Ketogenic soylent experiences [Straight from 'regular' soylent]


My previous soylent log on here is mostly in context to a carb / fat / protein formula, while here I’ll start recording experiences, and asking, or answering, questions on a keto-specific soylent formula.

I have no need for weight loss, (I’m already a skinny guy at 6’1" and ~160lbs), but I am interested in the cognitive and physiological differences between a keto-specific diet, and what we generally define as a ‘regular’ one, especially for having been on a more typical soylent diet now for over two months. As an added bonus, I don’t have to worry about cooking oat powders, and it’s overall a couple cents a day cheaper. See also: I’m a damned curious engineer, who will go to great lengths to tweak variables wherever possible.

Though I’ve already created the next three days worth of the keto formula detailed above (including today, the experiences of which are below), I’ll unfortunately have to switch to regular food because I’ve run out of my first batch of protein powder, which I was late in re-ordering. The next three days, then, will server as a marker and learning experience in transitioning to a keto formula over night.

As an added bonus for muddying up variables, any cognitive improvements even through this short period are suspect, seeing as thanks to the purchase of a .01 incremental scale, the amount of choline bitartrate that had been in my formula was only measuring a third of what I needed, and was lacking as much.

When the new shipment comes in, I’ll start on my regular soylent for a week or two, take a couple cognitive tests, and try keto again. In the words of a great adventurer, ‘Leeeeroy Jeeeenkins!’


Day 1:

As many an faq has warned, keto flu symptoms are definitely something to be prepared for. Right off the bat, the ‘something doesn’t feel right,’ symptoms came up. An odd sort of headache / light headedness / dizziness, while energy through out today has been unusual, to put it best. As some folks have mentioned, I’ll want to make sure I have enough salt, or add extra (though few are in reference to an already existing RDA). But, checking my salt intake later in the day showed it was lower than what it had been (3g and 84% rda), and since then I’ve put it a little above my usual amount (~5g & 143%) to see if there’s any marked changes.

On staying hydrated, they are not kidding. After going about my day after a morning ‘meal’ and a tall glass of water, my lips were nearly dry. I’ve kept water with me throughout the day now. As an added oddity, I’m less concerned about getting hungry, as just getting stronger ‘flu-like’ symptoms. It’s at this point I’ll drink some water, have a soylent-snack, and be relatively okay.

As far as taste goes, it’s a little better. The first taste of the day without oats or malto was especially odd, though. My tongue and I probably stood for a couple minutes just parsing through all the tastes that were previously masked. But, after a couple more swigs, it seems to have evened out. Satiation is also very strange; my body recognizes there’s food, and that it’s probably enough (especially having gotten used to how a normal soylent diet works), but it’s definitely going a little haywire (see above) trying to compensate for the lack of carbs.

I do not envy the person who figured out how to live off of this kind of diet. To use entirely scientifically acute words, this is friggin weird. Day two report coming tomorrow evening.


Awesome blog. I’m thinking about jumping to a ketogenic soylent recipe too. I’ve already cut down on the sugar/carbs in the recipe I’m currently using, but I’m still researching good keto formulas.


Keep us updated! Are you planning to eat carbs during your unplanned return to normal food? Personally I wouldn’t recommend it: no need to go through carb comedown twice!


@dzhao The almond powder I use is probably the biggest motivator for having switched over. It’s already a part of my regular recipe, and very low in carbs while maintaining a decent calorie profile from protein and fat.

@richardtkemp For the sake of getting a good assessment of ‘regular’ vs ‘keto’ soylent, I’ll have to go back to a carb-happy formula, anyways (see above notes on choline deficiency on previous formula). It’ll be interesting to see how my body handles the carb comedown a second time through.

My current hypothesis is that if you control for all other factors (see: the rest of your nutrient profile) the resulting physiological and cognitive effects will essentially be the same. Keto may very well have a large impact because it’s also forcing people to control their diet in a hyper-detailed way (much as we are doing now with soylent). Though this was my original hypothesis, I’m already starting to question it, but will be sticking to it until absolutely proven otherwise.


@mrob What you’re suggesting is a little like saying -
“I’m considering getting a piercing in a place which has a reputation for being unusually painful. I’m going to get the piercing done but only to see if I can handle the pain, then I will immediately take it out. If it all goes okay, then next week I will get the piercing done again on the other side instead.”

When I started keto I was totally useless for three days. Based on my experience cycling to work, I would really recommend not driving - or cycling for that matter! I could have done something other than spending three days in bed watching TV, but whatever else I did I wouldn’t have done very well, so I didn’t see the point. Keto ‘flu’ isn’t really a good description. What is happening is that your brain is temporarily starved of energy while your body adjusts to rerouting it’s energy flows - because when you first start producing ketones your muscles hog them all and leave insufficient for the brain to function at 100%.

The advice to stay hydrated and keep good electrolyte levels is excellent but it can’t take you 100% of the way. There’s no enormous problem going through this twice… but honestly, I don’t see how it could be worth it. If you’re keen to get started my advice would be to just reduce your carbs to 50-80g per day until you’re ready to dedicate to keto.


I noticed you’re using 100g of almond powder in your keto-specific formula. Almonds are one of the densest sources of phytic acid (scroll down to the tables under “Sidebars”).

I can’t tell you exactly how much it will affect your mineral absorption and digestion, but that’s a pretty high amount to be eating daily.


@richardtkemp: More or less, yes, lol. I hadn’t realized the complete depths of the effects of a ketogenic diet, so diving head first like this may have not been the smartest plan. Alas, I had to cheat today at lunch because it was affecting my work too much. I’ll probably take your advice on adding some carbs back in to the remaining batch today, and reducing carbs later on, so transitioning is easier.

@JonathanMcClare O.o… I… didn’t actually know that, thanks for the heads up! I thought I read somewhere that almond powder had the least amount to worry about, so I didn’t think it was a concern. Or it was blanched almond powder that I was thinking of, which may be on the list for the next order.

This said, at least with the oat powder, simply creating the mix and letting it sit for a day [see also: consuming a day’s worth in a 3-5 day batch, where the next days’ will have been ‘soaking’], will usually change the taste / smell in such a way as to indicate a change in phytic acid. I’ll see about trying to boil the almond powder in the same way as I do the oats to see what kind of effect it has, it might help with the transition process while starting keto.

Onward… to Day 2. That didn’t last long. As @richardtkemp mentioned above; you’re pretty much starving your head of glucose until you can produce enough ketones for your body and brain. Though I wasn’t to the point of complete uselessness, my physical coordination and certain mental faculties had definitely gone awry. By the time lunch rolled around, I grabbed less than half a pound worth of chicken and pasta (only checking to realize pasta is not keto-friendly after the fact), and felt a whole deal better after it.

I’m still very much interested in trying this out again, but it’ll have to be either for a long weekend or days where I know it’ll be slow at the office. I’m less concerned about my own physical well-being, and more about making sure I don’t end up creating code as incoherent as I feel starving my brain of carbs.


Slight clarification: you’re starving your brain of fuel (not just glucose) until your muscles stop using ketones for fuel. Ketoadaptation is your muscles’ affinity for ketones decreasing and switching to using fatty acids in your blood instead, until the amount of ketones produced by your liver is sufficient to handle the remaining load (your brain).