Science Behind 1.4 Macronutrient Ratio Change


#1

Hey Everyone,

It seems like there has been a great deal of interest in the macronutrient change from 1.3 to 1.4. In case anyone is interested, we decided to discuss the scientific rationale behind the change and why it helps make the best version of Soylent yet. I’ve pasted a version of the discussion below, however to see the complete list of footnotes and citations, head over to the FAQ page.

Keep on asking great questions!

Best,

Alando


One of the biggest changes in 1.4 was the readjusted macronutrient energy ratio - commonly referred to as just the macronutrient ratio.

In Soylent versions 1.3 and earlier, the energy was divided as follows: 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent of calories from fats and 20 percent of calories from protein. Alternatively, this could be written as a macronutrient ratio of 50/30/20.

In version 1.4, the ratio was adjusted to 43 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 40 percent of calories from fats and 17 percent of calories from protein, or 43/40/17.

The data from internal tests showed that the reduction of protein, specifically from 114 grams per pouch in 1.3, to 84 grams per pouch in 1.4 resulted in greatly improved digestibility. Furthermore, the increase in unsaturated fats allowed for a more even release of energy.

Finding the perfect macronutrient ratio is a balance between the best mix of short- and long-term energy. Too much short-term energy - provided via simple carbohydrates - can cause one to experience an energy “rush” and subsequent “crash”.

In contrast, too much long-term energy, via lipids (primarily fats) and proteins, can leave one feeling tired for several hours after digestion, until the body is able to harvest energy from slow-metabolizing fats and proteins.

Historic studies have suggested positive correlations between fat consumption and coronary heart disease. Modern science, however, has tweaked this definition to instead focus on the correlation between saturated fat consumption and coronary heart disease.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends that fats account for 25 to 35 percent of total energy intake. However, the Food and Nutrition Board notes that the upper limit is designed to prevent over-consumption of saturated fats.

Saturated fats are linked to increases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is positively associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, saturated fats have been shown to block the expression of LDL receptors, which ultimately prevents this unhealthy type of cholesterol from being filtered out of the bloodstream.

In February, the annual report published by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, further examined the significant health differences between saturated and unsaturated fats.

The report conducted a statistical review of four published meta-analyses, which in turn evaluated dozens of clinical trials of hundreds of thousands patients. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s analysis found that for every 1 percent of energy intake of saturated fats that was replaced by an equivalent amount of polyunsaturated fats, the number of cases of coronary heart disease was reduced by 2 to 3 percent. (A review of the different types of fats in Soylent can be found here.)

This conclusion is in line with significant quantities of evidence which show that unsaturated fats, unlike saturated fats, do not increase LDL cholesterol concentrations in the bloodstream.

Soylent is a new type of food that is designed to have modular ingredients that only contribute to primarily one or two nutrient levels. As such, it is possible to provide a macronutrient energy ratio that is 40 percent energy due to fat, without the negative health effects of saturated fat. Ultimately, this results in the healthiest, best-tasting blend of Soylent yet.


#2

It would be nice if you gave us a more detailed brake down of the fat profile in 1.4. Showing the monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega 3, ALA, DHA, EPA, and omega 6 values would go a long way toward helping us accepted the new increase in fat content.

Also there may be a typo on the fat FAQ page. It says 1.4 has 150g of sunflower oil. This would account for more than the 96g of the fat in 1.4.


#3

So why did you increase the saturated fats from 3g to 12g per day? Soylent is now at the upper-range of what’s acceptable for someone who needs to watch their LDL levels.


#4

Danke!

This may not be the place to ask, but has there been any talk at RL about making a room temperature Soylent recipe that is still palatable?

I realize room temperatute liquid consumption is rare in most cultures so if it proves too difficult, no worries!


#5

room temperature soylent goes rancid very fast


#6

Within the 30 seconds it would take me to drink it?


#7

If you stay at home and you can make a glass at a time, that would work for you, but that dont work for many


#8

There are more types of saturated fats though, aren’t they? For example, I was under the impression that MCT oil is “fine”, seeing it in many DIY recipes. Keto recipes are usually high in saturated fats too.


#9

That would be a huge benefit. Instead of keeping the liquid around, I could just have a cup with powder. Go to sink, add water: Meal!

Would be great for ease of use.


#10

There are those who say that the link between saturated fat and LDL is not actually a link with heart disease, since saturated fat is linked with a “healthier” version of LDL that doesn’t clog arteries or something.


#11

Sat fats, MCTs, etc., this is an area that is fraught with speculation, especially in popular coverage of the medical science, but more and better research is happening all the time.

Recently, the focus has shifted from dietary cholesterol to blood cholesterol; we’re abandoning the idea that dietary cholesterol leads to elevated blood cholesterol, but elevated blood cholesterol is still a strong marker for coronary artery disease risk. Current research seems to show that dietary cholesterol (in reasonable amounts) does not lead to elevated blood cholesterol - but that high intake of saturated fats does. So sat fats are still in the “careful” category.

MCTs (medium-chain-triglycerides, or MCFAs, medium-chain-fatty-acids) are saturated fats. They are handled a little differently than longer-chain saturated fats (easier to transport), but they are still different from unsaturated fats. They are definitely easier to take up and burn as energy than other sat fats, so if you eat them instead of other sat fats, you’re comparatively more likely to burn them than store them… but in other ways, they still have some of the less-healthy aspects of saturated fats. For example, they raise your blood cholesterol more than unsaturated fats do. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105472/)

Of course, if you’re eating less the total calories you need - or at least, no more than the calories you need - then your body tends to burn it all up. It’s when you’re eating an excess that the problems really start compounding.

New research is continuing to tease out the specifics; each pass gives more and more detail, both because the research builds on the old research, but also because new research is using more and more detailed lab analysis as well as better understanding of all the pathways, enzymes, gene expressions, etc., that are involved.