Psychological/Mood Effects


#1

What have people been experiencing as far as the effects an all soylent diet has had on their mood, and overall psychology? One of the main reasons I became interested in soylent is that I have trouble with depression and anxiety, and was hoping that improving my diet and making sure I was getting the adequate amount of the necessary nutrients would help this. In my research, I have found anxiety linked to deficiencies in potassium and magnesium, bolstering my hopes. I had already found an interesting effect of less anxiety and depression from taking fish oil pills, which I had started taking for heart health.

I’ve just started on Soylent (today is my first full day, literally just finished my last glass), and am already struggling willpowerwise to stay on it at least for one week, to be able to feel whatever effects there might be. It would be helpful to hear about anyone else’s success in this regard.


#2

How faithful is your recipe to the original? As people share their recipes we’re noticing that some may not be getting as much out of it as they would from the original.


#3

If you love food, soylent definitely involves willpower. Most nights I want real food. The mornings and days are fine. Personally, I feel higher energy and a bit more stable mooded from soylent, but I also use a homemade veggie juice as well which I think helps. If you need your willpower for something else, it might be better (and easier) to just make sure you get adequate levels of nutrients from eating healthy food rather than trying to soylent. If you don’t mind mustering up the willpower (and can forgive yourself an occasional slip), and make sure to cover all your nutrients, then soylent’s great. Personally I’ve been on soylent for 2 weeks now. Though one day I ate half a pizza though and it was awesome. And every night I do deal with carb cravings that I have to consciously let go. They get easier though and it’s helping to restructure my relationship with food. Good luck.


#4

The trouble I’m having is probably with the amount of carbs, as well as the fact that I’m not going about it too scientifically to determine the right amount. The times that I have gone almost a whole day on Soylent but then ended up eating something have not been due to weak will, but rather feeling physically weak, and eating a meal to “play it safe”. These days however I had exercised, rather than determining my carb needs for a day without exercise, then stepping it up from there. The reason I’m resistant to that idea is because exercising is one of the main ways I boost my mood and confidence, and with my job I can go weeks without time to get to the gym, so I don’t like to take too much time off of it when I have the free time. So it’s really about setting priorities and figuring out how to make it work.


#5

Have Soylent for breakfast only. Take it slow and start small?


#6

I want to keep the discussion of anxiety and depression going. I’m 33 years old and have been dealing with mild to moderate depression for about a decade now, and have dealt with it in a number of ways - in no particular order: pills, therapy, gluten free diet, exercise and alcohol.

I have tested positive for celiac disease twice in the last six months, so removing gluten is a necessity and I’m now convinced that the improvement in mood I felt when trying a gluten free diet prior to the diagnosis was real and not imagined or placebo related. It’s also likely that my depression is a consequence of the food absorption problems caused by celiac disease (it damages the lining of the intestine - less food is absorbed).

If a gluten free diet alleviated some of my depression, Soylent has improved it dramatically. Previously my diet was quite healthy. I ate a ton of roughage in the form of fresh greens and vegetables, lots of eggs and fresh meat. However, I have always been a rather low-energy, not terribly social person. I worked out and socialized, but it required a lot of effort. I suspect I just wasn’t turning most of that food into energy. I believe the easily digestible carbohydrate (about 50/50 maltodextrin and oat powder) in Soylent is the main factor in my current, unprecedentedly high mood and energy levels. At work, I am finding I need to leave my desk to go chat with people. This is very uncharacteristic for me. Before Soylent I’d been working up to swimming a mile (36 laps). Shortly after I started Soylent I found myself unsatisfied if I swam less than 40 or more. I am biking as well. Previously I was happy with fairly flat route, but now I seek hills.

The discipline I had as a teenager to practice tedious scale and chord patterns on guitar has returned. I’m a considerably better player than I was 3 weeks ago, due to the fact that this is fun again and I’ve got a ton of spare time to play.

I’ve been doing this for about a month, not quite exclusively, but often I go all day on only Soylent. I’m using a DIY Soylent recipe I found here: http://discourse.soylent.me/t/a-beginner-s-diy-recipe/2468/4. My macros are about 40% carb, 25% protein, 35% fat. I eat about 2800 calories a day for a 5’10", 165 pound frame. I’m going to continue this test for a while longer, then switch to a diet with more easily digestible carbs to see how my mood is impacted. Obviously I’m suspicious of a placebo effect, as my depression has abated and returned several times, but I’m very optimistic that I’m onto something good here.

Since my depression is likely diet related, I may not be the best comparison for you. But I will say that you’ve got time to go to the gym everyday if you have a thermos of Soylent in your bag.

So how’s it going @adam_king_xv?


SCD Soylent for Celiac's, Chron's, IBD, UC, etc
#7

This is the one thing about Soylent that freaks me out, mainly because we don’t seem to be able to explain it. People who consume Soylent, even without nootropics, seem to be on a constant high.

Is it the finely calibrated balance between fat, protein and carbs? The fact that we’re drenched ourselves with pretty much every single micro-nutrient we could need?

Either way, it needs to be studied.


#8

I am in a similar boat :wink:

Actually there are a few potential explanations (2 off the top of my head). One of the theories of depression is that inflammation is a (partial or complete) cause. If you are celiac you will often get depression / anxiety alongside because the resulting inflammation affects the brain as well as the body. Even in non celiac people there might be unnoticed food intolerances causing inflammation. There is also the high omega 6 that is in the standard diet which is pro inflammatory, which may be drastically improved on soylent (if you use olive oil, and used to fry food in sunflower or some similar crap this will be a vast improvement ;))

You also have potential deficiencies that are being fixed, and if you have ever had a go on cronometer.com you will realise how hard it is to actually get the rda’s even with a good diet.

So there are at least 2 potential routes to mood improvement via soylent.


#9

Just a few examples:

Potassium deficiency symptoms: fatigue, sleepiness, muscle weekness and cramps, arrhytmia
Phosphorous deficiency symptoms: joint pain, joint stiffness, low energy, lacking appetite
Thiamin deficiency symptoms: lacking appetite, gastric upset, depression, inability to focus
Note: depression likes to hang out with fatigue and low energy.

And there is more. :smile:

In addition to that, when on Soylent, you spent much less energy on digesting.

I believe there is no further explanation needed. :smile:


#10

Your last one is true, we spend 10% of what we eat digesting it. But how do you explain the newfound ability to concentrate and the always feeling peppy?


#11

When on Soylent, one is always well-nourished and the brain simply can afford high energy usage caused by intensive thinking.

Try eating at MCDonalds for a week. Next week, eat high quality, balanced, easily-digestible food. You should see similar difference.
You are what you eat. You eat crap - you feel like a crap. You eat normal food - you feel normal. You eat good food - you feel good. You eat something superior than most food - you feel superior.


#12

To be honest, couple with the maxed-out-on-micro-nutrients hypothesis that seems like the best explanation.


#13

Well, whatever it is, I’m glad it’s working, but I’m pretty certain it’s the maltodextrin. While waiting for my 12 pound bag to come in the mail, I picked up some carbohydrate at a local GNC. Vitargo worked okay in the past, but was really expensive. This time I tried waxy maize and I noticed myself being the same old guy. Sorta depressed, pissy a lot of the time, never talkative.

Any of these nutrient deficiency theories are possible, but I never had a blood panel indicate I was missing anything, and during this trial without the maltodextrin I was still getting the same micronutrients. I’m wondering if my gut has been so badly damaged that I couldn’t even digest most of the carbs I was eating. I think this is most likely.


#14

You can check this one easily, all you need is a good glucometer. :wink:


#15

So you all basically have a sugar rush?


#16

All the time? With half-oat version? No way.


#17

I suspected a sugar rush when I first took it. It feels great, and there is no crash, but maybe that’s because I take it throughout the day. Then again, I was feeling better in the morning before I took any Soylent.

I’ll definitely get a glucometer and do some testing with regular food.


#18

Please do. We need that data to see if all Soylent is doing to us is turning us giddy.


#19

@lester - Can I ask how your anxiety and depression has been going and whether you have remained on Soylent?


#20

There are still more nutrients that may play a role in depression. One is choline, a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Various amino acids are also neurotransmitters themselves or precursors. There’s actually a heritable form of depression that’s caused by an inability to synthesize the non-protein amino acid taurine.

I’ve been depressed for most of my life, and I’ve been on Prozac since the nineties. This was very effective for me until about six years ago when episodes returned. Prior to soylent, I tried a shotgun approach of supplementing a bunch of amino acids and choline. This seemed to help, but my diy has given me moods that remind me of my early days on Prozac. Not everyday, but enough to keep me coming back for more. Official Soylent made me feel vaguely ill so that may have masked any positive effects.