Soylent from an HAES perspective?


So it might be that the intersection of the set of people excited about the soylent concept and the set of people committed to an HAES philosophy has only one member, me. But maybe not, maybe somebody else is lurking?

Health at Every Size (you can google it) is the idea that you maximize your odds for good health by focusing on your habits rather than on what you weigh. Habits are under your direct control, whereas weight is not directly or consistently malleable. In fact, the most common long-term outcome of weight-loss attempts is actually weight gain. But people who set out to improve their eating and exercise habits in sustainable ways generally show improved health indicators regardless of whether they also happen to lose weight as a side effect.

The appeal of soylent to people who believe in weight-loss dieting or body-sculpting is obvious. But if possible I’d also like to see soylent marketed to and discussed by the growing community of people who no longer believe in dieting and weight loss.

And I’d like to talk about ways of handling a DIY recipe so as to adapt for daily consumption based on appetite rather than calorie count. And maybe there could even be a recipe label for us? That is, if it isn’t just me.


I’ve never heard of this but I guess I’m probably a believer. I’ve said for years that weight is totally the wrong metric to track… it’s just that it’s so easy and convenient because we have scales. I’m much more interested in how I feel, how my clothes fit, etc. than in how much I weigh.

Not really contributing anything I guess, just thought I’d at least cast my vote in favor of the HAES concept. =)


As I understand it, the RDIs of most nutrients scale based on calories. That is, if the RDI of protein for a 2000 calorie diet is 50 grams, for someone who only consumes 1500 calories it will be 37.5 grams. For someone who consumes 3000 calories it will be 75 grams.

So Soylent or any other “complete” nutrition drink/food should theoretically be suitable for this purpose (within a reasonable frame of perhaps 1200-4000 calories per day). It provides an appropriate amount of nutrition when 2000 calories’ worth is consumed, so it will necessarily provide an appropriate amount of nutrition when either more or fewer calories are consumed.

I don’t know if protein needs specifically scale like this (recommendations for protein intake are often based on weight and/or lean body mass, not calories consumed), and Soylent exceeds the RDI of protein by quite a bit anyway, so maybe protein isn’t the best example. But I expect it will be accurate for many vitamins and minerals.

I would suggest looking at official Soylent and/or some of the more popular DIY recipes, and determine at various calorie levels (e.g., 1200 calories, 1500, 2000, … up to 4000) whether the recipes are abjectly deficient in anything at 1200 calories, or have a dangerous surplus at 4000 calories (etc.). I expect a standard soylent recipe will work well when calories are scaled, and if anything you might recommend supplementing certain nutrients if a consumer is at the lower end of the calorie scale on a particular day.


Body fat% is a better indicator :slight_smile: not too high, not too low, combined with enough movement to get the old cranks moving and nutrition to keep the pipes flowing


Hey, vanclute. I’ve seen your posts on other threads. So it seems like you and your partner are just eating however much soylent you feel like eating, not trying to hit a specific daily intake target. This is sort of what I have in mind too.


Vicc, thanks for the sensible advice. The idea that all the nutrients scale together is extremely appealing, and Rob seems to be making that claim in the packaging of original soylent when he says you can just eat more of it or less to suit your particular needs. But I wonder if the biology is really so tidy. Like, if I run an ultramarathon one day and the next day feel inclined to consume some three times my usual total fuel intake, does it really follow that it’s perfectly fine for me also to have three times the usual vitamin A? I mean, maybe it is, maybe extra exertions and stresses always draw on all nutritional inputs equally. But maybe not, maybe there are some core maintenance routines of the body that are unaffected by what I do or don’t do in terms of voluntary exercise. I wonder whether anybody knows the answer?

I am thinking of creating a DIY-complete recipe based on, say, 1200 calories, but then in practice handling the micronutrients separate from the macros. I would take my very carefully measured daily micronutrient mix and divide it into 3-4 roughly equal piles–at this point it’s not necessary to be exact, as long as I get all of them into me over the course of the day–then every time I want to eat I have a big heap of macros plus a little heap of micros, and if late in the day I run out of micros but still want to eat again I can mix up an extra meal of just macros…

In practice I don’t think it will be any more difficult than any other DIY. It will just require more and smaller containers.

What nutrients present the greatest danger of overdose? Is manganese a problem? I am very fond of oats. If I make oats my most important carbohydrate staple, and then there’s also manganese in my vitamin supplement (very likely), and manganese in the protein powder (also likely)… that could all add up to bump me over the limit.

@Tordenskjold, Well, at least bodyfat% has some kind of physiological reality, where weight is a complete chimera measuring nothing biologically real. People have just all collectively agreed to shut their eyes and hope that since it’s so easy and cheap to measure weight precisely and so difficult to measure bodyfat, that the two correlate reliably. But even bodyfat% strikes me as a fairly blunt instrument. Really, you think somebody with a tubby butt and thighs is the exact equivalent of somebody who has a lot of fat packed in around their internal organs, provided the two both have the same total fat percentage? Anyway, your fat’s going to collect where it collects; body composition is not in our direct control either.


I doubt they all scale equally… but the body also has wide tolerances on how much you get, so scaling with consumption is probably close enough. Consuming 3x your normal intake once is a very different thing than consuming 3x the level of nutrients every day for a long time.


Oops, I only just noticed this response addressed to me. Sorry bout that!

So yes, we’re just consuming whatever we feel like (including conventional food as desired). Frankly trying to track to the ounce how much Soylent we consume, goes against a lot of the reason we wanted Soylent in the first place. That being said, I’ll likely change my tune on that once our MyVessels arrive sometime next year! :wink:

Interestingly however, one side effect of Soylent we didn’t expect at all has been the hugely increased endurance. Especially in her case. She’s easily working 2x as many hours every day in the yard, plus doing it consecutive days in a row whereas previously she required a day of rest in between. This has resulted quite noticeably in an increased metabolism, which also includes being hungrier and consuming more calories (Soylent and others) than our “goals” in MyFitnessPal said we could.

The net result over the last 2.5 months is that our clothes are looser than they have been in a long time, despite weight loss being minor. We also have both noticed that we “move easier” in general. Simply walking, bending, sitting down & standing up, etc. have all become more fluid and feel strangely easier. My theory that we were now more effectively converting fat to muscle, was backed up the other day by a routine trip to the doctor. Body fat is down, muscle is up, and resting metabolic rate is up. And in my case at least… all without doing any additional physical activity.

Pretty dang cool, I gotta say.


Weight as proxy for excess body fat has been one of those things that sets me off for years. Waist circumference is the best measure we have (including total body fat %, as that doesn’t account for healthy vs unhealthy distribution of reserves, in women particularly). It doesn’t compare across individuals well, but then, neither does weight.


Yep agreed… I’m constantly having to remind my other half that weight is the wrong metric to be tracking and is meaningless. Still, it’s so bloody convenient since we have modern scales… it’s hard not to still check it.


NO BMI bull, either. I can’t believe doctors are using it.


Ugh. Don’t even get me started on BMI.


According to BMI, my 6’3" husband is “overweight” at 200 and “obese” at 240. He looks skeletal at 200. He is quite literally big-boned, no accounting for that with BMI. It irritates me even more when health authorities try to project BMI onto kids, among whom there is even more variation in natural healthy weight.


So in case anybody has followed me here from FFF, welcome, and feel free to get this thread fired up again.