Questions and ideas (unrelated to DIY Soylent) for the Soylent team? Let us know with this category!
Hey @JulioMiles, I’ve got a few things:
I’m curious about the switch from Whey Isolate (protein) and Grapeseed Oil (fat) to Rice Protein and Medium chain triglycerides (fat) in version 0.8. I don’t know anything about them, to be honest, so any info on what the differences are and why the switch was made would be great. Is rice protein a “complete” protein?
I’ve seen people here on the forums concerned about phytic acid (I think I spelled it correctly) from oats, leading them to do some time consuming pre-soaking of oats to try to get rid of it. Is that being dealt with in the original formula somehow?
Nootropics - I, and I’m sure many other people, expected the official Soylent to come with nootropics included, but they’re not listed in the recipe and I believe I saw something from @rob saying that they are going to be an optional add-on. Some clarification on that would be great.
They’re going to be an optional add-on.
We felt that a switch from whey to rice would be better for the environment, less inflammatory, less allergenic and cheaper. The switch to medium chain triglycerides was because it’s a well studied relatively healthy source of fat that is very easy for people to metabolize and also is widely available as a powder which allows for longer storage and better mixing with the rest of the formula.
I didn’t really know that much about phytic acid but upon reading it, I’m not convinced it’s such a big deal. It appears that it can’t really be digested by humans (so you don’t get phosphorus poisoning or anything like that) and only serves to bind to minerals like iron and calcium, thus decreasing the amount of absorption of iron and the other minerals it can bind to. If someone finds that they have a mineral deficiency and suspect this as the cause you could always just increase the amount of that mineral while holding the phytic acid (sourced from the oat powder) constant and I think this would be enough to deal with that. Rob would love your opinion on this question.
Many nootropics are not well studied and/or have stimulant properties that make them undesirable for inclusion in the general recipe that might go to people with a wide variety of medical conditions and lifestyles etc. We are exploring the idea of an optional package of nootropics to allow the user to include it themselves.
I’m curious about this claim. Whey is a by-product of cheese making. If it’s not processed into protein, it’s literally flushed down the drain. How is that better for the environment?
It’s kind of a hard claim to back up conclusively, but the argument is that contributing to a system which encourages the use of industrial livestock is bad for the environment regardless of whether it’s technically a by-product.
Medium-chain triglycerides? Not all fats are alike. Yes it can be kept as a powder, but I don’t think it’s the typical type of fat that gets ingested by humans. Does it get converted into other fats, like long carbohydrates do into different carbohydrates (e.g. sucrose into fructose)? Where is it observed in metabolism?
Instead of increasing the amount of nutrients like iron or calcium in response to phytic acid, which is dangerous, one might instead want to increase the amount of vitamin C, which according to the Jimmy Wales Project (Le Wik) can maybe reduce the effect that Phytic Acid on iron (perhaps other nutrients, given justifcation?) and depending on who you believe is much less dangerous.
MCT’s are generally regarded as an excellent source of fat, providing good absorption, low risk of inflammation, and promote the burning of excess adipose tissue. A few papers:
Phytic acid is not directly harmful. In fact there is evidence it is an effective antioxidant. The concern is it can bind to other minerals, hurting absorption. The minerals in soylent are themselves bound to bioavailable carriers. Given this and the relatively low amount of phytic acid in comparison to the amount of essential minerals, and data that a mol of phytic acid can only bind 1-2 mol calcium (phytic acid has much higher molar mass) I do not think this is much of a concern, though it is worth testing further.
Nootropics have poorly understand mechanisms of action and I would not consider their consumption risk-free. While I enjoy experimenting with them on myself, I would not go so far as to include them by default. We will likely have them as an option or an additive.
(other post removed as I replied to the wrong post
@JulioMiles The MCT I didn’t see coming. I am quite surprised that saturated fat has been chosen as the primary fat source. I am not a saturated fat hater (in fact, I tend towards the opposite), but it opens Soylent up to considerable criticism from the mainstream, e.g. ‘the main fat source is artery clogging saturated fat’ etc.
There are also the ‘toiletary’ side effects. Unless something is unusual about MCT powder, a lot of people are going to be hitting the porcelain pretty hard if the amount is high. Only 1 tablespoon does it for me.
Re the oat powder and maltodextrin, did you consider and reject Palatinose? - with a low GI it seems like the perfect carb source for Soylent.
I’m allergic to Rice but not Whey - according to my allergist it’s not that uncommon of an allergy. Luckily it’s not bad but tends to give me a headache when I consume rice… Will there eventually be the ability to select the type of protien please? I would like that option.
Alternately, would the rice protien being extracted from rice be considered hypoallergenic? Thank you oodles!
Yeah I’m wondering that too. Unless Palatinose is too sweet. Though it does seem quite perfect for Soylent.
Ah yes ofc, as mine is low carb I forgot how much there would need to be for the high carb version
I am also unsure of the rice protein. It seems both a less complete source compared to Whey and to taste worse. I think its worse considering environmental impact, but it seems to me nutrition should come first as a goal for Soylent. At least until you can actually reason about its environmental impact.
Also, MCT is great, but why not a mix with grapeseed Oil? How will we get Omega-6 and Omega-3?
Since I’ve started looking, I’ve noticed that the only things that actually seem to list the amount of Omegas on them are Omega supplements. However, according to what I’ve found online, Omega 6 is very common in a “normal” diet, and Omega 3 is not. This makes it incredibly difficult to gauge how much Omega 3 you need to add to your diet to get a decent ratio.
Also, regarding ratios, it seems that there’s no definitive answer for “how much of each”. I’ve seen recommendations from 1:1 to 4:1 (with 4x more Omega 3 than 6). I don’t know if the “ratio” is actually more important than the amounts or not.
I am hoping that once the final version of Soylent has been decided on that the full nutritional information will be available (online or on the packaging) so we can see the exact breakdowns of very specific things such as the various types of sugars (Fructose, Sucrose, Galactose, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose), fats (Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega 3, omega 6, saturated, trans, cholesterol, phytosterol), and protein (too many to list). Would also be nice to have the vitamins and minerals listed as actual measured amounts instead of just the percentages as they are currently listed on most US food labels.
Isomaltulose / palatinose sounds awesome on paper. It’s reportedly a little less sweet than regular sugar. However, based on the only two sellers I could find selling it on Amazon, it is incredibly more expensive than actual sugar, and even moreso than artificial sweeteners. If Rob and Co. can source it cheap enough in bulk, it would be great to have some in there. Maybe cut back a little on one of the other carb sources and make up for it with some of this magic sugar.
I have heard that Soylent will contain probiotics. What’s the potency? Single-strain or multi-strain? Is Soylent packaged in a way that protects probiotics in lieu of refrigeration?
But this doesn’t explain the amino acid deficiencies. Rice protein does not have a complete AA profile to make it a complete protein.
Environmental concerns aside, if it doesn’t do what it needs to do nutritionally then why switch to it?
But maybe you have something else in the recipe to compensate?
They could fix this problem by adding pea protein. Wikipedia:
Rice protein is commonly mixed with pea protein powder. Rice protein is high in the sulfur-containing amino acids, cysteine and methionine, but low in lysine. Pea protein, on the other hand, is low in cysteine and methionine but high in lysine. Thus, the combination of rice and pea protein offer a superior amino acid profile that is comparable to dairy or egg proteins, but without the potential for allergies or intestinal issues that some users have with those proteins. Moreover, the light, fluffy texture of pea protein tends to smooth out the strong, chalky flavor of rice protein.
I’ll post this here since a post from a soylent team member is more likely to be read.
I created a spreadsheet comparing rice vs whey vs pea protein.
Surprisingly, rice actually is a complete protein and is only slightly worse than whey in terms of delivering Essential amino acids. Whey Isolate Requires 63 grams to provide RDA while Rice requires 67 grams, and pea requires 91.5 grams.
You can see the spreadsheet here. Please check my calculations and assumptions (dropbox link)
Further, by an overall (crude) metric looking at ratios of whey and rice vs Human breast milk (I assume as close to perfect as you’re going to get). Rice is actually (ever so slightly) better than Whey. But, I’d take that conclusion with a grain of salt.
Lastly, Whey has the smallest deviance from human breast milk in terms of amino acid ratios to human breast milk.
I think Rice should be fine, but whey would be a little better.
The posted data clearly shows that Rice protein has much less Lysine than the other protein sources. This is a problem. Lysine is an essential amino acid and cannot be made from other amino acids by humans. There is a reason vegetarians cannot get all their protein from grains alone.