Discussing soylent with friends


I find universally these things come up with everyone:

Wow that stuff is expensive!

  • I point out that it works out to about 3.33-6.67$ a day depending on how often I eat it.
    • Based on my current order of 7 bags for 70$, it gets better in larger orders :smile:
  • Since i don’t cook I spend typically 7-10$ a meal.

Wow thats a lot of (sodium/carbs)! [looking at the stats on a pouch]

  • I reiterate its enough for a day not a single meal!!

Don’t you miss food?

  • I start by pointing out that it is food.
  • I then point out that i still eat regular foods, just when I want, in better portion control.

I’ve been wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences?

Reactions from the non-Soylent Consumers (everyone else) in your life

Nope. Mainly because I don’t tell what it is. When I’m at work I keep my Soylent in one of those large insulated camping water bottles. Keeps it nice and cold, and no one asks me what I’m drinking. The only ones that even know I’m drinking Soylent are my parents, and I get enough funny looks from my Mom. She seems to refuse to believe that this liquid that I’ve been drinking for months could possible be providing me with everything I need.


This is definitely how the conversation usually goes for me. Yesterday I asked a friend if she’d heard of Soylent, and she said she thought it sounded interesting but had read one of the early articles from beta days where the writer couldn’t make it through a week at 100% because it “tasted disgusting” - there’s a lot of damage control to do.

Most of the time I just drink it out of a thermos and nobody is the wiser for it.


I just have to explain over and over that I never intended to give up normal food, and that drinking Soylent does not create an exclusive dichotomy.


What’s funny is that no one would bat an eye if I told them that I drink a protein shake for lunch, but when Soylent is mentioned there’s this huge visceral reaction. I think part of the false dichotomy issue comes from Rob’s own vision for the stuff, the campaign line is basically a transhumanist push for an engineering solution to food. People hear that and assume that’s the normal use case. It’s a tricky issue because the company has to balance between ideology and good marketing.


Since we have a blog about soylent type food and made a 28 days blog series about “life with Synectar” (our DIY soylent) - http://synectar.sk/en/category/daily-log/ - and we promoted it among our friends, we came across few of these questions too.

Of course there were opinions like “that’s nothing for me” but we had a couple of very good discussions too.

  • “it’s expensive”

    • we didn’t have any comments like this
  • “lot of ingredient X”

    • this didn’t happen in person. On the internet we were asked about unconventional macronutrient ratio in our DIY recipe (about 33/33/33) - that means a lot of protein.
  • “don’t you miss food”

    • powdered food for us is mostly “time saver” and “balanced nutrition” and we still like good food and thanks to Synectar we have more money and more time to enjoy good food in a good restaurant with our friends.
      These are questions or comments we’ve been told a couple of times:“I couldn’t live without XY”And you don’t have to! With powdered food you have more time to do XY right and by yourself and/or you have more money to go to a restaurant and order delicious XY more often
  • “True man should eat a schnitzel and 12 eggs a day”

    • Yeah and he shouldn’t wash and smell like sweat, whisky and cigarettes. What is the big part of (almost) every soylend-based food? Supplements like protein, oats etc. And who ate them before Rob came up with Soylent? Bodybuilders. And they are prototypes of “true men”, aren’t they?
  • “It’s unnatural and nothing powdered can possibly replace real food. It couldn’t be healthy.”

    • There are not enough serious studies to acknowledge or deny these claims. But there were short-term experiments of living solely on soylent with conclusions:“nothing happend, neither good nor bad”“good things stayed the same, bad things diminished”“my overall health improved and I feel subjectively better”The only negative study we came across is “Long-term feeding on powdered food causes hyperglycemia and signs of systemic illness in mice” - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0024320514003610
  • “What is so new about this, nutri-drinks have been here for a long time”

    • Yes, the idea of powdered/liquid food isn’t new, but what’s new about it is the “modern” or I could say “novelty” approach to it. Crowdsourcing and “crowdtesting” in form of DIY community. Serious money (mostly crowdfunded) being put into the research. What could be a better way to evolve food?

Apart from these questions we came across a lot of interest, curiosity, willingness to test it with us, taste it and even ideas (some of them really crazy :slight_smile: ) to improve it.

(Sorry for the wall of text)


One universal constant - everyone, no matter how often it’s made clear to them, assumes that it’s an all-or-nothing solution. You either consume Soylent, or you eat food. Even people who have been told that I’m not 100% Soylent, or have even SEEN me eat conventional food, still are shocked when I do and express their surprise because they thought I was only supposed to have Soylent.

Nobody mentioned the toilet. In my experience, everyone always assumes that on Soylent you must always be on the toilet, or that you don’t have regular bowel movements.


With all the GI issues, it’d be hard to say that they’re wrong :slight_smile:


LOL I dunno… I’ve never had any such experiences. In fact neither of us have so… I can only definitively speak from what we know first hand. :slight_smile:


At work people would ask, “Is that frozen coffee?” I’m not sure why they assumed it to be frozen (and no, I wasn’t freezing it, just normal fridge temps). Only one lady had heard of Soylent and was benign about it, “Oh yeah, it’s supposed to have everything you need, right? Well, let me know how it goes.” If I tried to explain what it was, it was mostly met with stiff, “Uh huh,” and probably an eye roll when they turned away. My girlfriend is supportive of my doing DIY, but was adamant that I not buy anymore official until the gas problem was solved.


It is interesting how Soylent seems to arouse persistent and ignorant hostility from so many non-Soylenteers. Even when confronted with unambiguous proof, for example, that one can in fact still eat other food, that it doesn’t taste like mud, etc., I find that folks cling to their false beliefs and disgust with the very idea of Soylent. When reporting that I feel better because of it, I have been met with casual dismissal of the “Of course you’re not” variety (because it is impossible that something intrinsically wrong could make one feel better) or claims of it being a placebo effect. Something about Soylent really touches a nerve in a lot of people, and for these people, there is a very powerful refusal to be educated or in any way re-assess prejudices about it. I have found it odd, interesting, and disappointing. One consequence has been to encourage folks to interpret anything that I say positive about Soylent as evidence of blind partisanship, and anything negative (see: gas) as confirmation of why Soylent is evil.

Soylent, in my experience, has therefore generated quite the unintended, small bore sociological experiment. I never intended to be especially pro-Soylent, only to have certain solutions to my own consumptive and dietary insufficiencies made available. Soylent has in fact done what I hoped it would do for me–and more, since I did not expect to feel so much better by drinking it, only to be able to avoid “bad” food more reliably–but I have been forced by others to defend my actions and be accused of participating in something like a diet fad. What is interesting is that the folks accusing me of participating in a fad know that I have never joined fads and usually don’t even know what the current fads even are. They know, in other words, that I’m not the kind of person who derives satisfaction from fads and yet still see Soylent as a fad and me as a faddist. This is despite the fact that I am the only Soylenteer they know, and therefore, I am to their eyes part of a fad of one.


I’m fairly amused, my sweetie sent me the link back in the crowd funding days, and said “You need this.” He later confessed that he was totally kidding, and he’d had no idea I’d take it seriously and be so excited about it. Once we got it, we was shocked to discover that he liked it, and now he drinks as much as I do (if not more - HE is lucky to have no digestive complaints).

My best friend loved the idea, and liked Soylent, but ended up not ordering any, because her husband didn’t like it.

My coworkers think I’m a bit odd, but they think it’s an interesting concept.


I think part the dichotomy in people’s minds stems from the misconception that Soylent is a diet plan and not just food. Diets are typically restrictive in some way. “you can only eat these things or your insides will melt”. This combined with the fact that Soylent and soylent provides for all your nutritional needs leads people to think that its all you consume. If its healthier than muggle food and provides all your needs why wouldn’t you go 100%? Answer: because I like muggle food.

I believe the rage non-Soylenteers feel is a typical human reaction to something different. As pack animals we want our pack to be as much like us as posable, its instinctive. Its also instinctive to ostracize members of the pack that don’t conform. They don’t believe that Soylent can provide 100% of our needs and that we are somehow stupid and don’t realize this. For some people this creates a feeling of anger because its so obvious to them that we are wrong how can we not see it. It is somewhat similar to how some people feel about their religious beliefs. Their’s is the only right religion and everyone else is wrong and somehow evil.


I agree with that observation. Additionally, there’s the possibility that they feel threatened because - what if you’re RIGHT!?!? Then they are by definition NOT doing what is best for their health and it’s rare that anyone - especially self-identified foodies - likes to acknowledge that.

And yes, food is as religion for many (most, in my experience) people.


Pretty much all of this I’ve gone through. I got the announcement of “Nick’s eating food!” Whenever I would eat at work.

And my mother comments on the price all the time.


Yah, I honestly don’t understand that. The cost of Soylent vs preparing food yourself is about the same I believe, and loads cheaper than fast food, never mind the other cost saving benefits of Soylent like less water used, less electricity, etc.


My analysis of peoples’ reactions to it:

In no particular order of importance…

  1. The fact that it is liquid/semisolid? seems to be making it difficult for some people to wrap their head around the idea that it can give complete nutrition.

  2. Bad press for earlier versions

  3. The ‘Soylent’ name…because of the movie Soylent green

  4. Some people generally see health food/shakes as expensive, so they might be seeing this one too as some expensive solution because it might look like those foods.

  5. Some people really dont really like others eating healthy for some reason or feel bad about themselves if others around them eat healthy…so they try to find faults with it.

  6. And like nwoll said robs portrayal of it. I dont see how that was responsible for it, but it could have also played a part.

  7. People opinions because of complaints about it from people who consumed it.

  8. Some reactions might be genuine.

This is ofcourse an addition to other points people here made.

But as time goes i am sure more and more people will warm upto it.


I use a Thermos :smile: I don’t usually bring it up but i’m quite open with friends and co-workers so it gets talked about. “what no more Subway trips for lunch??” etc. hehe


I have shared a bit of my soylent each time :smile: ‘hmm. cake batter!’ almost universally. lol

@nwoll27 I have some GI issues from normal food since my gall bladder came out, its less for me with less meat/grease so soylent is a win win

@horsfield @spartamets @vanclute It almost feels like somehow my eating Soylent is causing cognitive dissonance for some folks so they react negatively to it automatically. Once I get them thinking rationally about it they relax.


Ah, the name. How could I have forgotten? In the name of balance, I should also add that I have encountered one genuinely intrigued person.