Question about grandma's health tips


I have been on soylent for 3 months and the product and community has been great.
Since you guys have been so supportive, I have another question.

There are lot of grandma tips and treatments like

  • turmeric is good for body cleansing (india)
  • sesame seeds are good for hair (China)
  • fish oil is good for skin (china)
  • coconut oil is good for hair/skin (India)

and so on.

My question is, if sesame seeds really make hair good (chinese hair are very good I think), and other natural ingredients help with other parts of mind and body, arent we missing out on those while on soylent and unintentionally missing out on parts of health which are not part of nutrition items identified on soylent label?

What do you guys think? Is it a risk that 10 years later we may end up with Einstein hair and grandma skin?


The truth is: There are no guarantees, bro.

But your vision is not very probable. If these grandma ingredients really do help, Id theorize that they provide some nutrients you were missing, a problem that soylent wants to solve.


I’d guess that’s not a risk cause those all sound like food myths, and I doubt there’s a nutrient our body uses solely to maintain pretty hair.


Assuming there’s anything at all to those tips, the next question would be what is it about those foods that give them that effect? Soylent may very well already have the necessary ingredients.

If Soylent is found to be lacking in some nutritional value, it can always be modified to include it.

Also, you need to consider, what alternative diet does better? Are you going to follow every ‘grandma tip’ from around the world, or are you going to follow the science?


Very few people are using Soylent for 100% of their calories. If you want those “grandma things” no one is stopping you from adding them to your diet.


Good point. So I think this way

  • science does not claim we know everything. My question is more towards, what do we not know.
  • By eating a variety of foods, we drastically increase our chances of taking compounds that our body needs
  • Each country has been having same cuisine for hundreds of years. So the effects have been well understood and fixed.
  • We do see differences e.g. Chinese and Japanese are short in height (they seem grow much more when in US on US diet, Is it diet or genetics? Punjabis who eat lot more meat are bigger and stronger than rest of Indians (definitely due to diet).

Does that make sense? I am not trying to argue, just putting forth my point with a genuine concern.


When it comes to hair and skin (or fur if your interests are veterinary), the body strives to maintain its essential services first. So (as my vet explained) it’s good to look at the quality of these externals because if the animal is ailing that’s where it will show up first.

Personally, as an older woman whose hair is thinning, I take biotin as a supplement. I wouldn’t require that Soylent provide all those types of extras because supplementing is easy. And people in general are probably not well served by getting large doses of stuff they, personally, don’t need.



It’s clearly diet/lifestyle. The children of affluent Chinese in China, who have more access to food from a young age, also grow much taller.

But you’re talking about countries that have emerged (Japan) or are recently emerging (China) economies, and who have also had periods of serious deprivation in living memory. Those who were born in and grew up under those conditions will be smaller in stature.

Look also at the differences between the North Koreans and South Koreans; these are the same people, culturally and genetically, yet the South Koreans are, on average, two to three inches taller.

These differences are definitely a function of inadequate nutrition versus ample nutrition. In a circumstance of inadequate nutrition, it’s very possible that certain specific things might help. For example, if you’re not able to get fish to eat, and are low on all oils, including essential oils, perhaps using some less expensive fish oil would be good for your skin, as it directly provides essential oils (EPA/DHA).

If you’re eating enough essentail oils, adding fish oil wouldn’t provide that benefit.

Likewise, turmeric has been found to contain antibacterial and antifungal compounds. This means it may be useful as a medicinal. But, if you’re not ill, using it wouldn’t necessarily provide a benefit.

And there’s also the counter-example to consider - what plant compounds are we avoiding which are bad for us? Most plants produce compounds toxic to animals; this prevents them from being consumed to extinction. Over time, we’ve identified (or bred) varieties which are edible, but they may also contain traces of unhealthy compounds. For example, common apples contain a little cyanide. Fortunately, most of the cyanide is in the seeds, so we avoid it by not eating the seeds - but farmers have to be careful to keep their horses and cattle from eating too many apples that fall on the ground, or they’ll become sick.

Most foods are a mix of compounds that promote health, and compounds that promote problems, including cancer. Eating a simple diet of a few healthy foodstuffs avoids both.

Now, are we Soylenteers basing the diet on the right foodstuffs? Are they the most healthful options available? That’s a matter for a lot of continued research!


Wonderful and well thought out reply. Ton of thanks!


There is also a cultural component to how much nutritional benefit people derive from food, in terms of both overall calories and processing. People derive more nutritional benefit from food that is part of their native culture. It’s part of the mind-body connection which can influence how food is digested and used by the body. Here is an article about the scientific study that demonstrated this:

And here is the study itself:

I wish there would be more scientific studies along these lines - there are some surface-level articles about similar research (e.g. but it would be absolutely fantastic to have more controlled studies along the lines of the 1970’s one above, comparing nutritional benefit individuals derive from culturally appropriate foods, or neutral but “regular food” (e.g. balanced meals, fruits, vegetables, etc.) vs. engineered food (e.g. Soylent, nutrition bars, etc.)


I agree, Yozhik, it’s interesting stuff. But, to be fair, I think of it less as a cultural issue and more of a comfort /happiness issue. Our attitude and feelings impact so very much about our health, including how much nutrition we absorb from our food.

The vagus nerve runs between the brain and the stomach, and probably is critical to this effect - but it was relatively unknown for a long time.

Just today, I read about anither finding overturning decades of anatomy “knowledge…” They found that, counter to established belief, the lymphatic system DOES extend to the brain and central nervous system, so the interaction between the brain and the immune system is now known to be more direct and potentially more powerful than previously thought.

They’ll be re-writing the textbooks and rethinking many diseases and syndromes!