Soylent and Fatty Liver


#1

I have been a vegetarian for the past 10 years and mainly for animal welfare, and to also lessen my personal impact on the environment. The side effects of which include lower cholesterol and fat (which I’m predisposed genetically to heart disease and high cholesterol). I also have diverticulitis which is an inflammation or infection in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract. Doctors aren’t sure what causes diverticulitis, but some suggest it’s food particles or solids that get caught and become infected in the small pouches. A liquid diet would negate this and essentially lessen the chance of me having any symptoms from diverticulitis. I decided to try out soylent.

I never had the gas, weird poops, or any other symptoms people have mentioned in tech news, silicon valley vlogs or YouTube challenges. I assume because I wasn’t eating your typical diet of meat with every meal and I already had a high intake of fiber in my diet. Two weeks on 100% soylent and I feel fine, I haven’t lost a pound of weight, and I haven’t had to do dishes since, which is awesome.

I’m sure like a lot of you who drink Soylent on a daily basis, or have replaced solid food all together have had a lot of concerned friends and family. I have some friends and my sister (who is a dietitian) who find it interesting at the very least. My girlfriend however, who is in med school, finds it absurd and unnatural.

She actually asks a doctor she was shadowing and his first question was where is the protein coming from (for which I don’t believe my girlfriend had an answer since she knows nothing of Soylent other than it’s a goop I drink) and is there fiber, which she said yes. I understand there are 80g of protein in each bag of Soylent 1.5. I also add two scoops of whey protein for two meals to boost the protein intake as I’m highly active every day.

The doctor mentioned fatty liver as a potential hazard down the line. I’ve only heard of fatty liver in cases of alcoholism and morbid obesity. I have never heard of this being a risk for people who get proper nutrition, yet in liquid form. In fact, I have heard of pre op fatty liver patients being on a strict liquid diet. I can’t find anything that suggests an all liquid diet will in fact cause fatty liver disease. Does anyone else have any input on this? I’m just curious, and I also want to have a defense for every negative comment. Being informed about my diet and body in general is why I switched from being a vegetarian to a soylent customer.


#2

If you search for “fatty liver” on discourse, you’ll find there are a few threads that mention it.

In a very, very high level summary: It looks like some people are concerned because of the fat content of 2.0, some people because of the maltodextrin, and some because of the soy. A quick glance over the threads seems to indicate that there’s no actual concern, particularly for the first and last. (It’s not fatty enough to be a concern, and the soy that’s implicated in fatty liver has been fermented.)

Take all of that with a grain of salt – I just skimmed the threads, and didn’t re-read them. :slight_smile:


#3

I apparently didn’t read any of them because I’m an idiot and posted this long before I took the time to actually stop and browse the forum. I’ll definitely check them out to see what they say!


#4

Your’re still a vegetarian :smile:


#5

haha I’m aware (I still add whey protein so technically not a vegan) but I was implying I ate solid food!


#6

It isn’t the liquid or the fat, it is the carbohydrates, which in the large excess they are present in soylent are processed into fat in the liver, causing fatty buildup in the liver. Moving to a lower carb diet should help prevent this.


#7

Would you mind posting some studies showing that the amount of carbs in Soylent cause fatty liver?


#8

Large excess? Really?


#9

Absolutely. Soylent, even it’s newest installment, isn’t great on the GI and still has enough carbs to keep the body continuously carb loaded, and continuous carb loading prevents fat burning, increases resistance to leptin, making you more hungry over time, increases insulin resistance, and causing buildup of fatty tissue around vital organs (and possibly elsewhere, depending entirely on your genetics). It might be lower carb than diets containing mostly pasta and pizza, but anything over 100g per day of carbs is unnecessarily large with no biological justification.

At best I imagine it would be cost savings over increased fats.


#10

Not specifically, as I don’t have the funding to run such a specific study, and we don’t do a great deal of studies as to the cause of disease because they would be rejected by any ethics board in the civilized world. What we do have studies for is carbs in the diet as it compares to weight, weight loss, organ fat, and various inflammatory markers. The doctor in the OP probably thought that, without being informed, Soylent was likely close to something like Ensure that is much, much higher in carbohydrates and low in fats, and would rapidly lead to weight gain, fatty accumulation, and blood sugar issues. Soylent is clearly better, but given the epidemic rise in obesity throughout society, claiming that it mimics the average macronutrient ratios of an average diet is not a sign that it is healthy. So here follows are studies relating to carbohydrates and weight loss, inflammatory markers, NAFLD, heart disease, etc:









#11

Wasn’t really asking you to post your own work. There are plenty of studies showing the effect of diet on a wide variety of health conditions much like the ones you posted.


#12

For readers, @chris_sudlik has discussed this further here: Carbohydrates Too High?

Looking forward to seeing all of us Soylent consumers start to put on weight like any minute now, for sure.


#13

You miss the part where insulin sensitivity is extremely varied genetically, such that some people can eat a carb heavy diet and not gain weight or suffer many severe, immediate consequences outside of multi-decade timescales. Few of you not gaining weight while others complained and stopped using soylent, moved on to the rest of life is not evidence against the problem, you are just lucky enough genetically to be luckier than some. Good for you. Doesn’t change the facts.


#14

Most of those studies would be geriatric. The lower the carb loading the longer it takes to see effects, especially the better a person’s natural insulin resistance is. The older we look the less there is, but there are still some few studies, and they appear to back up my position over the opposition:


#15

You hear that guys? Chris did a survey to establish the facts. Well done Chris.


#16

What is your problem? I’m trying to be civil here. Why don’t you do a survey of people who stopped using soylent or a study to show that the constant high carb loading is actually health? Some science, any whatsoever, to support your position (and i mean studies, not recommendations divorced from the evidence by dietary “authorities”), I’d be more than happy to read it. Somebody asked a question, I answered. No need to be such a prick, when if I’m wrong, you could easily undermine my argument by simply posting evidence to the contrary.


#17

I am being a dick, sorry about that. But when you say

That’s not really evidence either. That’s your impression of what happened, based (as far as I understand) on reading this forum.

The studies are cool, I appreciate you posting them. But when you say things like

and

I think you’re going beyond evidence.


#18

I have been taking Soylent 1.5 for a few months now for at least 2 meals a day. I also have fatty liver. Will be doing labs in a few months and will update with results. I personally am not concerned about the ratio of current carbs. My job makes it hard to carry lunches, or even eat (thus Soylent came to be). Almonds, rye crackers…as lo GI as I could get, but mostly trying to find something healthy drive thru. I know what I am getting, and I know it is less than the carbs I had before. But, I would like to know too.


#19

but anything over 100g per day of carbs is unnecessarily large with no biological justification.

The Mayo Clinic disagrees with you.

…if you consume 2,000 calories a day, you would need to eat between 900 and 1,300 calories a day from carbohydrates or between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates a day.

And so does the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine:

To meet the body’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein.

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/carbohydrates

Bottom line is that spreading scare stories does not help the situation.


#20

Well, I disagree with Mayo Clinic.

Your body uses carbohydrates as its main fuel source.

It can, but mine does not. That “article” is full of other inaccuracies.