I have been ~80% Soylent for nearly 8 months. I switched to Soylent 2.0 in September and I have had a great experience. My 19-year-old son has just started on 2.0 as well, and that has attracted my wife’s attention. Naturally, she wants to make sure it is ok for him to drink. She did some research and found this article.
In many respects it is obviously biased, and borders on a hatched job, which cites some of the rather unseemly points in Soylent’s early days (e.g. the Vice article stating they saw rats in the first Soylent production facility. Having said that, the author raises some seemingly legitimate concerns, which I am ill-equipped to answer. Let’s dismiss the author’s obvious bias, and discuss his nutritional concerns.
Note: The following assertions deal only with Soylent 2.0.
- Soylent uses canola oil:
He states, “Canola oil is one of the worst fats one could put in their body because it contains erucic acid which damages the heart.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion?
- Soylent has low DHA (and EPA) content
He states. “There is not near enough DHA and EPA in either food and deficiencies will eventually manifest in the body taking the form of heart disease, bone deterioration, cognitive disorders, or even cancer. In fact, a deficiency in DHA has been shown to increase mortality rates across all domains.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion?
- Soylent uses vitamin D2 instead of D3.
He states, “…the type of vitamin D used in Soylent 2.0 is ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. Humans need cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3 that is used throughout the body. D3 is significantly superior to D2 in human physiology.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion?
- Soylent uses vitamin K1 instead of K2.
He states, “In the same regard, Soylent 2.0 uses vitamin K1 instead of K2. K1 is transported poorly in the intestines, and does not convert well to K2. In clinical studies, vitamin K2 has shown cardiovascular improvements while K1 had no effect. This is because K2 helps transport calcium into teeth and bones rather than forming arterial calcification. K2 has also been shown to reduce cancer risk, and K1 has been shown to be ineffective in this area as well.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion?
- Soylent uses inferior chelated minerals
He states, “When we look at the chelated minerals used, we find the same dilemma – zinc sulfate, magnesium phosphate, sodium molybdenum, sodium selenite…why use such inferior sources of minerals? Are the creators of Soylent 2.0 ignorant of the scientific data, or are they just trying to save a few pennies?” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion
- Soylent uses dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E)
He states, “There are other ingredients in Soylent 2.0 that are outright harmful. Studies have shown that dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E) is linked to increased cancer rates. This is due to the reverse chirality of the synthetic isomer meaning that the shape of the molecule is backward from natural vitamin E.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion
- Soylent uses synthetic folic acid
He states, “Negative health effects can also be associated with one of the water-soluble B vitamins. For instance, approximately one-third of the population will increase their cancer risk when consuming synthetic folic acid. This is because of a mutation in the MTHFR gene. People with one or more defective MTHFR genes will have trouble converting synthetic folic acid to 5-MTHF. With supplemental use, in the dose that Soylent 2.0 provides, folic acid levels will build up fueling cancer cells.” What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion?
- The limited carbohydrate sources in Soylent will limit microbiome diversity and will eventually be harmful.
He states, "Consuming Soylent 2.0 every day will have a dynamic impact on the microbiome. Many of the carbohydrates will not be absorbed in the stomach, or large intestine that will feed bacteria in the small intestine. Since the bacteria have, only a restricted diet of the carbohydrate sources in Soylent 2.0 the lack of options will limit the diversity of the population. Bacteria that can process isomaltooligosaccharides, and rice starch are going to have a tremendous advantage over those that do not. Over time, the Coprococcus, Collinsella, and Coprobacillus phylotypes will overrun the bifidobacterium, butyric acid levels will drop, and endotoxin will leak out into the bloodstream. You may hear anecdotal reports of people consuming nothing but Soylent 2.0 for months at a time without incident, but it is just a matter of time before they will develop problems. What would Rosa Labs say to this assertion? What do we think of this assertion? Note: I consume various probiotics on my own, but this seems to suggest that it is the lack of diversity in carb sources in Soylent that is the problem - not the lack of gut flora itself.
I realize there is a lot here, and this may not be possible to discuss in a single post. However, I am a loyal Soylent user, and want to be for the foreseeable future. I realize that I was likely not getting any more complete nutrition by haphazardly eating “normal food,” and that I have neither the time nor the interest to figure out how to craft perfect nutrition on a “normal” diet.
Having said that, I operate under the belief that the team at Rosa Labs is committed to providing OPTIMAL nutrition, and that if any of these concerns have merit, they should and will address them. The first step in that process is to air out the concerns and explore whether they have merit. What do you think?