Soylent Digestion Problem from Low Stomach Acid


I have been using my DIY soylent recipe called BulkBarnMax for about two weeks now, with only the occasional meal of real food to supplement. It’s generally great for me – increased energy, weight loss, feeling good all over. But sometimes I have had severe digestive problems that took me a while to figure out. I use a lot of oat flour, so I thought perhaps it was related to the phytic acid that others talk about. But now I understand that it’s a problem of my stomach sometimes not producing enough HCL to activate the protein digestion process. When that happens, the soylent mixture sits there in a lump, giving me cramps. I am prone to low stomach acid in the first place and when I chug a shaker of bland vanilla-tasting liquid as I rush through the day my body isn’t getting the signal it needs to start the protein digestive process. So here is what I do to solve it, in case this is a problem for you:

  1. Drink the soylent when you’re feeling hungry
  2. Eat a bit of sauerkraut, kimchee, or a pickle before you drink the soylent. Even a spoon of vinegar or a drink of lemon water will do.
  3. If all else fails, take a couple of Betaine HCL capsules. These work even after you have drunk the soylent, although like everything they’re more effective if taken before.

Yesterday I had particularly bad cramps from drinking soylent and the Betaine HCL made it all better. I know this won’t be an issue that affects everyone. Most people in their 20’s will not have a problem with this, but stomach acid production decreases as we age. It sort of makes sense, too. We’re taking away the cues of flavour and chewing that signal the body to start producing stomach acid and then dumping a load of protein in the stomach before it’s ready. By the way, my protein source is a high-quality whey isolate which is the most expensive component of my mixture.


@barbarasamson – Thanks for reporting back on your experiences. I had been researching digestive enzymes recently (more of an academic matter for me), so this is an interesting bit of data, and certainly useful for anybody who may be in a similar situation.


What is your recipe? I’d like to compare it to my own. I’m in my 40s. I have noticed I sometimes take longer to digest a meal and was thinking it might be to do with the dilution. Too much water tends to slow it down. This post of yours aligns with that . I wonder then when is it best to consume pure water - so you don’t dehydrate- an hour after a meal so the process has started? Won’t this dilute things for the next meal?


My recipe is BulkBarnMax Note that I only take 1 MSM tablet instead of the 3 listed, since I think there is some sulphur in the protein products that I’m not accounting for. I also think the sodium target of 2.4 grams is too high, so I stick more to a 1.5 gram target.

I have tried the shake with more and less water, but that doesn’t seem to change the digestion. I certainly prefer to put more water in for a thinner shake.


You don’t need any MSM. If you’re getting an adequate amount of complete protein (and you’re getting quite a lot from your whey isolate), then you’re also getting enough SAA.