A Simple "Sometimes" Formula (feedback, please!)


I posted about this on the reddit but haven’t gotten much in the way of feedback so I thought I’d try here. I’ve been working towards a formula that has as few ingredients as possible (for piece of mind as well as ease of getting into it/buying stuff) to be used as a sometimes meal, maybe once a day. As such, it’s less important to me that it be 100% nutritionally complete as more just in-the-ballpark… So my ingredients list is somewhere between 5-7 multi-purpose products and I’m having some trouble understanding the way the nutritional facts are laid out.

Here’s my spreadsheet.

The third page has all of the nutritional facts on it, as faithfully rendered as the available nutrition facts will allow, expressed in terms of a single serving. On the first and second page are calculators for working on different formulas: one for me and one for my partner. The second row on those two pages are the “independent variables” so to speak, and allow us to toy with potential mixtures and see what the nutrition looks like for the complete substance.

So I have some questions:

  • On the fourth page of my spreadsheet I break down each of the substances’ nutritions by grams, then I add them up and compare them with the advertised serving size. Now, I know that the figures are rounded, and that there will be some amount of unknown/unexplained content, but some of these figures are significantly off. Potassium Gluconate has only ~20% of its mass accounted for on the label! What gives? Is there a place I can find 100% guaranteed complete lists of the nutrition in these foods?
  • Similarly, the DRIs I’m finding are recommending a lot of Linoleic and alpha-Linolenic acids (Omega-6 and 3) but I haven’t seen any actual quantified amounts on any nutrition labels. Is there some place I can find out the mass per serving of these substances?
  • Does Lecithin really contain that much phosphorus? Phosphorus is only listed on some of the web pages that I’m reading (which is very confusing).
  • Mr. Rhinehart talked about have blood-work done once a month during his experiment with soylent, have any of y’all done that? I was wondering if we wanted to do that what blood tests we should have done, and what should we look for in those results (before as well as after)?
  • Any other feedback or corrections would be very kindly received!

Thanks so much!


Do not use soy lecithin as your primary fat source.

  • Yes, soy lecithin granules have a significant amount of phosphorus, but unfortunately I don’t have a good source for the exact amount. Granules are generally 95-99% phospholipids, each of which has a single phosphorus atom. Based on the molar masses I can find, it looks like about 25-40mg of phosphorus per 1g of soy lecithin granules, depending on the particular phospholipids. Your numbers look about right.
  • Soy lecithin typically has a large amount of choline in the form of phosphatidylcholine, (~450mg of choline per 15g per Wikipedia, which jibes with the molar masses). AI is 425-550mg, UL is 3500mg. 85g of soy lecithin ~= 2550mg of choline.

Also, you are missing a lot of minerals that are included in flax seed, and your other macros seem to be missing their vitamin and mineral content as well. As a general rule, make sure to carefully research the vitamin and mineral content of your macro-nutrient sources–you will be consuming a lot of grams of them, so even small amounts of micro-nutrients per gram can add up. The USDA National Nutrient Database is generally a good source for things like that (though not for soy lecithin, sadly).

The basic approach is not bad though. The components of my mix are similar–whey protein, oat flour, olive and coconut oils, flax seed for the main macros, plus a multivitamin and a few other add-ons for the remaining micros and to fill gaps. Take it slow, research carefully, and be very cautious about large amounts of unfamiliar ingredients, or familiar ingredients whose amounts seem excessive.

Edited to clarify the choline composition


Here is another reference phosphorous in soy lecithin,
the value here falls within the range you typed out and this source has the value listed if you buy this brand.


Awesome, thanks for the advice!

I wasn’t even tracking Choline, thank you for pointing it out.

I swapped over where I could to trusting the USDA website and got all of the data in there, but there doesn’t appear to be any data on Whey Iso more complete than what is written on the label. I can’t find anything on the trace elements in whey iso on the USDA site, nor on the internet at large. Do you know where I could find that information?

I swapped oat powder for oat flower, they’re basically the same things, right?

Unfortunately, removing lecithin means I don’t have anywhere near enough calories. This is a little confusing; if I have more than 100% of my recommended daily intake of carbohydrates, fat and protein, where else can I pick up calories? On the labels I’m seeing, those are the three sources to which calories are attributable.

Also, I still have basically no cholesterol. Is that OK, and if not, where can I get it?

The formula so far:

  • 1 scoop maltodextrin
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 2 scoops whey isolate
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons potassium gluconate
  • +1 multivitamin

Thanks everyone!


Welcome to the great macronutrient war. :smiley:

Opinions currently differ on how to split up your calories. The US Dietary Reference Intake says 20-35% of calories should be from fat. For a 2400 calorie diet, that would be 480-840 calories from fat, or 53-93g of fat. The remainder would come from protein and carbohydrates. The recommendation for protein is 0.8g / kg of body weight, so if you weigh 70kg/154lbs, 56g would be the recommended amount. 56g of protein is 224 kcal, so that leaves 1336-1696 kcal from carbohydrates, or 334-424g.

To those in the low-carb camp, that amount of carbohydrate is absurdly and dangerously high, and they would generally recommend keeping carbs per day at a much lower level (50g-150g per day seems typical), with the remainder coming from protein and fat, so you would adjust the numbers accordingly.

Finally, the amount of protein you need is in dispute as well, with various groups recommending higher or lower levels both depending on your goals and for other reasons.

Who is right? Beats me, but I suspect that the ideal amounts can vary considerably from person to person. So instead of good advice, I’ll give safe (for me at least) advice: Unless one of your goals is to change the macronutrient balance of your diet (in which case you should already have an opinion), figure out what your current intake is now, make sure those numbers don’t look terrible, and adjust your recipe to fit. You can always change the proportion of your macros later (which is much easier with DIY Soylent than with most normal diets).

As for the other questions:

  • Oat flour is ground oats (usually with most of the bran removed). I’m not sure how oat powder would differ, except maybe a finer grind. What I do know is that “oat flour” is easier for me to find, but it also takes some time to hydrate, otherwise the texture of the resulting drink is grainy.

  • Use the most complete and specific nutrition information you can find. For some foods (especially supplements or supplemented food), this will be the label rather than the nutrition database. You can also try asking the manufacturer for more complete information if neither seems adequate (or switch to a brand with more complete labeling…).

  • My understanding is that the body can synthesize all the cholesterol it needs, so additional dietary intake is unnecessary. This appears to be the consensus view at the moment, and so the RDA is intended as a maximum rather than a minimum.


Fantastic! Thank you so much for taking me on a tour of the controversy and answering my questions; you’re a life-saver! The key part I was missing was the calorie to mass conversion for the macro-nutrients. With that in place I’ve got a pretty good formula nailed down, at least as a starting point.

  • 3 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 scoops whey Isolate
  • 1 scoop maltodextrin
  • ½ teaspon salt
  • 3 tablespoons potassium gluconate (just for me, medical reasons)
  • A multivitamin (taken without grinding it or anything)

It turns out I didn’t need a specific source for fat because the flaxseed and the oat flour took care or it themselves, so no oil now. I’m also considering skipping the malto in favor of some good old fashioned cane sugar, I’ll see if that works. The macros shake out to 50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein, something of a middle-ground in the controversy, I hope.

The only remaining worry point is the magnesium, which has a UL of 350 mg and this formula has 1,105 mg. The information I’ve found is very specific that the UL only applies to magnesium in supplements, which would not include the oat flour or flaxseed which contribute ~950mg by themselves. Please correct me if I’m wrong about that

Again, thanks so much mathfarmer, you have been awesome and helpful! <3