Are grain derivatives blocking nutrient uptake?


I’ve read a few articles, but none from experts, about grains blocking nutrient absorption. Some of the ingredients in soylent appear to be grain derivates, and I’m just wondering if there’s any way to get the same amount of calories by other means?

The posters talk about better mood and heightened energy but it’s all anecdotal and what biological evidence they offer is limited and often un-sourced. I’m not arguing against grains, just wondering if anyone has studies for or against their incorporation in a human diet? The articles I read suggested humans haven’t been consuming grains for very long and that they’re an inefficient source of energy. However they’re at the base level of the food pyramid and the easiest means to get daily calories, so even if they are causing dietary drawbacks, what could possibly replace them?


You’re actually jumping into an ongoing discussion on this board concerning this issue. Grains (and also nuts and legumes) contain a substance called phytic acid, which binds to and prevents the absorption of various minerals. The official soylent formula includes oats, which have an especially large amount of phytic acid. Search “phytic acid” if you want to read what’s been said on the issue before.

A summary of what has been said is that there is no consensus regarding whether and to what extent phytic acid is an issue, and there are various things one can do to reduce the phytic acid content of one’s ingredients, which may or may not be effective. Basically we don’t know.


Also, the official Soylent seems to use oats that do not have phytic acid.


@ruipacheco: I heard some talk of the copacker being capable of doing this; did the soylent folks confirm that they’re going to do it?


Seems like the natural course of action, but you should ask @JulioMiles.


@JulioMiles: Is Soylent going to use oats which are processed to remove phytic acid? Thanks!


Phytic acid is not directly harmful. In fact there is evidence it is an effective antioxidant. The concern is it can bind to other minerals, hurting absorption. The minerals in soylent are themselves bound to bioavailable carriers. Given this and the relatively low amount of phytic acid in comparison to the amount of essential minerals, and data that a mol of phytic acid can only bind 1-2 mol calcium (phytic acid has much higher molar mass) I do not think this is much of a concern, though it is worth testing further.

If it does end up being an issue the oats can be processed to reduce the phytic acid content, though this would add to the cost. Eventually we would like to replace the oats with a single ingredient / chemical per nutrient blend which would eliminate the issue.


You mean a low GI, slow release “chemical”?


Yes of course, the main carbohydrate in oat flour is amylopectin

Strictly speaking it is not a chemical, as the composition varies, but this or something like this with long, branched chains of glucose should make a good carbohydrate source. For now oat flour should do.


There are a lot of ways to remediate phytic acid content – the most common one in the livestock feed industry is just to add phytase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down phytic acid in germinating seeds.