Polyphenols? Magnesium oxide? Vitamin D2?


@yngh, impeccable argument.

So, we have stuff that causes cancer, stuff that prevents cancer, and stuff that we don’t know what it does. Why doesn’t Soylent include the stuff that prevents it?

Or, if it does, why isn’t it listed in the ingredients just like iron and magnesium, and calcium?


I think it’s not just that the sugar is metabolized but how quickly. Types of sugar that are metabolized quickly are worse. In Version 1.4 Soylent began adding a kind of sugar named isomaltulose that metabolizes slowly in an effort to reduce the glycemic index, or at least that’s what they say.


Fair enough, low-GI carbs are better.

But fast carbs are still included in Soylent (and I don’t disapprove that), so why not try to exploit them to improve the taste instead of adding dubious molecules.

Sucrose has been ingested by the human kind forever, what about sucralose? If any researches showed it to be safe I’m very interested to PMIDs, but I’m only interested in studies whose conclusion was “sucralose does not cause problems A, B, and C” rather than “there is no evidence of sucralose causing problems A, B, and C”.


I don’t know that it doesn’t have it. I admittedly don’t know exactly what does and does not prevent cancer. I know some people think some things in plants prevent cancer, etc, but I don’t know how precise it all is. But if something is shown definitively to prevent cancer the idea behind Soylent is to add it. It’s not supposed to be a perfect product at any point in time but rather one that reflects current knowledge.

Sometimes people think plants are perfect things . Plants are just chemical factories. If a plant can create a chemical that prevents cancer then humans can create it too, in principle at least. In practice, not being a chemist I have no idea how easy or difficult or cheap or expensive that would be.

Some people that dislike Soylent say “But there are all these things in plants that we don’t know what they do and those could prevent cancer and if you consume Soylent you’ll miss out on those.” Yeah, that’s true, but then again if we don’t know what those things do then in addition to preventing cancer they could also cause cancer.

Check this out. A chemist broke down the list of ingredients in a banana. It’s a long and scary looking list and there are thousands of other chemicals he didn’t put in the list because that would make it too long. His point is, people are scared of chemicals and yet literally everything is chemicals.

Look up Bruce Ames. He was a scientist at Cal but he’s retired now. At one point he took some fruits and vegetables and tested various chemicals in them to see if they were carcinogenic and about half of them were, which is about the same percentage as synthetic chemicals.


Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant. Adding any others is unnecessary. There is actually such a thing as too much anti-oxidants.

If you want some kind of medical product, you’re on the wrong site.


You’ll never see the conclusion “It does not cause problems.” Rather you’ll always see “There is no evidence it causes problems.” That’s because you we can’t say for sure that something doesn’t cause problems. We can’t prove a negative.

Just because something has been ingested by humans for a long time doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. If it’s so harmful that it causes us to fall over dead then it’s obvious but if it causes problems over the long term we might not now.

As far as humans eating things for a long time goes, I think that pretty much nothing humans eat have we been eating for a long time in evolutionary terms. Farming itself wasn’t invented until 10,000 years ago, which is recent in human history, and the crops we eat now are more recent than that. And they only exist because we manipulated what nature originally provided. Have you ever seen the versions of some of these fruits and vegetables before humans intervened? Ugh.


That doesn’t make any sense.


Vitamins A, C, and E as well as selenium, manganese, and lipoic acid are antioxidents AND in Soylent.


Why can’t I see sucralose, magnesium oxide, and vitamin D2 in the ingredient list of the banana? Are they in the long tail of omitted ingredients?


Why would you expect to see them there? Frankly, you’re making less and less sense as time goes on.



I don’t know if they’re in the list of omitted ingredients in the banana or not. I think sucralose is man-made and if so then it’s definitely not in a banana. Then again, bananas are man-made in a sense because they’re clones and they couldn’t exist without human intervention.

But the larger point is that what is in a “natural” banana is a bunch of chemical and all of those chemicals aren’t necessarily good. Natural apples contain formaldehyde (embalming fluid). Some other natural things contain weird and bad stuff and it’s not surprising because they’re not engineered to be optimal for humans to consume but rather they’re just things carrying out their existence.

Well, we do interfere with them carrying out their existence at this point via our technology and we can make some of them better for us to eat but we can’t control everything and we’re still much at the mercy of things growing how they grow, after we’ve interceded with our cross breeding or whatever. We can’t get apples to not grow formaldehyde so we just eat the apples with the formaldehyde in them. But since the amount is very small we don’t sweat it. The amount of sucralose in Soylent is very small too.

There is a wise expression that goes, anything in a large enough dose is toxic and anything in a small enough dose is safe.


No need to be a troll.


Ah thank you! Vitamin C was the only one I was sure about but I remember hearing other vitamins also served as AOs


Rise and fall is fine within a certain threshold, spike and crash outside of that threshold is not. (Covered earlier by glycemic index discussion.)

No… Proteins do not alter dopamine pathways. You can’t become addicted to anything, only substances which change the reward system in the brain, which causes craving.

I didn’t disapprove of it because it was done on mice, I disapproved because it also used poor research practices. It’s normal to test on animals before testing on humans. Later research (as long as it can clear an ethics review) is likely to be done on humans.

Here are three of the links from the article pointing to real research, I’m not going to scrub the whole article for you:


@a71104, you raise a good point regarding phytonutrients and D3. I am hundred percent sure they will be added at some point in the future. I wont be surprised if they are already testing phytonutrients (and if they are not i hope they do) in order to decide which of them to add and which of them to ignore. It usually takes longer to test phytos as compared to vitamins and minerals because there are not as many studies on them weighing their pros and cons as much as there are studies on vitaminerals.


PMID 1920938 did not show magnesium oxide to be dangerous. Did you see a reference somewhere saying that it found magnesium oxide to be dangerous, or did you read that item in Pubmed? I ask only because there are an awful lot of bad articles on the web these days that cite references which don’t support them or even contradict them. Adding references makes the article look more convincing, and if nobody checks the references, nobody realizes that it’s bunk that looks as if it’s well-researched when it’s not.

PMID 1920938, titled, “A case of the milk-alkali syndrome with a small amount of milk and magnesium oxide ingestion–the contribution of sustained metabolic alkalosis induced by hypertonic dehydration”, and it’s not a study on magnesium oxide. Rather, it is the case study of a single person that was highly unusal because they got milk-alkali syndrome from a very small amount of milk and an alkali.

The milk-alkali syndrome is “defined as the hypercalcemia with a metabolic alkalosis from a high amount of calcium intake and long term administration of absorbable alkali in any form, usually as calcium carbonate for the treatment of peptic ulcer.” In this case, they used a very small amount of magnesium oxide as the “absorbable alkali.” It could be any of many alakalis, and the case was not focused on whether or not magnesium oxide was particular - they mostly referred to it as “the absorbably alkali” and speak as if the same would happen with another. They were mostly interested in what combination of drugs and/or long-term high alkali and calcium intakes lead to this individual developing such an unusually strong sensitivity.

In fact, they talked much more about the calcium (naturally - hypercalcemia is a major symptom, here), so it makes more sense to cite this paper as proof that calcium is bad for you and should be removed from the diet. Of course, that would be nonsense, but it would still make more sense than using it to point at the magnesiusm oxide.


A note on phytonutrients and stuff in plants:

Phytonutrients are just nutrients within plants (that’s what “phyto” means, “plant.”) They are a tiny subset of the bigger category, phytochemicals. Depending on your source and how they define things, we’re told there are anywhere from a few thousand phytochemicals to 25,000 phytochemicals already identified.

One group of them are the carotenoids, which we’ve found to be good for us, so we call them phytonutrients. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, it makes carrots orange and it’s a primary source of Vitamin A. Lycopene is another carotenoid; it makes tomatoes red, and has also been found to be good for us - it’s not essential, so you can be fine without it, and it’s not a vitamin, but it’s still a nutrient.

However, there are also other groups in the phytochemicals which are toxins. Unprocessed cassava - a major food crop - is toxic. Cherries, peaches, apples, all have toxic leaves and seeds. Kidney beans need to be processed to be edible; if you eat them raw, the toxins can make you very ill (there have been outbreaks of poisoning from slow cooker recipes, because the low heat doesn’t break down the toxins.)

Tomato plants - and the rest of the nightshade family - have toxic leaves. Potatoes are in the same family; the root tubers of potato plants are safe to eat, but the greens are toxic. If a potato tuber grows partially above ground and exposed to the light, it will be green instead of brown. Don’t eat a potato with green on it! It will make you sick, because although the green comes from chlorophyll, it will also contain some potent toxins.

Nightshades are a family of poisonous plants - ever heard of “deadly nightshade?” Other plants well-known to be toxic: wolf’sbane, belladonna, yew, strychnine (yes, it comes from the nuts of the strychnine tree), snakeroot (cows eat the greens, we drink their milk and die.)

Of course, most of highly toxic plants are not sold as food for people… but some are. We just know how to process them to make them safe. Castor seeds - the source of castor oil - also contain ricin, the deadly neurotoxin used in the Japanese subway attacks. Clearly, castor oil does not.

So, what about all the random phytochemicals in a particular food? Are they nutrients? Toxins? Neither? The only thing we can be sure about from the fact that a plant is a “traditional” foodstuff is that it doesn’t rapidly kill people - and that’s only if you know the right way to prepare it.

The truth is that plants don’t “want” to be healthy for us to eat. By and large, being eaten is not beneficial for plants (or animals.) It’s important to remember that nature is not out there trying to make food healthy for us! Rather, it’s our nature that we’ve evolved to tolerate and thrive such a wide variety of natural food substances despite the fact that they’re trying to stop us. Also, we tend to cultivate those plant species with weaker defenses against us.

So. coming back to Soylent… they are not currently adding things like greens and fruits and extracts to the formula. This means we’re not getting any of the known phytonutrients, which ought to be beneficial. It also means we’re not getting any of the toxins, which are bad for us. We’re not getting the substances which appear to be cancer-protective, but we’re also not getting others which are carcinogenic. Yes, there are plenty of cancer-promoting phytochemicals.

When you add a plantstuff to a meal, you’re adding a wide variety of phytochemicals, not just nutrients - many are inert, but some are nutrients, some are toxins, some (aflatoxins, alkenylbenzenes, etc.), are known to be carcinogenic!

You may not need as many cancer-protective substances if you’re not consuming as many cancer-causing substances.

We need to remember that when a plant is not added to Soylent, we may miss the good, but we also miss the bad. Remember, they’re trying to make “everything you need and nothing you don’t,” not a super-food chock full of everything that may be good for you. The super health-promoting variant may be on the future road map, along with the keto version, and the low-fat version, and the low-protein version for people with kidney problems… but that’s not what this version of Soylent is supposed to be.

You can always add things to your Soylent diet. Eat some greens. Have some berries. I’m a fan. (But not to much spinach, especially if you have kidney problems, because of the oxalates.) With my DIY, I use a vitamin supplement with a variety of phytonutrients intentionally added; if you want, you can probably find a supplement that focuses on the phytonutrients without the vitamins - but at least you can choose what you’re adding.


According to @rob, probably no time soon,

“Sucralose is one of the most extensively studied chemicals in existence and everything has overwhelmingly pointed to its safety. Soylent also has a very small amount, around 5mg / serving, much lower than other products that contain it.”