No Nutritionist on core team?


#1

Does anyone else find it odd that there doesn’t appear to be a Nutritionist (or something similar) on the core team that is listed on the fundraising page?

From reading the forum and comments to Rob’s blog posts I am fairly positive that Soylent is healthy and should be fine. Still I would really like there to be at least an official adviser to the company listed that has some type of background in nutrition.


#2

Rob had discussed in his original Soylent blog how studying nutrition leads to a lot of contradicting evidence. He found it more beneficial to study biology and apply some nutrition study to it. (This may not be an accurate answer, but it seems they wouldn’t need a nutritionist because he would always be saying “We gotta change it to this, we gotta adjust that, this is too dangerous now, studies say!!!”


#3

I think I want someone who is a core part of the project doing just that. I at least want someone on the team who is qualified to properly plan and conduct rigorous research on the effects of using soylent as a full food replacement.

Everyone on the team looks smart and capable, but I don’t see much evidence of experience in Biology or Nutrition.


#4

What kind of experience do you expect? Degree or Job experience? Degree just shows that someone took the time to take all the necessary classes to get a degree where less than 25% of that degree was related classes (bachelors and below, can’t speak for masters and above). Degrees are essentially just guided learning with a bunch of bullshit added in. Someone with job experience would be worth more. But then, that job experience has to be gained somewhere. And sometimes a kid at home with his books and the web of today can know more on something than a person with a degree (“educated”) or someone with job experience. You can only learn from whatever opportunities are present, and not ever opportunity to be skilled may be present for someone with 10 or even 20 years experience. But taking the time to read and study about everyone else’s experience can teach you quicker.

tl;dr
Someone who takes the time to research and study properly could be a better asset than someone with a certificate or job experience. It is said by Rob that he spent a lot of time researching everything he could.

Not to act like I know the way it is, just saying it the way I have observed.


#5

You may find this quote from Rob’s last post answers that:

I am not a doctor, biologist, or nutritionist. However, we all have access to the same information. Anyone can read a textbook. One does not have to take a class on something to know it, nor must one fully master a field in order to do something useful with it. People learn in different ways. Even when paying for a formal education I tended to skip class and self-educate. Graduation is no reason to stop studying. Research journals are going open access, Wikipedia is my television, and Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, and OpenCourseWare are lowering the barriers to information that used to be reserved for a select few. Like health, I would like to see a future where education is uncorrelated with income.

Also, some of the soylenters specially rob and the first trial group take regular health scans and their doctors are aware of soylent usage, also I recall Rob saying that the crowdfounded soylent batch aims to be approved by health authorities.


#6

Fucking scientists and their methods.


#7

Nutritionists aren’t scientists, for the most part they’re quacks. “Nutritionist” isn’t a protected term, so you’ll find any old idiot calling themselves a nutritionist and changing their opinions based not on advancing science but fads. Gillian “eat green stuff because chlorophyll oxygenates your blood” McKeith is a nutritionist. Dietician is the equivalent where you actually need to have studied it, but any study of biology or biochemistry puts you far ahead of the pack in this respect.


#8

Some input from a MD that has a fair amount of experience with total parenteral nutrition would probably be beneficial but i do not think having a nutritionist on the team is necessary.


#9

We don’t need nutritionists at all. A dietician, maybe. A doctor, absolutely, a chemist? Very likely.

The thing that bugs me the most is that we don’t know how all these nutrients work when combined. Calcium and iron, oat powder and everything else. For all we know oat powder may be destroying the whole thing.


#10

Just means, don’t try things in their alpha phase, can take a chance in beta, but it’s better to wait till it’s a more solid test fact with lots of people.


#11

We are actively interviewing for all of these positions. Roles include everything from part-time advisor to full-time employee. Please email recommendations to jobs@soylent.me

We hope to announce a few highly-qualified industry experts joining the team soon, paid for by the crowdfunding campaign.

To be clear:
The co-packer / manufacturer we are working with runs a fully FDA approved laboratory.

The VP of Research of Development is a natural products chemist by training and holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is an industry-recognized expert in antioxidant research, and has been researching and formulating dietary supplement products for over 15 years.

More announcements will be coming soon as we finalize our manufacturing. Thanks so much for all of the support as we organize this process!


#12

Awesome! That is exactly what I was hoping to hear.


#13

These are very good news!


#14

I too was concerned about the absence of a “nutrition expert” on the Soylent team. And by that, I don’t mean necessarily a CCN. In fact, I’d want to see a professor of nutrition on your team.

I note that you have a professor of medicine advising you. That’s excellent. However, my experience is that most MDs seem to be horribly ignorant of nutrition in general. One gastroenterologist my wife (who has celiac disease) went to one time told us that he didn’t believe in food sensitivities. WHAT? When I eat soy, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. When my friend Jim eats soy, his throat swells up, and he can’t breathe. I don’t know what planet this doctor was from. I’ve had other MDs come right out and admit that medical schools do not put any focus on nutrition.

I could rant about all sorts of blindspots many MDs have, but my point is that while having an MD (even better, a professor of medicine) on your team is CRITICAL, that is only one specialization that doesn’t cover every important facet of what the Soylent team is trying to develop. You need expertise on nutrition, digestive function, immunology, endocrinology, and anything else that has overlap with the effects of your food substitute.

Does Soylent include probiotics? A good balance of friendly microorganisms is critical for the health of the human body. And did you know that not all probiotics are bacteria? Several yeasts are considered to be probiotics.

Did you know that serotonin is stored in the mucosal lining of the intestine? This is critical for healthy neural function, and many people have low serotonin because of poor gut health. What impact does Soylent have on this?

I’m not necessarily saying that you need to include all of this in Soylent. Many people don’t have major issues with intestinal flora or serotonin storage, so what they need is specific treatments for those problems. However, understanding the relationship between Soylent consumption and these other factors (positive, negative, neutral) would be very valuable in deciding future tweaks to your formulation.

And, BTW, for people with food allergies are often told to go on elimination diets to work out what’s bothering them. If you could get the major allergens out of Soylent, this would be a great thing for them to use.


#15

The reason you’d need a nutritionist or anyone with a graduate level education is to provide an unbiased and thoughtful analysis of the current research in nutrition - which is more challenging than other medical areas that are substantially more cut and dry. Any company that does not ensure this gets done thoroughly ends belly-up when one or more of the pillars of research upon which their product is based is found to be fraudulent, invalid, or non-applicable because it was taken to mean something other than what it could stand to mean. Goodbye FDA, hello class-action suit in more cases than I can remember.

That’s why education matters. All worthwhile information is theoretically public, but 50% of it is bunk, and not obviously so. Not everyone has the capability to do a full statistical analysis or a discussion linking basic science and physiology to clinical evidence because that takes years of unavoidable training.


#16

Don’t they have a dietician?