GMO/preservative concerns and alternatives


I am eager to try Soylent but I have concerns about using large amounts of maltodextrin, which is clearly derived from GMO corn. Additionally, several people are suggestion Alive liquid multivitamin, which has carcinogenic preservatives (potassium sorbate/sodium benzoate). I have significant reservations about consuming GMOs/preservatives in large quantities on a daily basis.

I have chosen All One’s Green Phyto Vitamin Powder as an alternative to the Alive (, but I am having difficulty finding an alternative to the maltodextrin. There’s organic maltodextrin here, but shipping is expensive:


[Official] Introducing Soylent 1.1

Anyone else share these concerns?


It’s not an immediate concern of mine but I’d be interested in finding alternatives down the line.


What about using oatmeal instead of maltodextrin?


Every food crop GMO that I am aware of is transgenic; that is, the genes being inserted are not artificially created, they are instead taken from another plant (or animal) and inserted into the crop cultivar’s genome. Examples include genes inserted into tomatoes to produce a protein that makes them resistant to frost damage and genes inserted into potatoes to make them toxic to their primary insect pest (the Colorado potato beetle).
The fact that it’s transgenic is important because it means that, to some extent, the products of these genes are already vetted. We aren’t creating entirely new genes (and subsequent proteins) out of thin air. The anti-freeze protein in the tomato was already safe to eat when it was in a flounder; it doesn’t magically become toxic in a tomato (things like acidity can change protein folding dynamics and so it must be tested for safety again in the food system, which it was).
The case of the transgenic potato is especially sad. Here’s an excerpt from a review paper regarding the fate of these potatoes:
Potatoes were among the first successful transgentic crop plants (An et al. 1986). Genetically modified potatoes expressing Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxin that is toxic to the Colorado potato beetle were sold in the U.S. from 1995-2000. Although well-received at first, they were discontinued after only five years of use because of consumer concerns about genetically modified crops, grower concerns, and competition with a new and highly efficient insecticide imidacloprid (Grafius and Douches 2008).
Why is this sad? Because the potato was fine. It successfully resisted the potato beetle and allowed the growers to stop pouring massive amounts of insecticides onto their fields. However, because of consumer mistrust and a host of fear-mongering by anti-GMO organizations, use of the potato was discontinued and farmers went back to using lots and lots of insecticide. This cognitive dissonance from environmentalists (which I consider myself to be) really frustrates me.
Responsibly created GMO’s are not the ticking time bomb that people have been led to believe, and they may actually hold great benefit. However, I believe they should be approached cautiously and used only after methodical testing (this seems self-evident); they shouldn’t necessarily be the go-to solution when simply switching cultivars or better agronomic practices could achieve the same thing. They’re also a bit of a patent minefield; should genes be patentable? The US Supreme Court will be debating this presently with respect to human genes; it might have implications for genes in other species.


I have no problem with GMO in general - have a look at these if you still think GMO’s are bad:

and this:


I am actually surprised to see anti GMO arguments in these forums.

I am not saying that Soylent isn’t “natural” (I don’t even like to use that word normally), but I would have assumed that most trying Soylent this early would be the same kind of people that accept the benefits of modified crops and know enough to see that it’s safe.


Sure GMOs are safe… if you want to grow giant tumors like the rats in this study:

8 European countries have banned GMOs thus far. They’re a step ahead of the curve.



This post has been read, but this is not a place for a war like this, so, contents deleted now.


Well, escalating health problems in human populations consuming GMOs combined with lack of proper testing of the highly complex health and safety implications of their use, combined with their poor performance record, combined with them being associated to an unsustainable agricultural model makes this a valid concern.


It’s a very important concern for me. As well as artificial components. @chrono, I’d be very interested in what you find.


Well, escalating health problems in human populations consuming GMOs

Correlation doesn not equal causation - and citation needed.

combined with lack of proper testing of the highly complex health and safety implications of their use

The health and safety issues aren’t really ‘highly complex’ - genes make proteins. All current GMO’s that I’m aware of consist of a single gene taken from an existing organism, in order that the target organism can produce the protein that the gene codes for. Many of the donor organisms were already in the human food chain - so we were consuming that protein already.

combined with their poor performance record

If they had a poor performance record, farmers wouldn’t preferentially buy and grow them - but they do. For example, BTCotton means you have to buy and use much less insecticide, which saves farmers money, saves the environment and increases insect biodiversity:

The use of Bt cotton in China has been shown to dramatically improve biodiversity, unlike broad-spectrum insecticides which kill everything, pests and predators alike. The Bt protein only affects the insects which bore into the crop, is entirely safe for us, and has led to insecticide reductions of 60% in China and 40% in India on cotton.

I assume you mean ‘industrial agriculture’, when you say:

combined with them being associated to an unsustainable agricultural model makes this a valid concern.

The same industrial agriculture that currently produces most of the worlds food:

For example, if we had tried to produce all of today’s yield using the technologies of 1960 – largely organically in other words – we would have had to cultivate an additional 3 billion hectares, the area of two South Americas. -

GMO’s already massively reduce the reliance of farmers on pesticides, have the potential (if they’re allowed to) - to massively reduce farmers reliance on fertilizer too - therefore hugely increasing the sustainability of industrial agriculture, while at the same time increasing yields and reducing land use.

The choice isn’t between GMO’s and some organic utopia. Organic farming cannot feed 10 billion people without increasing the amount of land used for agriculture, thereby destroying huge amounts of the earth’s remaining ecosystems.


CuriousBen, if you want to wait until humans start getting tumors before you drop GMOs, then by all means, eat all the GMOs you want. Please, take all my servings too. Your post cracks me up.

Duncanlock, you saying that GMOs consist of a single donor gene is simply incorrect. Did you know regulators recently found a “hidden” viral gene in GMOs? I highly suggest you familiarize with this article:

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"The researchers themselves concluded that the presence of segments of Gene VI might result in unintended phenotypic changes.

Since the known targets of Gene VI activity (ribosomes and gene silencing) are also found in human cells, a reasonable concern is that the protein produced by Gene VI might be a human toxin. This is a question that can only be answered by future experiments.

The inability of risk assessment processes to incorporate longstanding and repeated scientific findings is every bit as worrysome as the failure to intellectually anticipate the possibility of overlapping genes when manipulating viral sequences."

Trying to simplify such a complex process is highly misleading, and dangerous. The introduction of GMOs to our food supply is anything but simple, it is highly complex and unpredictable. If you want to be part of this terrifyingly-irresponsible scientific experiment and wait for your own tumors to grow (or experience destruction of gut flora, organ damage, etc.), then by all means, be our guest. But I personally will not be a Monstanto lab rat.


The immense, and not yet quite understood mechanics of gene expression do not warrant such confidence, the gene itself, the methods and contexts in which it is triggered, how it interacts with enhancers, repressors and controlers (some of which might not even be in the same chromosome) among other factors… Even with extreme care, we just don’t know enough yet to use this in food. You give the example of a type of cotton, which seems like it may have success, but there are types of frost resistant GM corn that was shown to have very poor performance.

We can’t feed 10 billion people, we might be able to sustain them on Doritos (or perhaps Soylent), but not provide them with a natural human nutrition. Industrial agriculture is a dead end, the food is produced at an energy deficit, and the whole system depends on massive inputs of oil and phosphate, both of which are very close to depletion. If the economy had not tanked in 2008 (or even if it had recovered), we would be feeling the full effect of Hubbert’s peak now.


This really isn’t the place for this discussion. Especially since you’re so incredibly bad at it. Could you possibly go back to Youtube comments and Facebook posts?


I’d personally prefer if you guys left out the ad hominem attacks and discussed sourcing a GMO-free version for people who choose to go that route. It’s not an immediate concern for myself but more options are always nice.


JTown I agree, that was the original point of this thread. Let us return to the topic at hand.

I have provided links to preservative-free vitamin powder and organic maltodextrin. Other suggestions are welcome.


Raw Protein:

Con: It is more expensive

From Garden of Life website (

USDA Organic
Dairy Free
Gluten Free
Soy Free


This is a nice protein powder from grass-fed cows, who are never subjected to GMOs: