I noticed a couple of mistakes in the “Two Months of Soylent” and “What’s In Soylent” posts that I thought needed addressing.
“Extras not considered essential:Omega-3 Fatty Acids(750mg)”:
Omega-3 fatty Acids (FA) are indeed essential, as we cannot synthesize them and omega-3 deficiencies may result in neural, dermal and psychological dysfunction, as well as increased risk of cardiovascular disease and birth defects. I thought this was important to point out, as I have noticed many DIY soylenters have not included omega-3 in their diets. The best omega-3 oils to use are fish oils, as plant based oils, such as flax, must be converted to DHA and EPA and the conversion step is competively inhibited by other the essential FA, linoleic acid, an omega-6 FA. Additionally, I am worried that the use of olive oil as the sole source of FA’s may result in an imbalance of FA (FA composition varies between each brand of olive oil) and I would encourage you to use a combination of plant oils, such as safflower and peanut. Omega-6 and omega-3 FA should be in a ratio between 6:1 and 4:1. to avoid excess arachodonic acid and the associated inflammatory effects.
"Calorie restriction for longevity"
Although the idea that calorie restriction (CR) has numerous health benefits and could possibly extend your lifespan (it does in rats and yeast, but no one is sure about humans) is party true, recent evidence has shown that most, if not all the benefits of CR are due to decreased insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF-1). The decreased IGF-1 levels associated with CR are actually independent of caloric intake and are a result of the incidental decrease in protein intake inherent in CR diets. This is one of the reasons I think soylent is such a great idea, as soylent would allow you to maintain a caloricly and nutritionally robust diet, while reducing protein intake and therefore IGF-1 levels, allowing you the health benifits of a CR diet, without all of the unwanted effects. An ideal protein intake would be 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, so a 150lb person (68kg) would need 54g of protein.
“my protein intake was too low”:
This is related to my above point, but 102g of protein, although not harmful, is not necessary and 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight is optimal for cardiovascular health. You have stated that you weight lift and run, so 0.9 g/kg of protein may be more suitable for your needs, but unless you are an elite athlete or recovering from trauma (like 3rd degree burns), anything more than 1.0kg is not necessary and may limit the health benefits of your diet.
It is just my opinion, but I would encourage you to drink something like the “Super red” and “super green” powders, (like the ones you can buy at trader joes for $20) at least a few times per week. I am worried that you are lacking in many phytonutrients and flavanoids, such as anthocyanins, catechins, tannins, diindolylmethane and resveratrol, among others. Although you are no longer ingesting the toxins inherent in the common American diet, you are still breathing the toxins in the air and drinking the toxins in the water (not to mention whatever impurities in the minerals your diet is composed of) and no one really knows how important these phytochemicals really are for cellular health. Also, there are many known and unknown chemicals in foods, that have altered physiological functions depending on whether they were ingested as as purified form or in a whole food and you may want to supplement the soylent with a bit of organically biosynthesised vitamin nutrients.
Great job Rob! Keep it up and keep improving!