Open call for better carbohydrate source suggestions

Hi. I’m Max – the guy who made the Bachelor Chow and Simple Soylent over at

By far, the most challenging part of designing a DIY soylent recipe for me has been the carbohydrate source. Many carbohydrate sources have too high a glycemic index. Others (I’m looking at you, fructose and maltodextrin) have a low GI, but terrible effects on the body’s blood sugar despite this. Still others (your turn, oat flour) can result in unwanted gas. And still others are just plain expensive.

I’m looking for a source of carbohydrates with the following properties:

  1. Low to moderate glycemic index
  2. Not too rich in fiber or fat
  3. Unlikely to cause excessive gas or other ill side effects
  4. Affordable
  5. Able to be added to a recipe without preparation

The best source of carbohydrates I’ve found so far is pre-cooked lentil flour. It seems almost like a superfood, with its near-complete essential amino acid profile, low GI and affordability. Unfortunately, I can’t find adequate nutrition information and the list of suppliers is very short.

I’d like to find a carbohydrate that can replace 40 - 60% of the body’s daily requirement for complex carbohydrates. Can anyone help me out?


This has been on my mind for a long while but unfortunately I have very little experience and knowledge on the topic. Best of luck with your research and hopefully some others have worthy contributions here.

backwards on the maltodextrin, it’s very high GI.

A couple other threads looking for other sources of carbs, too, you may want to look at:
here and here.

Some of the other carbs mentioned in those threads:
other types of flour like buckwheat, almond, spelt, coconut, corn flour, corn meal,
waxy maize starch, brown sugar, coconut sugar, dextrose, Palatinose (isomaltulose), trehalose.
I have no idea what the GI is for any of them.

Those two sources barely contain any carbs! I use them in my low-carb diet.

These all consist of sucrose, which is 50% fructose. If OP wants to avoid fructose in large contents, these might not be the carb OP is looking for,

@maxk: have you considered lowering the total carbohydrates? I’m not saying you should go keto, but lowering total carbs to 100 grammes still gives a nice soylent, without the suger rushes/crashes.

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This is a good resource for glycemic index, glycemic load, etc:

I never said any of them were good carbs or good choices; simply that they were mentioned in those threads as other choices of carbs.
If those are bad, then what’s good?

Lowering his amount of carbs may be one option, but he’s still looking for another source of carbs.

It looks like tapioca flour / starch may be a good candidate. Does anybody have experience utilizing it in the field? What are the most cost-effective sources?

Have you checked true nutrition’s potato starch? I’m not a fan of using maltodextrin or any simple sugars myself.

I personally just think it’s better to use pure carbs than starches and flours. Starch and flours have poor digestibility (almost always less than 50%) before they have been cooked. Because a major factor in soylent is the convenience, some may want to avoid this step. Of course, this really limits one’s options. Just thought I might add this for the sake of discussion. Of course, if you have the time to cook the flour, this is inmaterial.

Almost 50%? I’m not sure what you mean by that… Would you happen to have a source?

Looks like the Soylent team has decided to go that way. 9/8 recap GI is for tapioca is about 80+/-.

I’m using a modified version of your recipe. You created a pretty fantastic basic formula. The precooked corn flour in your recipe should have a nearly identical glycemic index to tapioca maltodextrin (perhaps even less). Of course, perhaps the tapioca maltodextin has a higher digestibility.

I also found some tapioca flour. It probably has a slightly lower glycemic index, but I have no idea how your stomach would respond.

Honestly, minus the slight stomach discomfort, I think the combination of oat flour and precooked corn flour reduces soylent’s overall GI and makes for a fairly stable source of energy. I actually throw in about 70 grams of maltodextrin as well, and I don’t feel symptoms of a sugar rush or hunger.

I’m also looking for a source of carbs. Currently, I’m using about 50/50 oats and maltodextrin, which does not seem to give me any kind of sugar rush or digestive problems. However, my allergies (eczema) has been somewhat active, leading me to believe that it may not be good to have so much in terms of oats per day.

The oats are soaked overnight and I feel fine.

I’ve been thinking of blending in another carb source—people have mentioned: pea flour, corn flour, rice flour, and tapioca flour. Of these, I quite liked green pea flour because of its high protein content (protein is probably the most expensive component of Soylent on a per day basis). In the UK, green pea flour does not look like it’s easily available, but one might try chickpea flour…?

Has anybody thought about Soya flour? There is a fat version and non-fat version, and they are both quite interesting. Very cheap (e.g. here). The full fat version has 30g carbs (with 8g fibre), 30g protein, and 17g fat within 84g. That seems like a really good mixture.

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I’d like to hear more about soy flour, too.
carbs, protein, fats, and fiber, all in one. Interesting.


Besides the mostly irrational aversion I have towards soy products, I think I might have to buy small bag and see what it does. High in iron, copper, and calcium. Although in comparison with the cereals and starches, it’s significantly lower in carbs (66g vs 40g, oats to soy per 100g). GI at 25 though… Tempting tempting.

Following from my post (where I suggested soy flour), I am somewhat worried about the (contradictory) research that is done about the safety of soy flour. I’m sure someone here can read the literature and better inform us, but this article (note the references are not well formatted, but are there) might be starting point.

The issue is that the recommended soy intake is quite limited—they are recommending 100mg isoflavones or about 25g soy protein per day (NB there are roughly 200mg isoflavones in 100g of soy flour). That only works out to be about 50g of soy flour. It might be worth incorporating some soy flour into your recipe…but it can’t be a main component.

I think with this in mind, I may have to try to turn to another flour.

I’m not a huge fan of tapioca flour as it’s someone empty (no protein, in particular). The next best in line, in my opinion, seems to be chickpea or besan flour. In 100g, we have about 50g of carbs (10g fibre), 6g fat, and 20g protein. Anybody with any experience?

Well my tapioca flour arrived today. I tried some of it raw for breakfast – left me a little hungry, but zero gastrointestinal issues. I’ll try adjusting the Bachelor Chow 2.0 formula tonight and mixing up a test batch and I’ll keep everyone abreast of how it goes.

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Nice. What carb are you going to be switching out? The oats or the corn? I feel like your GI will be too high without the oats.

Besan flour looks like a good choice even though I think the flavor might leave a lot to be desired. I think it’d be a better lower GI option than soy or tapioca.

Besan looks promising. I just sent an inquiry to Bob’s to find out if they use raw or roasted garbanzo beans.

I think I’ll be switching out the oatmeal first. The latest recipe uses three carbs and has about 25% less masa. I’d love to replace some or all of the masa as well, but I’m not experiencing gastrointestinal distress when I prepare it without the oats, so I’m less concerned by that.

As for the GI – I share your preference for a lower GI food. In fact I’m a glucose-sensitive individual. (Borderline-but-not-quite hypoglycemic.) But I’d like to point out that mixing the flour with oils, fiber and protein will dramatically lower the glycemic index of the finished product. Despite my sensitivity, I’m finding the oatmeal-less Bachelor Chow to be very filling for a long time without any crashes. In fact – it could be because of all the fiber that’s added – but I find it to keep me fuller longer than eating plain steak.

However, now that I’ve got around 60 lbs of flours laying around my kitchen, I’m getting a little less excited to go off ordering more boxes of the stuff. If somebody happens to have some besan and wants to report on trying it out I’d love to hear back!

I’ll see if it’s available from my local supermarket this week.

Can I ask why the people on this forum are so concerned about the GI? If it’s a marked difference, wouldn’t you be able to tell based on feeling a sugar rush? Is it a bit silly to argue about such micromanagement unless you plan on obtaining some blood tests? How many people can distinguish between a 50/50 blend of oats/maltodextrin and a 25/75 blend?

I admit that I have not followed these low-GI diets all these years. I’m still somewhat confused why eating white rice and pasta is bad for you.

Maltodextrin is implicated in causing hypoglycemia. Very serious stuff.

Aside from that: You’ll feel hungrier sooner if eating high-GI foods. This can lead to weight gain if you’re consuming enough calories per day but constantly hungry anyway.

Can you give me a reference for that? Google Scholar only gives one relevant article about a 79-year old man for the keyword “maltodextrin hypoglycemia”. I only did a quick search, but do you have a more relevant article than this one?