Ars Technica reviews Soylent



Well, is currently reviewing is probably more accurate. The author is starting to take it on Tuesday August 27th and will post updates every day for a week.


Yep, I’ve had my breakfast and lunch portions and I’ll tackle dinner in a few more hours, and that’ll be day 1. Will be posting an update each evening on the Ars front page talking about how I feel and how the day’s serving of Soylent went down.


Link it here please? Replies to this thread will create nice little notifications whenever I visit the forum. Ars posts a little too much to add to my RSS reader. And I’m lazy.

Edit: I apologize for any insult I may have implied by explaining how discourse works. I just found this post on meta and discovered that you have a fair amount of experience with the platform.


Maybe not that lazy.


Yeah, even the DIY forms are generally nasty warm.

Except the “real food sourced” ones which are more like a wierd soup.



Wow. Any idea why he is having that bad of a reaction? What else could he be doing to improve things?


Sounds like what I experienced with my first recipe and recently when I adjusted my recipe to be more in line with Rob’s.
The main difference was the amount of maltodextrin, reducing it seemed to help a lot. Soluble fiber didn’t help, more water and/or smaller/more servings didn’t help. Made my stomach feel fucked and made me wish I was asleep and/or not alive any more. Subbing out a bunch of maltodextrin for oat bran, as much as I could without getting too much manganese, seemed to do the trick (or maybe it was the added insoluble fiber in the oat bran?). But I understand Rob’s already using oat powder, so that might not be it at all.


Day 2 is definitely not as good as it could be.


I believe stuffing yourself on Soylent is a sure way to ruin the experience.

If you have a short line to the team, @Lee_Ars, you should ask if it could hurt to not finish your daily portion. You did not overeat before Soylent, why would you start overeating while on Soylent?

For everyone else this might be a dealbreaker, if left unfixed*: either overeat Soylent to get you micronutrients, or eat the right amount and be low on micronutrients. It is a ‘lesser of to evils’ question, I suppose.

*: Possible fixes for the team: up the amount of micros and define a minimum comsumption amount that fulfills all RDIs, or seperate micros and macros: this way anyone can consume from 1200 to 4000 calories a day, and still get one “dose” of the micronutrients.


As much as I want the ease of single meal packets, I do think I’ll have a similiar overly-satiated problem, and suspect that the seperation of micro and macro may be the only easy resolution.

edit: seperate related thread -


@Lee_Ars Are you sure one week is enough for the review? Given the feedback from others who started on Soylent you’ll only be experiencing the unpleasant introductory period, completely missing out on when the apparent fun starts.


I don’t see what the problem is with not finishing the daily portion. A “day” of Soylent doesn’t have to mean “between waking and sleeping”. It could be 1.3 calendar days sometimes, and it’s not going to kill us. I’m assuming that we’ll get cravings if we’re not drinking enough of it.


So, to address a few of the questions—

Yes, I’ve been in contact with @rob and @JulioMiles on quantity and fullness, and they’ve both given me the clear to back off a bit on consuming an entire bag of Soylent. This is a relief. I have a mostly sedentary lifestyle (I work from home and write all day, then run in the evenings when it’s not too hot…which in Houston is rare), and 1800-2000 kcals is a lot more in line wth my daily burn than 2400. Starting with today, I’ll be Soylenting only when hungry, versus on a schedule.

The primary worry I had with not finishing a whole bag was that the nutrients are all mixed in, so 1 bag == 100% of the daily nutrition I “need”. However, the official word from the Soylent crew is that if you’re consuming Soylent, you should listen to what your body is telling you and eat it when you want, in the quantity that you want.

@ruipacheco - I agree that week isn’t enough for more than a brief introduction to Soylent, but I didn’t want to take a month of beta tester Soylent from folks who are actually involved in getting the product ready for release. I’ve got my own paid month’s supply on order for delivery by the end of the year, and once that arrives I can do some follow-up stuff.


That’s very noble of you but I suspect your review is going to boil down to “Soylent made my tummy hurt”.


See this post for my suggestion on separating micros and macros.


Well, if 2400 kcal of Soylent contains exactly 100% of the micronutrients, you would be short in micronutrients if you do not finish a daily portion every day…
But since Rob gave Lee_Ars the greenlight to consume less, Soylent is either over the target for most micros or the micro requirement is dependend on total food intake. Could you shed some light on this, @rob?


Heheh, unfortunately I think they just made a quick decision on the assumption that drinking less was safe, regardless of whether or not it was the best answer.

I’ve been pounding the forums for weeks trying to get some response about establishing per pound nutrient needs since two individuals of the same fitness at different weights would have different micronutrient needs as well as different macronutrient needs.

Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they’ve addressed the micronutrient portion of this problem. It seems like instead, they attempted to establish a one-size fits all micro and macro nutrient content, which is probably not a viable long-term solution.

I look forward to hearing from Rob.


We might be well to keep in mind that the recommended portion of nutrients is a rough estimate and also an average. There can be great differences in individual biochemistry that affect the quantity required. People vary in size and weight (do you imagine a 350lb football player and a 120lb person have the same needs, and I don’t mean calories?), but also in how efficiently they metabolize, what their hormone and endocrine levels are, and so on. It’s also not the case that you have the same requirements every day. There is no magic perfect number for everyone across all imaginable circumstances.

I assume that the average somewhat over-estimates the arithmetic mean because a little extra is not harmful, but not enough is harmful over time.