Alternative to Soylent already exists?


#1

This product has already been introduced - see here. Vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, no GMO - everything you need for complete nutrition. Not sure why anyone wants to wait for a product that might not even be as good as what is already out there, which looks pretty much perfect. What am I missing?


#2

Er… could you provide a link that does’t get blocked by my firewall as dangerous/malware? Or just the name of the product for Googling?

In any case, without actually knowing what you’ve linked, a lot of the “similar” products out there aren’t actually intended for “full” meal replacement. ie, calculating out the required volume for a full adult diet shows either a prohibitively expensive cost/meal, or a dangerous level of some components (this usually happens with products like Muscle Milk or Ensure, which aren’t really intended to be used completely on their own).

In any case, if you could provide the actual content and cost per serving of whatever your link is (or if someone else is willing to check out that site), I’m sure someone here can run the numbers and figure out how it stacks up to Soylent.


EDIT: Found it by hovering over the link and looking at the url. Zwell MealZ. here’s a link with nutritional info (second image in the view gallery). It is listed as a “supplement”, and it looks like one “serving” provides around 350 calories… so say 5 or 6 servings per day for a 2000 calorie diet. Each serving already has 800% RDA of vitamin C, 250% RDA manganese, 8000% RDA B12… just to name a few. That is going to trash your kidneys…

As for price, at 1265g (with 90g servings -> 465g daily), that’s 2.5 days per container. a 4-pack sells for around $300, according to that link.

So… 10 days for $300, with things exceeding RDA by insane amounts every day. Compared to Soylent, at around $250 for 28 days, with normal quantities that won’t shred your body’s filtration systems. (Seriously – pleasepleaseplease don’t try to live solely on this mealZ powder, you will probably die of renal failure very quickly!)

I’m sure this could be a very good supplement, but that is the difference – it is a supplement. Soylent is not – you can survive quite well with Soylent taking up anywhere from 0-100% of your food (whereas mealZ seems to intend something around a quarter of your food, as a generous estimate). Hopefully that answers your questions :smile:


#3

Hey @shadowhawkxx - thanks for the notes and analysis. And the link - I have been paying a higher price than the one you found! Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for Soylent and will read as much as I can about how it compares to mealZ, I have been tirelessly searching for this product for more than a decade.

Here is the link I was trying to share http://www.zwell.ca/general/promotion/zwell-mealz-wholefood-meal-replacement
You can find the full label here http://cloud.zwell.ca/images/stories/Product/Product%20Labels/ZwellmealZ_1265g_2012.pdf

Some thoughts re: your notes:

  1. The product is in fact a complete meal replacement. I read that they have to be careful with the words due to much higher government regulation in Canada where I buy it from, so they have to also use the word supplement. Of course, 100% supplementation is a replacement… The product has 100% of what you need to live, with the possible exception of fish oils which they say cannot be put in a powder (for obvious reasons I guess). I have used it both as part of my diet and at time as a complete diet, once for more than 30 days. I felt truly amazing.

  2. The cost is not an issue for me really but I can see that it is kinda similar to what soylent will be. Here is my math:
    1265g = 1 can = 14 complete “servings” using their language.
    1 serving = nutritional needs for 1 day (I split a “serving” in half, eating one in the am and one in pm)
    therefore 1 month = 2 cans = $147
    So if you use the denominator of needing 2 meals a day, that is $2.45 per meal to have your complete nutrition covered, and if you use 3 meals per day then the cost works out to only $1.63 per meal. Regardless, the total cost is only $4.90 per day to have 100% of your nutritional needs covered (but check my math!)

  3. in regard to the composition and dangerous levels, I completely disagree. You have to read the background - these guys are smart and have scientists and nutritionists out the ying working the formula. I learned myself a long time ago that due to “bioavailability” and other factors, humans have to eat in certain cases MANY multiples of the RDI to get what they need… without over dosing certain elements, your body will simply not have what it needs. There is also a relationship between the different ingredients which either help or limit the uptake of others. Its complicated but these guys have taken all that into account. Why otherwise put stuff in that just adds cost? There is simply a ton of science on this fact which I can refer if you want to save time.

I am eager for soylent regardless, and I think this process here is going to deliver a better product. My point is only that truly committed people don’t need to sit idle in the meantime :smiley: Anything can be improved and the soylent process is the way to do it.


#4

Its almost $100 for only 4830 calories. That ends up being about $16 per meal. Zwell is mega crappola.


#5

@jahhluv101 I am not buying the whole cost/calorie measure. Its irrelevant. You can stuff a ton of nutrition into an expensive calorie, or deliver a ton of calories with no nutritional value. Its about nutritional density, in my view. That is how I like to think about the cost / benefit.


#6

You have to have a certain amount of calories a day to survive. You can not survive on that zwell stuff alone.


#7

Calories are not mass. They aren’t a measure of “how much stuff is in my food”. Calories are energy. Your body needs nutrition to carry out life, but it also needs energy in order to keep moving

If you are really subsisting on 350 calories per day, you need to see a doctor IMMEDIATELY. I don’t care how good you feel, or what the people who make this say – you need to tell a medical professional what you are doing, and get their input (which will almost certainly be “you need to eat more than 350 calories per day”).

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon a way to truly survive on less than 1/4 a standard adult male’s normal energy requirements. But that’s why I’m suggesting that you seek medical attention from someone who won’t be wrong.

EDIT: On a further note, if you’re eating one serving per day, you’re hitting 5%RDA for fats, 15% for carbs, 25% iron, 50% calcium… this thing is not a complete day’s needs in one serving. Vitamins and minerals are not the only things food provides. It gets closer in multiple servings per day, but even then, it falls short. Seriously man, I don’t know if you’re actually trying to survive off of this, and if you truly consumed only this for a month, I have no idea how you were comfortable, but the more I read the more it becomes plainly clear that this is a really really bad idea. No amount of bio-availability is going to change the laws of thermodynamics. You put energy into your body, and you get motion and activity out. If you sit in bed sedated all day, I can see this maybe sort of working, but for any sort of activity it just is not. Look, I’m sorry, it looks like you’ve read some things about this, but it is really clear that there has either been some miscommunication or they are flat out wrong :frowning:


#8

Oh wow, two naturopaths, a doctor of Chinese medicine and a chiropractor are the “doctors” plus two nutritionists and a PE teacher (gym for the US).
These are not people to ever take health advice from unless you like holistic medicine and shark fin soup.


#9

I agree completely. I was not looking at the calorie side much because I was (at the same time) testing another idea that I became fascinated by: caloric restriction. And no, I would not recommend my total plan to anyone else, especially without a lot of doctor involvement. That said, I did have that involvement (doctors) and while nobody was that happy with what I was doing, they did support me and give advice, including the need to reduce my running program, almost double the powder consumption, add fish oil (all of which I did) and combine with plain yogurt (which I only did partly). Still, your point stands and I agree that the mealZ powder is not the same thing as soylent concept… but its the best I could find.


#10

I am agreeing with you. See my other note. Its a total tangent in this stream (maybe) but take a look at the current science on caloric restriction on lifespan, disease, energy and overall fitness. The problem with reducing calories, if you are going to do it and I was, is that you get malnourished if you don’t eat the RIGHT fewer calories. I am confounding two different goals I had here so let me clarify: I agree that the mealz powder should not be considered in the same category or delivering against the soylent project objectives, and I am not recommending using the mealz powder the way I did (although I do recommend using it the way I am using it now). My earliest comment in the thread was flippant perhaps… the point I am trying to make is we don’t have to just sit and wait, there are products out there now that deliver pretty well against the powder meal objective. If someone has a better product that is currently on the market, please let us know. I will be the first to check it out. I was trying to get below 1000 calories and not be malnourished. This product delivered that. The %RDA on the label is for a 2000 cal daily requirement, btw.


#11

No, this is a supplement at best. They never call themselves a complete replacement and even a basic knowledge of nutrition shows that this isn’t enough to replace a significant portion of the average persons diet. 1 “serving” doesn’t equal one days nutrition either, as you said. Their instructions equate one serving to be one meal, which means that instead of $150 a month for 2 cans, it’s $450 for 6 and you’re still way off from a safe diet.
The most you could safely do with this is replace A meal a day and make sure you’re getting quality nutrition for the other meal/s to make up the difference. This is barely any more nutritious than the equivalent amount of Milo would be, the most it actually gives is a few vitamins that you could just as easily get from a pill.


#12

Nutriguy’s posts appear to be spam and are promotional in nature - came out of nowhere, raved about a product that he claims is superior, linked to it specifically, and make backhanded negative comments about Soylent. It doesn’t make sense for him to come to this forum if his sentiments are true.

If anyone else has the impression the posts linking to the product are spam or promotional in nature, please flag accordingly.


#13

To be honest that was an initial concern of mine as well, but if you continue reading the thread, you’ll see that he responds with legitimate discussion, and voices an opinion of Soylent as a superior product once it is released – very not-spam :wink:


As to the restricted-calorie thing… I can’t say I know a lot about that, but just from a common-sense standpoint 350 seems really low. Good to hear you’ve involved doctors in the process, and I’d definitely agree with increasing the portions, and adding yogurt/etc. Around/just under 1000 calories may be possible, but below 500 sounds risky, especially if you’re combining it with exercise (if the body is trying to repair muscle from exercise, it needs things to build with)


#14

Sophisticated marketers jump in discussion forums and pose as regular users to generate backlinks thereby increasing search engine ranking. It’s necessary to try to blend in and change up the content posted in the forums, otherwise the algorithms will ding the links posted in forums. This is why many high-traffic forums explicitly prohibit the linking to any commercial website. Nutriguy’s post is a perfect example of what this type of spam looks like. Does flagging sometimes remove legitimate posts? Yes, but rarely., However, it is necessary to maintain the integrity of the forum. The best policy I’ve seen in practice is prohibiting links to commercial websites as a rule, coupled with a good moderator community that acts quickly to remove them.

Also, speaking in favor of a product or not has zero impact the primary goal of forum spam - backlinks and improved search engine ranking.


#15

To clarify again (I hope!) I am absolutely supportive of the Soylent initiative. Further, my goals at the time (weight, fitness) were somewhat different than my goals now (simplicity / convenience in getting full nutrition). The cost side is not my issue, but of course we will all benefit from a few extra dollars in our pocket. I did not want to waste time with the backstory, so my first notes left out information. I did not mean to be promotional… this is just something I am very passionate about.

I liked the point about calories being energy not mass… so important to make that distinction. Taking it a step further, I began to see mass as stored energy, meaning your body will take that calorie out of storage if your diet is not providing it. The math I used was that a pound of body mass equals about 3500 calories. So, if you lose 14 pounds in a month (as I did) that equals 1633 calories of “calorie deficiency” per day (based on my exercise level, which was significant) that was not in the food I was eating (as pointed out in the “get a doctor!” comments), and that therefore had to come from stored energy - mainly fat.

At the end of the month I ran the Miami half marathon. I ran it in a very respectable time for my class, and it was also my personal best time for that distance. So, clearly I was healthy despite the calorie reduction. Why? Because our bodies have a big buffer of stored energy (but not nutrition, and that was my key point really - I was going for nutrition while reducing calories because my doctors told me that is the key issue to deal with given what I was doing).

Now I am interested in both nutrition and energy and keeping it all stable through time, and that is why I am keen about the Soylent project. I hope this helps! I don’t know what the comments about backlinks means, but I did not mean to promote any specific product. I have tried many and I was pointing to my own current favorite.


#16

@nutriguy: I get that you consider this product useful in the context of calorie restriction. However, to do Soylent (or any product) justice, you should compare everything on equal footing.

If you want easy meals while on calorie restriction, compare Zwell Mealz with 1/6 a Soylent portion (daily portion, not meal). This way, Soylent is way cheaper and according to above posts both do not contain enough micro-nutrients. This last point is debatable, as nutrients requirements are oft defined per 2000 kcal.

Further, I believe you should have begun by stating you consider Zwell Mealz useful in the context of calorie restriction. Most of this thread would not have happened if you did. This forum sees a lot of “Soylent is a ripoff” posts, so unless the author is crystal clear why their product is better than Soylent, we will assume it does not hold up as a 2000 kcal diet. Zwell Mealz does not.

I could agree that Zwell Mealz is a viable option for doing calorie restriction, but that is another discussion destined for another forum.

But I see you are new here! Welcome to this community!


#17

Thanks Rick. Yes - exactly. My first note in the thread mixed two different diet objectives and the net of that was the rest of the discussion. Which I found very helpful, by the way! Also - I do not have the financial requirement that is core to soylent… I really don’t care how much it costs, because if you look at the food we eat today, it is so horribly deficient that ALL the money we spend there is basically wasted. That is the real comparison - food today has 1/4 to 1/6 the nutrient density of the exact same food 100 years ago. Meat, dairy, grains, fruit - industrial farming has depleted it all.


#18

@grantadevine I find this comment quite dismissive and a bit offensive. Does everyone involved in this project need to be a doctor to be a smart, capable contributor to the cause? What the hell is a doctor these days, anyway? I googled the chinese medicine woman, for example, and this is what I found (and you would have found if you took the time to check instead of attack) -

  1. Ph.D. Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto
  2. Professor at Shandong University
  3. Second Ph.D TCM at Shandong University (which if you google it, is the epicentre of science for traditional chinese medicine - which is just food, by the way…)
  4. Guest Lecturer for TCM at the University of Vienna
  5. etc etc

Then I looked at the ND guy Dr. Laux and found his bio

  1. Licensed Naturopathic Physician, National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM)
  2. Leading educator and respected pioneer to the Natural Products industry for three decades
  3. Currently, Dr Laux can be seen weekly on Healing Quest, the long running PBS TV series where he presents his Natural Medicine Update
  4. Regular appearances as a natural health and medical expert on CNN, PBS, BBC, CTV, and Fox News
  5. Host of live network TV series for Granada TV in Europe - The Natural Health Show, plus Hollywood Health segments aired on Europe’s all-time highest rated morning show, This Morning, and host of daily news segment “Wellness Watch with Dr Marcus Laux” across Canada

I don’t need to do the rest but maybe you should. It looks like they are capable, committed health experts to me.

I understand bogus names against bogus crap online. Google the rest of the zwell people … you will see they are actually legit, high credential people trying to do something good. Why not support them instead of attack their credentials without first checking the facts?


#19

One of the corollaries to the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon is that those who lack information on a specialized topic are also poor at evaluating information sources regarding that topic.


#20

Traditional Chinese Medicine covers things like acupuncture, herbal medicine and cupping as well as food therapy which is what I assume you meant by it being just food.
Chinese food therapy is a belief in the healing power of ‘natural’ foods instead of or in addition to medication.
“As an example, if one had a cold, or felt he was about to get a cold, he would not want to eat any “cold” foods such as a lemon, melon or cucumber.” -wikipedia
I can see she has degrees in biology and medical sciences but she uses those primarily to provide evidence for the efficacy of TDM.

I’m not going to mention DR Laux because I don’t know how to show that naturopathy isn’t real without being condescending or going on forever.
On a side note though, his bio says his school/class (wording is unlear) was headed by former physician to the Queen, Trevor Cook MD. But I couldn’t find any mention of a Trevor Cook MD at all, in relation to the Queen or anywhere, his name only appeared on this and one other naturopathy school website.

Oh, and people who frequent professionals in either field have been less likely to get themselves or their children vaccinated, leading to higher rates of preventable disease contraction among them.

And I’m not saying these people are idiots, I’m not saying they have nothing to contribute to nutrition. I brought up their backgrounds after Shadowhawkxx told you [quote=“shadowhawkxx, post:2, topic:10181”]
Each serving already has 800% RDA of vitamin C, 250% RDA manganese, 8000% RDA B12[/quote]
Then in your next post you said you completely disagreed[quote=“nutriguy, post:3, topic:10181”]
You have to read the background - these guys are smart and have scientists and nutritionists out the ying working the formula
[/quote]
My point (if made dismissively) was that these people are not the kind of experts that you can say, "oh, they’re somehow involved in the company that makes this supplement drink, I can ignore any evidence to the contrary because they must know what they’re doing because they’re ND’s"
The Zwell meal thing doesn’t even claim these people were associated with the meal, only that those people are “trusted advisors”, advisor meaning that Zwell can completely ignore their input and still say that they were advised by them.