Carnation Breakfast Essentials vs Soylent


Has anyone ever tried Carnation Breakfast Essentials? The label describes it as a “Complete Nutritional Drink,” and I’m curious how it compares to Soylent in terms of nutritional requirements met. Here is the Nutritional Breakdown:

What does Soylent contain that this product is lacking?


Let’s see. This is going off the top of my head, so don’t rely on this.

  • There’s a severe lack of fat: There’s hardly any in it. Let alone omega 3.
  • They don’t list if the protein is any good. I’m going to assume it’s some form of milk powder, which is not too bad.

Most of their nutrients are at 25%, so let’s say you take 4 servings and get 100%. You’ll then have too little:

  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iodin
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Fiber
  • Protein
    You could increase the intake, but then you’d get high values on some of the micros.
    It does look like it’s meant to be drank with their “fat-free vitA&D drink”, which does improve the situation a bit.

Then there’s stuff not listed at all:

  • Fluor
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Selenium
  • Chloride
  • Sulfur
  • Choline

Finally, if you just go with 100% RDA, your micronutrient ratios are going to be off, specifically Calcium : Phosphorous. And you can’t simply increase Calcium either, since that will throw your Calcium : Magnesium out of whack.

But on the whole, they’ve actually not done too bad! Add in some fats and you’ve got a reasonable starting point for a DIY Soylent.


I took a look at the Ready-to-drink bottles and they’re a little more complete than the powder+milk. Still missing everything that’s not listed, fat’s still low, and you’d be over on a few vitamins. When you look at the price, even in bulk, it appears to be $4/bottle, 4/day, so $16/day.

Edit: That price and analysis is only for the pre-made drinks. What @Brad linked to was the powder version, which is much cheaper, and @Mqrius analyzed.

But I agree with @Mqrius, it’s a pretty good starting point, and while you can’t tweak the recipe, it’s got a lot of good nutrition in there. For what it’s marketed to be (Breakfast replacement), I’d say it’s doing a pretty good job of getting at least some nutrients that most people miss (30% magnesium in 1 bottle is great).


Thanks for the replies. Yeah I’m using the power version with 2% milk, so the fat is a little higher. I think for the price per drink and since I’m only using it once per day, it will do until my Soylent gets here.


I think there’s a lot of good ideas that our community hasn’t tapped when it comes to premade mixes like Breakfast Essentials.

I’m doing something similar with Vi-Shape by Visalus. The situation is almost the same; no fat, some missing nutrients, not fully-known protein profile, but it provides a great foundation for a DIY recipe.

My current recipe is here: I drink it for breakfast/lunch; the recipe gives me a calorie and nutrient buffer for having normal food for dinner. I think an approach like that helps mitigate the cost issues with some of these “premixed foundation” style recipes.


I used the chocolate Carnation stuff with unsweetened almond milk as the base for my diy. Took a lot of time to try to calculate what else I needed to supplement and there was a lot of prep work. I’ve since given up on that and am awaiting my shipment of the official stuff.