Is oil necessary?


My diet requires very low caloric intake, like 1500/day, so I’ve been skipping the oil on Official Soylent. I know some nutrients/vitamins are fat-soluble. It looks like there’s some fat in the powder. I’m assuming the oil must be important because there’s so much debate about the fish oil aspect of it. So, what is the minimum amount of oil I could add to a day’s supply if I were eating only Soylent and still get all the vitamins/nutrients? If the fish oil is the only important part, could I only add fish oil without any olive oil, and if so, how much should I add?


Yes. It’s needed. Add the oil and don’t drink the entire pitcher. If you’re using the starter kit pitcher, it’s 66oz.

Here are some calculations:
66oz = 2010
22oz = 1 meal 670 calories (based on the three-meal-a-day theory)
8oz = 243.64 calories
I’m drinking 48oz per day (or 6 8oz glasses) = 1461.84 calories
Some days I’ll have 56oz (or 7 8oz glasses) = 1705.48 calories

I stay between these two caloric intakes 99% of the time.


Seriously, all the oil is needed? I’m assuming the fish oil aspect is necessary but why is all of the olive oil necessary when it was just supposed to be for calories? Plus, if I don’t eat it all, I don’t get 100% of anything. I’m already staving off hunger just with oil-free Soylent, so that doesn’t seem like a viable option. If I add the oil, I will only be allowed 3/4 as much, and that will definitely leave me hungry, and deficient by 25% of every vitamin/nutrient.

#4 check the symptoms list, then you can can try to add as little oil as you actually want yourself and wait and see if you start to develope any of those symptoms over a period… they are “essential” for a reason :slight_smile: just as bad at cutting 25% back on all the other vitamins and minerals… but if you choose to still add some, then it might be fine anyway depending on how little you add.

It would be much better to simply drink less while adding all the oil, alternatively you could simply drink the entire bag and then go for a walk unless you have some medical reason for only 1500 cal diet


Once again, I ask… all of the oil isn’t essential, right? Only the fish oil has the “essential” parts and the olive oil is just for calories, right? So, if I was just to add fish oil, how much would I need to add as a minimum? If the olive oil still contains essential ingredients, what is the MINIMUM I’d need to add? How much could I leave out that’s only there to reach a caloric medium that I don’t fit into?

I’d rather not wait until I have symptoms and go up and down until I reach a good level. I know that vitamin D is fat-soluble, and is what tells calcium where to go. No fat, no vitamin D. No vitamin D, no calcium. No calcium, my stress fractures (which are responsible for my sedentary life and therefore my low caloric intake) get worse. I got stuck on a fat-free diet in the army which made my legs so bad it ended in a medical discharge and permanent disability. I’d like to avoid making that worse. I can’t take speculation or guessing on this. There’s got to be an expert here.


Actually I’m drinking 1500 calories as well with the oil, have a look at my calculations:

It’s actually really simple even on only the second day of mixing it. All you need is a kitchen scale and a small measuring glass and you’re good.


@Benji, I’ve been on it since June 4th. I drink an entire day’s worth (w/out oil) every day. I still feel a little hunger, but not bad enough that I can’t fight it. As long as I don’t get dizzy or dumb, I can deal with a peckish feeling. But I don’t want to go down to 3/4 of what I’m already reduced to. And again, eating 3/4 of Soylent would result in 3/4 of nutrition. Why would I add all the oil when at least a portion of it is ONLY there for calories if doing so means I’d get less vitamins/nutrients? I just don’t know what portion of oil is only for calories, or how to reduce that when the “calorie-only” oil is mixed with the “actually necessary” oil. Those are the numbers people on low-calorie diets need - the numbers associated with the oil on what is necessary and what’s only there for calories.


Self diagnosis is bad. :stuck_out_tongue:

Just limit the intake of completely mixed Soylent, or throw in several tablespoons of oil and a fish oil capsule to your diet - the easiest way would probably be mixing 3 days of Soylent at a time, portioning it into 12 meals (4 1500 calorie days) and freezing 9 of them. Then just put a days worth in the fridge the night before, and you’re all set. You’ll need some freezeable containers, but this way you’re getting balanced nutrition, and won’t have to worry about oil deficiency.

Oil will help you not feel hungry, and improve the taste and mouthfeel. The oil also has vitamins E and K, with some other nutrients.


@jrowe47, you’re getting closer to what I actually need to know. I’ve already gone over why just adding oil and eating 3/4 of a day’s rations won’t work. But your second idea is what I’m going for. The thing is, I have yet to get a definitive answer. How much fish oil is necessary for nutrition (not calories) and how much olive oil is necessary for nutrition (not calories)? I’d like to add only what’s necessary, but have yet to have anyone say what that is. I understand I’d probably be adding these things separately myself, supplied by myself, which I’m fine with… but I need to know the amounts.


In official Soylent. The oil mix is canola and fish. The Fish oil is not essential. You don’t have to have it. The Canola oil is essential. It has ALA and LA, without which you will eventually die, as the human body cannot synthesize it on its own. Even the vegan’s are adding canola oil to their mixes.

Nutrition wise, if you’re not wanting 100% of the RDA of calories (2000), then you don’t need the RDA of vitamins. So if you mixed everything up, you’ll be getting 100% of your needs as long as you’re meeting your caloric requirements.


From Soylent’s blog:

*"Canola Oil (56g) - Fatty acids are a type of lipid and are essential to the body. Some essential vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and require fat to be transported and absorbed by the body.

Like amino acids, fatty acids can be either metabolized for energy or used as cell components. Linoleic acid, for example, is abundant in cell membranes, and must be consumed in the diet as it cannot be synthesized by the body.

Canola oil is mostly Oleic, Linoleic, and alpha-Linoleic acids which are omega-9, omega-6, and omega-3 fatty acids, respectively. Canola oil is also attractive because it contains very little saturated and negligibly low levels of trans-saturated fats, which are not required in the diet and are risk factors for heart disease.

Fish Oil (6.4g) - Fish oil is a popular source of the Omega-3 fatty acids recommended in the diet by the American Heart Association. Though technically only ALA is essential, the conversion factor to DHA and EPA which occurs in the body is poor and direct supplementation is advised.

DHA is found in synaptic membranes of the brain and both EPA and DHA have been found to improve overall mental health and stability."*

The canola oil is essential, the fish oil is not.


Okay, so how much of the Canola oil is essential and how much is for calories? If the majority of the oil is Canola, then I could just add only what’s essential from those bottles. My body is still under the impression that I’m an active person, despite being crippled for a few years now. If I don’t watch what I eat, I gain weight. Sadly, this means I’ve been hungry for years (except for one year where I gave up and got fat… really struggled to get rid of those pounds.) The hunger is a lot less on Soylent - a lot, and I’ll be forever grateful for this. But it’s not perfect. If I just eat what my body thinks it needs, I gain weight. I could easily polish off a pitcher a day, oil or no oil, so I can’t rely on my hunger to just “stop” when my body gets what it needs. And if I drink a whole pitcher, I will gain weight quickly. My body still needs 100% of its nutrients. It’s just the calories that have to be lowered. It’s not like now that I’m a cripple I need less vitamin C.


From the Ars Beta Series, a quote directly from Rob:

No need to worry about not getting enough micros. The included amounts have some breathing room such that even 1/2-2/3 of consumption should be plenty. Just use your body’s built-in mechanisms for hunger and you should feel fine, as it seems you do.

As far as I know, this is still the case. @rob might be able to weigh in and confirm though.

In other words, it is more healthy to add oil and drink 3/4 of the pitcher than to leave oil out and drink the whole thing. Oil is not an empty filler, and “fat” as a component has a bad rap. Cutting out fat because you want to cut calories is not a solution - fat is necessary in your diet too, and moreso, healthy in the amounts present in Soylent.

Or, to answer your main question directly, yes, oil is necessary.


I remembered that from the journalist piece, but that was an old formula. Still doesn’t solve the whole “If I eat 3/4 of it I’m still hungry” issue though. A whole pitcher would be nice. Not being deficient on anything would be nice. Even just knowing how much oil is necessary for nutrition would be nice. I know I’m not the only one on a caloric regiment.


In order:

  • If you’re hungry, eat more. If your goal is to lose weight, being hungry (within reason) is a normal effect - your body is burning its stores, and it doesn’t like doing that.
  • Less than a whole pitcher != deficient. The body is very flexible in “requirement”, and Soylent is designed to take advantage of that in that “enough” isn’t an exact amount.
  • With the above being said, the amount of oil necessary for nutrition should be generally the amount you end up consuming by drinking fully-mixed Soylent to your satiety point.

I think your second to last post came in while I wasn’t looking.
Most of the above points still stand, but the first one can be adjusted to "you’re probably going to keep feeling hungry until your body adjusts to it. Skipping out on the oil is still likely to be less useful than just consuming less, as you are trying to cut calories at the cost of skewing your carb/protein/fat ratio, as well as cutting the nutrients present in fats.

calories are not just identical, interchangeable units. Having less oil is not the same thing as just “making your Soylent low-cal”. As far as I understand the issue, the healthiest thing to do is simply to eat less Soylent, and be a little hungrier. It is unfortunate that in this case “healthiest” is not necessarily “most comfortable”, but with any luck your body will adapt to the new standard soon.


The quantity of oil used fulfills the 50/30/20 ratio of the suggested diet, reducing the fat content and increasing the carbohydrate and protein content wouldn’t necessarily make it healthier, nor more filling. Sacrificing one part of the diet for another may not be the best answer. There is buffer in RDA’s and if achieving 100% is not required.

If you are in a caloric deficit in an attempt to reduce weight, your nutrient requirements will decrease as your maintenance calories decrease. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about short term ‘deficits’ reaching 100% RDA. You’ll still be closer to RDA than most healthy individuals.

Fats are pretty damn essential.


Your second-to-last post came in while I wasn’t looking - edited my response accordingly.


Actually it is a little like that. Take for instance, Vitamin C. It is needed in numerous enzymatic reactions throughout the body. But the size and weight of the body (along with other factors) determine how many of those reactions need to occur daily. Smaller body, fewer reactions, less Vit-C needed.

I would recommend adding in the oil, and drinking the whole dang thing for the next couple days. Basically, if your body is telling you it’s hungry, then it’s missing something. Most likely, the oil in your case. As you’re getting everything else and your now a lot less hungry.

You seem to really pay attention to you’re body’s signals, so doing a couple days with the oil is worth a try. You’ll probably find that you’re feeling full on 2/3rds a pitcher or less after a few days.


In order:

I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m trying to maintain. Losing would be nice, but it’s not a goal. With that said, I’m always hungry at less than 2000 calories. But 2000 calories = gaining weight. 1500 = maintaining.

Less than 1 pitcher wasn’t deficient on the old formula, but the new formula has only 100% of everything with a FULL package. Therefore, 3/4 of a package = 3/4 of nutrients. That’s fine for a few days, but not for 100% Soylent.

The oil is not all necessary. Some of it is ONLY there for calories. I need to know what amount is necessary.


Alas, tried that. It didn’t work and I gained one pound in two days. (I know… I’m impossible.)