Soylent for the athlete?


#1

I am a very active athlete and I am concerned that with Soylent I will receive insufficient calories and protein, but that part is remedied quite simply by adding more maltodextrin and protein. However the not so easy part is that when you are active certain other vitamins am minerals are required at greater demand, that while eating a conventional diet don’t have to worry about as you get them in the food that you eat to obtain more calories. I am having some difficulty pinning down exactly what vitamins and minerals are needed to be increased, and how much they are needed to be increased. (For reference I am 6’, male, crew athlete).

Thanks :slight_smile:


#3

A few things to consider:

  • You’ll want to worry about your protein, carbs, AND fat increase. Throwing matlo and protein is insufficient.
  • Malto also has a quite high GI. Just throwing that it in with your protein without extra fat or fiber will give you a problematic insulin/glucose spike
  • Fiber. Add it. (nih recommends 14 grams per 1000 calories)

As for the vitamins and minerals:

  • Why do you believe you need certain vitamins and minerals in greater demand? If you’re worried you won’t be making more gains, then you could add these mystery vitamins and minerals by taking a sports multivitamin (which will be packed with a ton of water soluble vitamins. B vitamins in particular).
  • Water soluble vitamins and electrolytes will be the vitamins that will be most effective for an active athlete. So you should slowly increase your potassium, sodium, etc. Google search function is your friend.
  • These vitamins and minerals will be most helpful pre-workout and post-work
  • BUT in the end, don’t worry any more than you should already be worrying i.e. you should be talking to your doctor and getting blood tests regardless. Monitor your blood work and see if you’re losing any essentials over time, and then replace them as needed. There is no single rule for adding vitamins and minerals for active people and you are now officially significantly experimenting with your body when you start your soylent dient. Start treating your body as as a unique science experiment and monitor it accordingly.

#4

I also have a similar question. I am running a marathon on 5/5, but normally I plan on running a few times a week (2-5 miles) and I workout with a personal trainer 2-3 times per week.

The trainer recommends a 40% carb / 30% protein / 30% fat diet and soylent is 50 / 20 / 30.

I think I need closer to 3000 calories a day, but I’m not as concerned about the calories needed. I want to have the right percentages and then I can eat as needed.

I want to find a protein (I’m thinking a powder) than can be easily added to Soylent and won’t contain other vitamins and minerals. I found that most proteins contain lots of vitamins in them. I thought this would be unnecessary since I will already be getting these in soylent.

Does anyone know of a protein powder than doesn’t have added vitamins in it that could fit my needs?


#5

Setting the carb/protein/fat ratios aside for a minute…

If 1 gram of vitamin/mineral X is appropriate for a person who consumes 2000 calories a day, wouldn’t it stand to reason that 1.5 grams would be the right amount for a person who consumes 3000 calories a day?

In general I think a person would probably be just fine consuming soylent according to their appetite and/or lack thereof, rather than doing 2000 cal of soylent, plus something else. Think of it as a healthy, widely varying diet of various foods, only blended together. If you are a healthy eater, and then you begin to need more food, eat bigger quantities of your healthy, widely varying diet, right? So why not just drink more soylent?


#6

Now about adding protein:

If you were eating a healthy, widely varying diet, but you needed to add more calories and protein, would you be worried about consuming a protein shake that is fortified with vitamins? Probably not. Now let soylent stand in for your healthy, widely varied diet. Suddenly adding protein to it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, does it? Or maybe it does, for you. But to me it doesn’t seem that worrisome. Just add some protein powder. Or eat some chicken.


#7

Whey protein concentrate is pretty good


#8

Yea, you have some good points. I think I could consume more soylent and add about any protein. I guess my worry was that I would hit an upper limit on a vitamin or mineral. I will probably be fine though. Thanks for the responses!


#9

Regarding the question of additional micronutrients in soylent for athletes, I defer to the advice of Mark Rippetoe in Practical Programming for Strength Training

Bill Starr in his famous book The Strongest Shall Survive advocated the use of the “shovel method”: just take a lot, and the body will excrete what it doesn’t use. Since vitamin toxicity is excruciatingly rare, especially among hard-training athletes, this is good advice.

Of course, this was out of the context of soylent, it would be very easy to reach vitamin toxicity while on soylent. My rule has always been to stay under the “Upper Intake Levels” (UL) as defined by the FDA. Most water soluble micros do not even have UL defined with the notable exception of Niacin (aka B3).

Details thanks to institute of medicine with special attention paid to footnote c on page 1 and footnote b on page 2.


#10

I generally take anything Mark Rippetoe says with a grain of salt because he’s guilty of accepting and repeating broscience., but I’d probably defer to Bill Starr on this one. Even a 2x portion of Soylent won’t be harmful. Besides, if you’re athletic, you generally need more of certain vitamins/minerals such as iron to repair muscle and replace blood. Besides, if our bodies were as sensitive to the inputs as many around here suggest, there’s no way we would have survived or thrived as well as we have. Even the macro ratios are a guideline, not a strict rule. If you’re burning 4000kcal/day, you’re probably drinking, sweating, dipping into fat reserves, replenishing fat reserves, and urinating a lot more as well.

Soylent isn’t going to turn you into an Olympic athlete if you aren’t already one, and deviating from some “perfect diet” isn’t going to destroy your competitive chances. It’s just an easy and cheap way to ensure complete nutrition. If you need to eat more, it’s safe to eat more.

I’m in the same boat as you. I’m a distance runner and struggle with undereating. I plan on eating 1.5-2 packs/day for my initial trial, and if I don’t hate it, I’ll probably switch to having a pack for breakfast/lunch, and eating whatever I want for dinner. For me, going the DIY route isn’t worth it because when I’m going to spend the time preparing food, I’m going to make something I actually enjoy eating.


#11

So in one corner we have “very easy to reach toxic levels” and in the other we have “eh”

I’m with @Exordium01 on this one insofar as I don’t think you should stress about getting more than enough or not enough vitamins or minerals. I’ve focused on hitting DRIs in my DIY soylent and everything else I eat is just gravy. Stressfree.


#12
 So why not just drink more soylent?

I don’t think this works.

Yesterday I got up at 10am, and by 5:30pm had about 3 servings plus milk and gatorade. I felt bloated and was having a hard time consuming more, but I was feeling weak, so I tried to make sure I was full enough, 1/2 hour before my run. I still fell apart on my run at 6pm (4 miles, 1,200’ ascent). My energy levels crashed. Usually my times running or biking are like clockwork.
This has happened to me twice now.
I don’t think just eating more gets Soylent to work for athletic activity.

I know this is an old post but I’m having a hard time finding information about Soylent and strenuous exercise.


#13

I use http://promixnutrition.com/. Cleanest protein I’ve ever used. No additives, grassfed, cold processed. Only con is that it isn’t flavored.


#14

Soylent doesn’t have nearly enough salt for cardio. I tested this with cycling on soylent until I couldn’t catch my breath and everything got really bright and I had low energy. Got home, are a jar of pickles and felt great. So I supplement with salt tabs, usually after runs and rides to replenish salt levels. On the otherhand I have repeatedly pulled days of ~2400 kcal of soylent plus protien after morning and evening rides and the salt tabs, and burning a total of 4k-5k kcals without feeling drained while cycling.


#15

From what you’re saying, salt/pickles before you go for a ride is probably important.
thank you for the response.

So 4k - 5k kcals must be at least 50 miles, no?


#16

23.5 to work and back, 30lbs of saddle bags.

While yes the salt is important to have for the workout, taking it after works fine for me. My thinking is, on a vintage diet I would not have had breakfast before cycling anyway and any excess sodium potassium and calcium (I think) would be urinated out in the morning and your body would be at normal reserve levels. Salt would be expended for muscle use and sweat during the ride so you would need to replenish those reserves. Waiting until the afternoon ride would leave your muscles depleted of salt for the day and under hydrated (not to mention stress on your heart from lack of sodium). So I take the salt right after I stop. Or I’ll take salt supplement about 2 hours into a longer ride.

When riding I usually take a few gulps of soylent every 30 minutes to keep glucose levels high enough to avoid fatigue, since going negative calorie starts burning fat and at high energy outputs fat doesn’t provide enough energy requiring the body to break down muscle tissue. Taking “shots” of soylent while burning fat helps keep burning fat without burning muscle. I also add a protien shake after the rides just in case.


#17

Jesus, that’s quite a commute. Thanks for the information; it’s very helpful.

Ok. I’m concerned about the fact that I feel weak right from the beginning when I do cardio in the early evening. It seems like by that time, you would have already taken salt after your morning ride. I haven’t tried biking yet on all-soylent days; just a few runs.
My run is not long, it’s just that the beginning is is a pretty steep 600 foot ascent. It’s very similar to jogging up 40 or 50 flights of stairs, except on trails. And about 10 minutes into it on a Soylent day, I feel awful.
But I’ll try with salt very soon, and hopefully it will be fixed!

thanks again.


#18

Let me know about the running, I ran varsity cross country. Where I foukd 2 kcal of soylent being insufficient (with sodium chloride, but not an array of buffer salts which could have been the issue) was when I woke up, did a circuit workout, ran 4 miles @ 7:00 pace (getting back in shape, my peak was under 6 min for 8-10 miles) biked to work, biked after about 7 hours at work, did a circuit workout in which I beat my morning counts by a couple, but that’s surprising, and did a 4 mile run. 2 miles in I was dying and dropped to 8:30 -9 min pace. But I think that’s I can’t consume soylent while doing a circuit workout or directly before running and I went full ketosis, which Ibe never run with before


#19

I just did a short version of my run today, after eating salt. It was a big improvement! I would say I feel about 75% as good as normal. I had about 1/2 of a teaspoon of “real salt” (brand name salt: 98.3% NaCl, other trace minerals) just by itself around noon, and I put about 1/2 a teaspoon into my Soylent, which I was consuming all day.

I was able to get to the top of the hill, and I wasn’t falling apart, but I didn’t feel all the way back to average. I also felt like I might lose bowel control, a sensation I’ve had on my my other two runs on soylent days.

Another thing I notice is that my sweat smells faintly of ammonia. Apparently that is typically a result of low carb / high protein, which isn’t the case here.

Finally, I sort of feel like the nutrients are just passing right through me, and I’m not absorbing enough. Sometimes during the day, I feel a little bloated and full but still hungry. Maybe because of a lack of some kind of other salts, or because things are too easy to digest in powder form.

thanks!


#20

First. Just table salt is not enough, potassium is also tapped out for a sedentary doent on soylent. You need more for workouts. In gonn a try to upload my supplement.
The reason I used soylent was because my bowels went crazy during runs. (No pun intended) and I’ve done better since starting soylent actually. I would give at least 8 weeks in a steady diet to make it a habit, tho most self help books recommend 12 weeks. I can tell you that after one week of soylent I’ve never felt better in my colon even on a various diets. The last part is obviously anecdote. But 12 weeks seems to be the settle phase for the body.


#21

Couldn’t upload photo but the pills I take are (SaltStick)® caps two after a 1.5 hour ride works for me.
I should mention I always hydrate during rides