How much free glutamate is in Soylent?


I think the point might be that glutamate is what’s in question here, which MSG is a source of.


I have no problem with the idea that the free glutamate in MSG can have detrimental effects with individuals with Chron’s or other types of inflammatory bowel disease. The neurotransmitter glutamate and dietary glutamate while not exactly the same - dietary glutamate is broken down in the intestinal tract into the pure amino acids including glutamate and that is definitely present in inflamed neural tissue.

Of course each individual’s reaction to free glutamate in foods will be different. Free glutamate is what needs to be focused on since the body will break down all proteins and create glutamate regardless. The question is how much free glutamate will be present. Anything with “glutamate”, “hydrolyzed”, “enzymes”, will definitely contain free glutamate. The Soylent ingredient list includes (but may not be limited to) the following that can contain some level of free glutamate:
maltodextrin, rice protein, potassium glutamate, copper gluconate, and soybean lecithin.

Also of interest: Some ingredients are shown to interact with either free glutamate or glutamate receptors and reduce reaction: choline bitartrate and palmitate (there may be others, I’ve run out of research time).

An ingredient I listed may have an extremely small amount of free glutamate - it totally depends on the source and exactly how it was processed. Specialized laboratory testing for amino acids that goes beyond normal testing would be needed to pick it up. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, but if you can tolerate the free glutamate in your current diet, protein shake, diet shake, soft drink that contains corn syrup, no fat milk, soy sauce or chicken pox vaccine; you can probably use Soylent without issue.


sal9000 was correct about my references not providing any proof, and I appreciate his/her summaries. And although I found studies showing autistic adults, autistic children, and depressed people have higher glutamate serum levels (see below), that doesn’t mean eating free glutamate causes anything.

Although I don’t have autism, my post in this forum was motivated by this TEDx talk (link below) from a PhD biochemist with an autistic daughter, and how eliminating free glutamate is what made the difference. So it just made me curious about Soylent free glutamate levels.



Dr Reid is showing what we call Anecdotal Evidence and Confirmation Bias. She modified the child’s diet and symptoms of autism were reduced to a point the child could be mainstreamed. She assumes, based on little factual data that it was free glutamate. She eliminated free glutamate, therefore it was the source of the problem. But she also eliminated the entirety of the old diet. We also do not know what the old diet was.

Who knows exactly what was eliminated from the diet that caused the dramatic improvement. Don’t get me wrong, it could be the free glutamate and I think it’s wonderful that her child has improved. I have an autistic niece and my sister is trying lots and lots of things to reduce the symptoms and behavior issues. I’m going to recommend this to her as I don’t think she’s tried a total diet change to raw/organic foods.

Note supposedly Dr. Reid’s company “Unblind My Mind” is marketed as a non-profit, but I can’t find it listed on the IRS’s web site for such organizations. That makes me a bit uneasy. Of course it could be registered under a different name… Also, just because someone is on a TED or TEDx (not official TED talks, just a brand name they allow anyone to use with approval) talk doesn’t mean what they are saying is fact; they are just “ideas worth spreading” and a few have been shown to be impracticable or just outright wrong (and videos of the talks have been removed).

But back to the free glutamate discussion: This probably isn’t the product for you if you have issues - at least not until a very precise scientific laboratory can analyze the completed product’s amino acids since it’s not something the FDA normally requires for this type of product. You could gage your reaction by making one of the DIY recipes that contain the products with trace amounts of free glutamate: maltodextrin, rice protein, potassium glutamate, copper gluconate, and soybean lecithin.


Not to rain on a pretty amazing story and video. But… My anecdotal story is that I have seen amazing improvements in my own child due to aging. In the same age range, 3-7.


In thinking more about this, it would be nice if Soylent listed the free glutamate amount. Then folks could make informed decisions and more information is always good.


Sign the petition to have free glutamate content listed on foods.


Nope, no evidence I have seen has shown me we should waste more money on regulation. Why demonize something when there is no proof that is does anything?


I will not comment right now on glutamate. But i did come here to leave numbers i found on wikipedia talking about free glutamate in food. There was a table on this page that showed free- glutamate and protein glutamate in common foods. I selected ones that are common in DIY soylent. All are mg per 100 grams.

Peas…200 …5583
Tomatoes …140…238
Corn …130…1765
Cow milk…2…819

While i assume these are the foods unproccessed, it does give a good base to start with.

Read this about toxcicity. Yes it is wikipedia but they cite their sources.

For the lazy. Glutamic acid can damage the brain and nerves,

Because glutamate is absorbed very quickly in the gastrointestinal tract (unlike glutamic acid-containing proteins in foods), glutamate could spike blood plasma levels of glutamate.[15][16][17] Glutamic acid is in a class of chemicals known as excitotoxins, high levels of which have been shown in animal studies to cause damage to areas of the brain unprotected by the blood–brain barrier and that a variety of chronic diseases can arise out of this neurotoxicity.[18][19]


The petition does not ask to regulate or demonize. Simply provide information. Whether you think glutamate is good for you or bad for you is not the question. It is whether food companies can not include it on the labels - which they currently do. According to current standards if it is less than 99% pure it does not need to be labeled. Thats the problem, companies use yeast extract, and other terms to hide the data. I am only asking to provide clean data.


Seems like an unnecessary waste of time.


Do you also feel that things such as labeling peanuts tree nuts shellfish wheat and soy are also a waste of time? Things affect people different and everyone should be provided information so they are free to make their own desicion, The Nutrition Facts label is only 25 years old! I suppose this would also be a waste of time?

Companies are very deceptive in their flavoring practices. People should be aware that things such as yeast extract were used in very high amounts, or that that “NATURAL” flavor is really all free glutamate. These things MIGHT cause problems people would want to avoid.


I am a believer that data is always good, and that it would be simple and cheap to test for:

I am not arguing that glutamate is good or bad, only that it should be clearly labeled. Note that there is clear evidence that it is “hidden” in labels:’sHowTheyHideMSG.html

There are lots of people attempting to reduce glutamate in their diets, and it is very difficult to do since we can’t tell whats in the food. Even products labeled no MSG turn out to have significant quantities of MSG. Again not arguing whether its good or bad for you, but I am arguing that manufacturers use clean label techniques to avoid listing it on ingredients.

That is inherently wrong.


Wanted to come back and add this. Just 10 Mega Corporatiuons sell almost everything we eat (at least in America, but all over the world too i am sure)

That is a very big lobby against anything, plus i bet i can guess it would be these 10 corporations that use it in many of their products both openly and deceptively.


Those things can and DO kill people. Everything about glutamate that I have read has been conjecture and innuendo.


Rob and Soylent team. I received a quote from an accredited lab for $300 for free glutamate testing using AOAC 95HPLC. Please submit the product for this testing and publish the result. This will give one more data point and another item to tweak.


Are you offering to pay for this?



Or we could get a collection going… :slight_smile:
$2 toward testing, anyone?


Yes I was thinking of sending it out for testing myself once I got it. I’ll chip in $100.

I would rather see Rob and Soylent lead and support that effort. But I would be glad to send them cash to perform the testing. If that doesn’t happen if we can collect another $200 I’ll send it myself.


While they do read these forums if you use an @ symbol before their name it will tag them and they will come and look at this thread.

Like @rob