Children and Soylent


#1

Well, that’s a topic title that’ll certainly get Soylent critics angry. “THEY WANT TO POISON THE CHILDREN TOO!?!” But I think it’s a likely future for the product, and should be considered early, as such.

What changes in the nutritional profile of Soylent would be necessary for it to be ideal for children, and perhaps more importantly, how much would that profile have to change throughout the growing process, and would it be affected simply by age, or by rate of maturity?

Since one of the goals with this project is to attempt to solve world hunger, eventually that means children will need to be part of the user-base. The issue is that with children, I think testing to find the ideal quantities will be a bit more difficult than it has been with adults, due to lack of previous research, and also a lack of volunteer testers as we have with the current version of Soylent.

Anyone got any good ideas as to where one would have to begin on this, and any other major issues that may come up?


#2

There, needed to get that out of the way.


#3

I’ve wondered about this too (I have two young children). While I think there may be a way to get there, there are a few hurdles such as:

  1. Teaching good habits with “regular” food. This is where the rabid foodies may have a point, to a degree. Helping build understanding and habits of doing food the old-fashioned way has a value, much like learning to write using a pencil. Going straight to convenience and tailored nutrition cuts out the understanding that comes from kids helping learn to cook, whatever flakes of knowledge might soak into their spongy little brains from the pain in the ass discussions about eating their vegetables, and the intangibles that come from sitting down at a dinner table to share a meal (which I guess isn’t near as prevalent these days, so maybe this is less relevant to some families).

  2. Nutrition for kids is more complex than even nutrition for adults from what research I’ve done. If you think the flames that have scorched many internet fora about the topic of using soylent and Soylent as meal replacements, add in the emotional component of feeding it to “The Children” and who knows if you’ll ever be able to sort the signal from the noise.

The most direct route to this might be some sort of drink packet (like juice boxes) where it is sold as a healthy alternative to loading up kids with sugar water. Not sure going the meal replacement route would work initially. That said, I’ll be sharing sips of mine with my kids and see how they react.


#4

Your first point is definitely a point that needn’t be forgotten, particularly the good effects of family meals. However, I see family meals as one of those “recreation meals” that Soylent isn’t trying to replace. I see it as a way of ensuring that children have a balanced diet, and certainly could end up being better than some of the sack lunches I ate as a child, or the cereal breakfasts I had almost every day.


#5

I wonder if you could have an evening a week where you cook “conventional” food, properly, from proper ingredients. Involve the children in the shopping, preparing and cooking process, explaining why pre-processed foods are not good for you and how being able to cook properly, with fresh ingredients and with an eye towards nutrition is a good skill to have etc…

Disclaimer: I don’t have kids, so don’t really know how to corral them, get them to do things you want them to and so on.


#6

Not necessarily. Whenever me or my brothers would snub food, my dad would say “More for me”. This could be the inverse; if the adults are eating soylent, that means their existing supplies of food can go towards the children.

Whether soylent for kids is good or not is complex. Messing up nutrition as a kid can have long-lasting effects… which means that both the risks and benefits of soylent nutrition are more pronounced. Learning good eating habits is a good point… but how many kids are learning bad eating habits instead? Maybe when soylent becomes more common, balancing soylent meals with normal food will be part of good eating habits.

I think a soylent-for-kids could have its place, but I don’t think a soylent-exclusive diet is the proper way to go about it.


#7

[quote=“Mystify, post:6, topic:13397”]I think a soylent-for-kids could have its place, but I don’t think a soylent-exclusive diet is the proper way to go about it.
[/quote]
I’d absolutely second this. My gut feeling is that a soylent breakfast and whole two-other-meals, at most, is the way to go. That’s because the usual breakfast foods are either very time-consuming to prepare (cooked breakfast) or about 50% sugar (many cereals), so there’s pretty much sure to be no nutritional loss from replacing the breakfast.

I also suspect that teaching the gut how to deal with solid food, and teaching the mouth to chew, is not something that we want children to miss out on.


#8

My hunch is that, given how many kids head off to school without any breakfast at all (or grab donuts & coke from the vending machines…) that a bottle of Soylent sent along with them could only be a good thing. Same goes for lunch for many kids frankly. Dinner, well that’s a whole other story. If they have a household that will feed them well, then sure they should take advantage of that. Where that’s not the case… I still bet Soylent would be better than starving or eating whatever they can get from 7-11.


#9

This is where I think Soylent is REALLY going to change the world, starting early with kids, watch this entire series, it’s a bit shocking.

The really interesting part was the behavioural changes they observed in the kids when Jamie Oliver started getting the parents to cook healthier meals for their kids…


#10

Considering how difficult it is to get your kids to eat, I tend to think having a perfect meal replacement is nothing but positive. Half the kids want to live off of mac-and-cheese and the other half want to live off of cereal. Meals are not “shared experiences” but instead ongoing battles to get your kids to eat remotely healthy. Giving my kids a glass full of dinner and letting them play Minecraft at least means they will eat healthy if nothing else (frustration speaking)

I have a house full of VERY picky eaters who I think would love Soylent. If I could convince my wife, I suspect we’d get back two hours a day (prep, eating, cleaning) if I could feed them Soylent breakfast and dinner


#11

There are a few things of interest here.

First, it’s interesting to note that we come into this world only able to survive from liquid food - our mothers milk, or more recent times, formula.

Now the adults have their own formula, Soylent, and are thinking about designing Soylent Jr, so little johnny can move from the nipple to the flask, without even having to figure out what a knife and fork are for.

In the meantime, teething.

Here’s where I think it gets interesting

We still don’t know what the long term effects are on things like teeth. What’s the implications of a young child never seriously using thier teeth.

I personally think that whilst it might be good for nutrition there are some other things we need to consider here.

Maybe soylent should be something that’s for early teens and up only, a sort of right of passage into adulthood.


#12

Yeah, this is why personally I think it might make sense in the future for kids to transition from formula, to Soylent for nutrition and development, and then to conventional food when the individual child is ready, rather than make it the battle that it so often is with small children. I would suspect that by 3 or 4 most kids would probably just plain want what they see their parents having (assuming the parents aren’t 100% Soylent of course), and then there would be no fighting to get them to eat, but instead satisfying their own curiosity and desire to “be like the grownups”.

Still, a “kid formula” intuitively makes sense to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the future.


#13

You would first have to convince me that real food isn’t needed for proper development, especially in regards to their digestive system.


#14

Now I’m thinking what it would be like for teeth to become a vestigial organ.


#15

When was the last time you saw little green/grey men with teeth? :wink:


#16

I don’t have kids but I’m a bit concerned about feeding them Soylent 24/7. However, I see nothing potentially wrong with substituting chocolate milk with Soylent (might have to work on the flavor).

I agree with many people here, that childhood should be a time of exploring the omnivore nature of human nutrition. Feeding kids one thing can often lead to adults who eat only one thing. I also have wonders about what happens with teething (first and second set of teeth).

But then, I have the same feeling about any parents that foist their nutritional fads on their kids.

Eve


#17

I think prior to children being on Soylent for a majority of meals, I’d want to see Soylent 1.0 in use by the general public for a couple years first. The issue is I think we’re sort of all beta testing the product as it could be missing things we really don’t know about. A couple years out in the wild with a few thousand people living on it should work out any kinks.


#18

@vanclute You are competently correct. As I am in highschool I can say that we do indeed eat basically either toast or nothing for breakfast. Shit-school food for lunch. For dinner, for me anyway is fairly decent.


#19

Hah yeah I kinda figured not much had changed since I was in high school :wink: I was always a breakfast kid. That was like my one meal sometimes. But I watched most of the rest of the school line up in the morning to buy powdered or chocolate donuts (the pre-packaged mini ones) and a coke, then the same or maybe a slice of nasty looking pizza at lunch.

Can’t imagine how Soylent would be a step down from that.


#20

Neither can I, I absolutely cannot stomach school food anymore (we’re supposed to be getting a fancy kitchen sometime). The last time I ate school food was around October? I had a slice of pizza and I managed to only take two bites before throwing it away in disgust.