“Our new formulations will no longer contain algal flour.”


#1

A Bloomberg article quotes Rob Rhinehart as saying that future formulations of Soylent will not contain algal flour. See also this Motley Fool article.

I find it interesting that customers of another product (Honey Stinger) apparently reported similar digestive issues. TerraVia (whole algal flour supplier) sent them a letter as early as July 2016.

I also find it interesting that there is some circumstantial evidence of digestive issues with VeganEgg. VeganEgg lists “Whole Algal Flour” as its top ingredient.


"Soylent identifies ‘likely’ ingredients behind digestive issues...but won't say what they are"
From Terravia's website regarding their algal flour
Nausea and vomiting several times after eating food bars
#4

#8

I suspect that it wouldn’t be worth the time, effort, and money to sue TV. RL doesn’t exactly have a lot of time on their hands, TV probably doesn’t have a ton of money, and winning isn’t guaranteed. They’ll be better off just dropping the ingredient and moving on.

Edit: This was a response to somebody saying (perhaps as a joke) that RL should sue TerraVita. The original comment is gone, so I’m adding this note to explain why I suddenly started talking about lawsuits. I was going to remove the post completely, but it got three likes so I figured I’d leave it.


#14

Any chance you two would voluntarily delete your comments? They are off-topic, and the OP linked a couple of useful articles.


#15

Ars Technica has a new article up on this, and someone in their comments section linked to the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) report. In that report, some people withdrew due to nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal issues.

No causal link between the algal flour and abdominal symptoms was statistically demonstrated (hence the GRAS finding), but its worth mentioning.


(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 24 hours unless flagged)
#16

What about all of us who are not suffering from reactions? I love this product and sure hope it does not go away.


#17

TerraVia released a statement yesterday saying that algal flour “has never been shown to be the cause of adverse reactions”.


#18

Speaking as someone who never got sick from food bars (and who misses them every day), this seems like BS to me. According to TerraVia’s website, whole algal flour is 9% protein. Presumably algal protein.

They are “different products” as TerraVia slyly says, but whole algal flour contains algal protein, which means the small % of people who have issues with algal protein would presumably be affected by both products.


#19

FYI, comment was deleted by mod.


#20

#21

I’m responsibly sure milk is GRAS and has years of safe usage but if you are lactose intolerant that is also irrelevant.


#22

I’m curious to find out what about the algal flower is bothering people, especially considering the fact that the algal oil in 2.0 doesn’t seem to bother people in the same way.


#23

Your link died.


#24

Thanks, just fixed it!


#25

Bah, I was hoping they’d remove the excessive amount of fiber.

The “normal range” of transit time for humans is anywhere from 3 bowel movements per day to one per 26 days. Anywhere in that, and you’re “average.”

Now imagine if you ate 650g of fiber every single day.

Yeah.

So with the recommended 25g, maybe you go from a 2-week cycle to a 4-day cycle–a 4-day cycle where you strain and bleed. Modern research has identified that idiopathic constipation (i.e. not related to some known reason) is relieved by reduction or elimination of dietary fiber; interesting that the average bowel movement frequencies are all multiple-day, even for subjects who experience no discomfort, bloating, or straining.

Soylent’s decent and all, but it does cause me some trouble. That 14g daily fiber intake is a huge jump from 4g. Interestingly, Rose Labs said they only added it because people complained that the fiber wasn’t adequate to USDA standards–not because the lack of fiber was causing any problems.

Well, maybe removing this algal flower will make the stuff better for me; or maybe it’ll still make my tummy feel funny. We’ll see. It’s tolerable, but produces more discomfort in bowel movements than a lower-fiber diet. Without a scientific process of eliminating different things to see what happens, I can’t identify what ingredient causes what effect.


#26

I think most Soylent users want more fiber.


#27

They “want” more fiber, sure. They don’t want it for any reason except because they think they’re supposed to have it. It’s the same reason non-deficient individuals take vitamin supplements.

If you’re constipated and you don’t know why, try removing fiber from your diet, because that seems to reduce the symptoms of constipation in a dose-dependent fashion.

Like I said, maybe removing the algal flour will do it. I know fiber really, really screws me up, and I usually get under 4g/day; but there are other moving parts here, and any of them (or any combination) could cause issues.


#28

I’ve never been constipated.


#29

You need the fibre to move the stool out more easily and you need fibre to keep the old bile moving out of your body so you don’t get Gallstones. Also doesn’t fibre help your insulin levels from spiking due to drinking liquids with sugar?


#30

I move stool plenty fine on less than 4g/day. Fiber is known to cause constipation, diarrhea, gas, cramping, and malabsorption of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron. In extreme cases, excess fiber intake can cause intestinal blockage, which can kill you; that’s unlikely.

Alcohol prevents post-prandial hyperglycemia, but nobody seems to want to drink 6 cups of vodka with dinner (for that matter, PA put out a report stating that anyone who drinks more than 2 glasses per day of any alcohol on more than one day each week is an alcoholic, even though that’s considered moderate consumption–and has demonstrated health benefits to the point that NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism highlights the health benefits of alcohol consumption).

What I know is increasing my fiber intake to as much as 14g/day has lead to blood in the stool–after large amounts of pain. Fiber intake under 4g/day has provided no such thing. Up until a few years ago, I simply accepted pain and bleeding as a part of life. I’m not the only one–and how many doctors have you ever heard recommend a reduction in fiber intake for chronic constipation? Everyone is freaking out about it all over the place because it’s a violation of everything they’ve ever been told; and nobody has stopped to realize that people who don’t get enough fiber don’t automagically become constipated, much less that they have no real basis of knowledge about terribly too many people who were chronically constipated and fixed it through the magic of fiber. It’s more like religion than science: they’ve never really observed it, but they’ve heard of its glory.

I’ve seen people argue bad statistics to dismiss studies suggesting a reduction of fiber reduces chronic constipation. Anything to avoid the implications. Meanwhile I keep hearing about all these soylent users who apparently can’t shit straight, because they demand more fiber to unblock their backed-up asses–how many constipated Soylent users are there out here?