Incomplete list of urgent things we know nearly nothing about


#1

Not to be pessimistic, but I am pretty sure it would make sense to figure out these things before even considering putting any more food near our mouths: (some of these might sound sensationalistic to some of you, but you should read at least all of the titles, you are sure to find something worth considering.)

  1. Is fiber, in RDA or above, the worst things we actively seek to ingest, the radium of our generation?
  2. Do we actually want some fiber in our diet? If so, how much?
  3. Phytic acid: Is there something in our grains worse than excess fiber? | other thread
  4. Given enough punishment, can we use Phytic acid as a source of phosphorus (and the previously trapped minerals)? Does this mean we shouldn’t seek to erradicate all of the world’s cereals?
  5. Is it better to try to eat complex proteins or separated amino acids? What amount of the acids are we now using for sulfur and would not be unnecessary with MSM? Are there any that we should work on limiting to the minimum required amount, as an unused excess of them leads to complications, possibly something that comes from breaking them down?
  6. What do we even need, really, in terms of fat/fatty acids? Saturated fat, Cholesterol, ω3/ω6/ω9, MCTs - what is going on there? Can we have some sort of consensus, or is everyone happy with word of the mouth, mostly? (Possibly not the best thread for this linked)
  7. Are micronutrient (and other) RDAs intentionally biased, made only to scare people on SAD into eating better, and do not actually represent what the body needs on a daily basis with a consistent diet? These micronutrient intake ratios might help form an oppinion.
  8. What are the uptake percentages, for the forms of these substances we use, in a homogenous product?
    (This and ratios already puts 2 more layers of complexity above the diy.soylent.me calculator. Even if our starting point is that we are creating a singe uniform food for multiple people at once, the requirements per nutrient depends on the levels of other nutrients we happen to take up, and the requirements for ingredients depends not on how much of a nutrient they contain based on chemical analysis, but how much of that nutrient will be taken up by the body, when the product in this form is uniformly mixed into the soylent.)
  9. Antioxidants. If they are beneficial, to what extend? Can be detrimental in high amounts? There are significant differences between them, or are all equivalent? Given that essential nutrients vitamin C and E are antioxidants by itselfs, how much a well nourished person can benefit from antioxidants compared with a nutrient deficient one? @Teseracto

Not only are these some major issues, they are limited to the uncooked, blended with water version of Soylent, made with purest ingredients possible. None of the findings are anywhere close to being applicable to various soylent flatbreads and flapjacks.

I am not saying this should be pinned, but is should either be copied and pinned, or pinned :grinning:
Of course, looking for the feedback on things I have missed, and hoping for the day at least some of these start clearing up so we can organize them in the wiki.


#2

Did you just question everything about nutrition?


#3

In fairness, there is a lot we don’t know about nutrition, and soylent seems like quite a good way of clearing some of them up…


#4

More no than yes, because more than half of the things I inquired about don’t have an established popular answer even in non-science. For example, to prove this is a substantiated sentiment, look at the ω3/ω6 requirement ratio. What is it, 1:1, or 1:10? Oh wait, are we talking about the ratio for ALA as ω3, or EPA and DHA? :open_mouth:
What’s that, the conversion depends on the ω3/ω6 ratio, but the requirements for EPA and DHA just depend on body mass and total lipid intake? :open_mouth:
Wait, are you telling me this a metabolic process, something that falls under the purview of chemical engineering, not some grams of fish oil supplement we are supposed to swallow every time the earth turns? :open_mouth:
And here I am not even scratching the surface of what questions we have about fats, let alone beginning to answer something. Same with pretty much

This is Soylent, not food.
The best nutrition could attempt to be with traditional food was superstition - in some regions a red sunset does mean a cold morning next day, but that doesn’t mean the gods are angry.
It’s science time, and while we can’t, at least as DIYers, do much better than black box analysis, we at least know what is on the input side now.
And if I am ingesting a substance, I want to know why. Perhaps to today’s misinformation, but at least to the best of today’s global misinformation, not just the word of mouth at my local village.


#5

I greatly look forward to following your blog detailing your experiences of not putting any more food near your mouth while these issues are sorted out on an internets forum.

I think you missed one very important subject that needs clearing; 9/ What does bacon taste better?


#6

What does bacon taste better?


#9

This sort of response always makes me think of the articles that pop up from time to time denouncing Soylent with empty, substanceless accusations like “what a stupid and ridiculous statement.” and “the author clearly has no idea what he is talking about.”

Pure opinion means nothing in the realm of scientific research. “Common sense” is a fool’s citation. If you have evidence that the points are invalid, please do post that, it would lead to a welcome and productive discourse. If you do not have contrary evidence, that is what makes points worth discussing.


#10

The problem with many of these is you’re pulling them from the opinions of people with questionable credentials and unaccredited research. While it is entierly possible that one of these could be true, for every “crackpot” theory that turns out to be true, there are hundreds (if not more) that dont.

Frankly the burden of proof lies with those making such claims. Simply stating X hasnt been tested enough is not a valid argument their claim may or may not be true, and honestly I think it would be a waste of resources having anyone test these theories until the claimment can show any proof beyond fearmongoring.


#11

I think @Smaug made a good point on “the burden of proof” in one of the linked threads:

Really though (and here I acknowledge your point @Daiceman) this is an argument for both sides. I see the original post as a “notice for those interested”, and not a “demand that everyone care”. If the reader doesn’t feel that those making the claims have provided sufficient proof for their personal interest, it’s within their right to write it off as irrelevant or not worth the time. But the many people who feel they need to supplement this with “this isn’t worth my time and it shouldn’t be worth yours” just add noise - as well as elicit occasional “no, it should be worth your time because I say so” responses from the other end, which are just as bad.

This forum is actually way better than a large portion of the internet at providing mostly constructive input, and at keeping ad hominem back-and-forths to a minimum. Let’s keep it that way by talking rationally as scientists about the topics we have an interest in, and letting the topics we don’t pass by quietly. At that point we can reasonably assume that irrelevant topics should eventually die on their own, no?


On the actual topic, these are certainly some things that would be useful to have solid info on. And I think a good place to start actually would be characterizing each item on how relevant it appears to be – after all, even if “poor source/spotty research” doesn’t discount ideas, it does make sense to prioritize the ones with stronger support, because it means a better base to build on, and a higher probability of meaningful results. If someone’s really serious about optimizing the process, there could even be a system for later use on wiki “research needed” pages – maybe scored categories like

  • Potential Impact [e.g. possible minor headaches vs Sudden Violent Colon
    Implosion Syndrome]
  • Existing Research [how much is actually known so far]
  • Core Credibility [how reputable/solid is the majority of currently posited concerns]

and maybe more. Given a spec sheet, I’d even be willing to write up a script taking score values and category weights to spit out an overall “How Important” number. Now that I’ve written this down, I’m thinking it could be an actual, useful addition to the “research topics” section of the community. I’m sure the Soylent team would be ecstatic to have a system for crowdsourcing research. diy.soylent.me became a thing. Why not research.soylent.me?


Potential new community tool - research.soylent.me?
#12

Agreed, entirely. But I am not presenting any crackpot theories here, I am merely pointing out all of the essential questions that have no default explanation. These are glaring holes in the knowledge we need to even begin to pretend we understand what we are trying to eat. I mean… only one of the 8 bullet points leads to a theory at all, the crazy-looking Ukrainian. Furthermore, it leads not to his site but to a thread about fiber, where he is also mentioned.

Without following the link, with just your existing assumptions, can you answer the question?

Will you say none? Do you have any basis to say that none?

Please oh god please don’t make this another thread about fiber, the thread for that is linked. This is a pinnable post for listing the gaps.


#13

For anyone interested, I made a new thread on the topic of research.soylent.me. It’s linked on the right of my original post. I’m actually sort of hoping this gains momentum now, could be cool.


#14

Also. Which minerals bind with which minerqls? So far all I know is that iron binds with calcium so I take my iron supplement inbetween soylent meals with a bit of oj (vitamin c helps it absorb) but I think I recall some discussion on magnesium le. This is all seperate from the phytic acid thing.


#15

We can add to the list the issue of antioxidants. If they are beneficial, to what extend? Can be detrimental in high amounts? There are significant differences between them, or are all equivalent? Given that essential nutrients vitamin C and E are antioxidants by itselfs, how much a well nourished person can benefit from antioxidants compared with a nutrient deficient one?.

Roughly the same can be applied to all other supposedly beneficial compounds: phytochemicals and the like.


#17

It is possible that the research is already out there - that’s why meta-analyses happen, after all. Meta-analysis can be done without a lab.


#18

My approach is that hopefully we can just supplement things in such amounts that you can still take the whole thing at once, just the things that bind are accounted for.


#19

Added antioxidants to the list. I did think of them, but I am trying to actually keep the list limited to the macroscopic ingredients that constitute the nutrition, as well as affect each other, while antioxidants, in my opinion, go in the class of additional, non-nutritional substances to ingest, along with probiotics, nootropics, L-Carnitine, Ginkgo, ginger, caffeine.


#22

1.Is fiber, in RDA or above, the worst things we actively seek to ingest, the radium of our generation?

No. It is a natural component of the human diet, the RDA may be excessive though, it is best decided by the individual.

2.Do we actually want some fiber in our diet? If so, how much?

Again, best decided by the individual. Levels of all unnecessary components of the diet should be chosen by the person consuming them.

3.Phytic acid: Is there something in our grains worse than excess fiber?

The effect appears small in almost every study, and phytic acid will not be present in the official formulation. This again, should be left up to the person crafting the soylent. Add phytase if you want, or reformulate, no consensus can be reached based on the poor-quality studies available.

4.Given enough punishment, can we use Phytic acid as a source of phosphorus (and the previously trapped minerals)? Does this mean we shouldn’t seek to erradicate all of the world’s cereals?

Yes. if ‘punishment’ is synonymous with ‘phytase’.

5.Is it better to try to eat complex proteins or separated amino acids? What amount of the acids are we now using for sulfur and would not be unnecessary with MSM? Are there any that we should work on limiting to the minimum required amount, as an unused excess of them leads to complications, possibly something that comes from breaking them down?

Proteins.

Why you ask?

Because proteins can also be oxidized as a source of energy when not needed for other activities.

6.What do we even need, really, in terms of fat/fatty acids? Saturated fat, Cholesterol, ω3/ω6/ω9, MCTs - what is going on there? Can we have some sort of consensus, or is everyone happy with word of the mouth, mostly?

No, we cannot have some sort of consensus, evidence is conflicting.

We are happy with personal choice on macronutrient ratios, especially levels of fats and carbs. n-3:n-6 should be around 1:2 (agreed upon many times) n-9 is less important and make sure you get enough EFAs. MCTs are useful to gain adequate energy using and ease transition into a ketogenic diet. The negative effects of saturated fats are thought more recently to be a result of their usual source, fatty meats, rather than their composition.

7.Are micronutrient (and other) RDAs intentionally biased, made only to scare people on SAD into eating better, and do not actually represent what the body needs on a daily basis with a consistent diet? These micronutrient intake ratios might help form an opinion

The RDAs we’re using are intentionally relatively excessive so that 97.5% of people following these recommendations will meet adequate nutrition. Most of us will get more than we need, which is why most of us were totally fine before soylent.

The EAR is more ‘the average’ necessary intake.

For those ratios to be of any use, we would first have to establish a definite intake for one nutrient, then extrapolate.

8.What are the uptake percentages, for the forms of these substances we use, in a homogenous product?
(This and ratios already puts 2 more layers of complexity above the diy.soylent.me calculator. Even if our starting point is that we are creating a singe uniform food for multiple people at once, the requirements per nutrient depends on the levels of other nutrients we happen to take up, and the requirements for ingredients depends not on how much of a nutrient they contain based on chemical analysis, but how much of that nutrient will be taken up by the body, when the product in this form is uniformly mixed into the soylent.)

This is different for everyone, some may even have a lack of ability to absorb different nutrients (look up intrinsic factor), that’s why it’s so important to do blood tests while ingesting soylent. The RDAs take this into consideration so that even if you have some absorption problem, you will meet adequate nutrition. This is basically an invalid question, you’re misunderstanding what the RDAs are. They are high enough that most of us (97.5%) will not need to take absorption into account.

9.Antioxidants. If they are beneficial, to what extend? Can be detrimental in high amounts? There are significant differences between them, or are all equivalent? Given that essential nutrients vitamin C and E are antioxidants by itselfs, how much a well nourished person can benefit from antioxidants compared with a nutrient deficient one?

It appears from many studies that ingestion of endogenous antioxidants is beneficial, however, it is a more complicated picture on exogenous antioxidants.

Selenium should be mentioned too as it’s involved along with Vitamin E in the production of one of the most important endogenous antioxidants - glutathione. Vitamin D is also likely involved and cysteine is a precursor for its production.

This should be in Nutrition not Meta.


#23

Whoops, you said “natural”. Not only did you use it as if you expect us all to know what that means, but you actually relied on it being “natural” to ascertain its safety. Like many people said here about this word, you should now be banned from all intelligent discussion by the entire human race lololo
And obviously it’s up to everyone’s own decision, but here we are trying to develop something better than the pathetically unfirm and unjustified guideline that we now “have” (I don’t feel like we really have one)

Is your main idea in this post to explain why these things are so little and insignificant?
Yes, I am informed that people have been eating all sorts of crap for the past millennia and survive just fine, I am their descendant after all. Doesn’t mean it’s good for you, or to be tolerated once you know better.

Nope, punishment means soaking/boiling/treating with phytase in advance or a combination thereof.

Again, people survive, even in pretty bad nutritional conditions. Fine means alive, not as best as they can. Surely many will be operating much better when they finally begin getting all they should.
The thing about ratios is as follows - instead of eating more calcium (that will deposit in blood vessel inflammation permanently), don’t eat so damn much phosphorus - your bones will be just as happy, and your cardiovascular system will thank you. But at the ratio that is needed for bones and generally correct handling of calcium, if we eat even the minimum RDA of phosphorus, we are already exceeding the calcium maximum. Ergo, the RDA for phosphorous is excessive. Phosphorus is a required element in the diet. It is not the enemy. The government is.

I realize, which is where the danger appears. This is the recommended amount when taken in normal ways. Even if not all from food (very poor absorption), then at least the rest comes in form of supplement pills, with high concentration, only appearing at one period of the day, resulting, still in poor absorption. If, however, we have the gluconate chelates, and they are uniformly diluted within our day’s worth of food, the absorption tends to 100%, which of the RDA amounts would be secretly exceed pure substance daily limits for perhaps even most of us (97.5%), and at least many.
This time it’s not even about how poor a job they did making the RDA, it’s that even in their worst nightmares they could not expect people taking it all in bioavailable form. That’s why things like calcium and iron and zinc supplements say that not only should supplements not be used as a replacement for a varied natural diet, but actually that "no more than <>% of <this_nutrient> should come from supplements.

No one is asking for an explanation here, only the final established conclusion and links to more successful discussion.
There would obviously not be any point in a post that discusses all of the major issues in one thread, this is, as the title says, only a directory of things we should find out, but haven’t, and operate with so much certainty as if we have.
Don’t see how this pertains to nutrition, only to the discourse and community?


#24

To clarify, the bolding of the word natural was by you, not me.
Whoops, the meaning will be very apparent to anyone reading these posts.

Yes my main idea is to explain why these things are little and insignificant.

So yes is what you meant.

When someone asks me if I’m fine I don’t say ‘Well I’m alive aren’t I?’.
And if a doctor were to pronounce a patient dead, he’s not likely to say ‘This patient is not fine at all.’.

Only if they weren’t in the first place.

I’m not exactly sure how you are more qualified than the USDA.

Meta is for discussion about the Discourse software used for this forum. This has nothing to do with the Discourse software.


#25

Ok, one hand, no, natural does not automatically mean okay. Other hand, that doesn’t mean that it never has any merit. Molars mean that our bodies are, at the least, prepared to take in fiber. The question is what it helps and what it hurts. Because I think we’ve established that it has the potential to do both of those things.

Just because some people use natural to mean “always 100% okay”, don’t assume everyone forever means that. Especially when they follow with[quote=“kthprog, post:22, topic:5415”]
the RDA may be excessive though
[/quote]
 
 -

Added parens for order of operations. Point being made was yes, phytase as an option, but not the only meaning of “punishment” (correct me if I’m wrong, @qm3ster).

Many aren’t eating well in the first place. That is one of the main points of Soylent. For those people, a degree of improvement is expected, or at least hoped for.
And other people, who already eat healthily, would logically not derive the same qualitative change, if any. These two points do not contradict each other. There are a lot of people in the world, there can be multiple sets of “many”.

Valid point 1: This thread is intended to gather other threads of a related subject in what could be reasonably defined as a “meta-thread”.
Valid point 2: The “meta” is actually more specific than just the word “meta”, and does refer to talking about the actual site, and/or changes therein.
Personally I think it doesn’t fit quite right in either tag, so it’s a little up in the air. Maybe “other”?


Come on guys. This is like… 1 or 2 more exchanges away from running off from the actual topic to argue about semantics and opinions. Good points are still being made and exchanged, but they’re starting to get overshadowed by tone and one-upsmanship. Read before you post, and ask yourself if there is a way to put it which might better improve the other person’s understanding of your position (even if you really really want to say it, 'cause they’re just so wrong).