Soylent "Glass"?


#1

There are water clear versions of whey and soy protein isolate, as well as low GI carb sources that dissolve clear in water. There’s also clear fiber additives, and liquid sources of vitamins that are very clear.

I think it would be interesting to pursue a visually clear version of Soylent, but I can’t find any way of getting around the oils. Any oils I’ve looked at, combined with an emulsifier, will make drinks cloudy and opaque.

Does anyone know of a way to make emulsified oils transparent, or clear, in a water based suspension?

I just think it would be neat to get complete nutrition from a crystal clear beverage.


#2

This strikes me as a totally pointless cosmetic exercise that would only complicate the matter of attaining a nutritionally balanced formula with no physiological issues. It has no conceivable nutritional benefit attached. So where’s the “science” behind this idea?


#3

This is a cute exercise. Googling “transparent fat,” after all the stuff about trans fat, yielded this, where a scientist describes how to derive a transparent oil from pig lard.

5 kg of pig lard was divided in pieces of 1 cm3 and placed in water with a temperature of 90°C. After a while a thin layer of pure oil from the lard formed on top of the water, and was removed by a spoon and placed in a separate container. This process was continued for 6 hours until the oil secretion process had slowed down. The substance obtained still contained water and other visible tissue structures. After cooling the oil had solidified into a pure white grease that could be separated easily from the remaining water and a gelatinous substance. The solid oil was then heated once more to 80°C and filtered twice in liquid state. After that the oil was heated again to 80°C and poured onto a filter containing Sodium sulphate to remove the last traces of water. Finally the oil was placed in a centrifuge for 30 minutes at 1000 rpm at a constant temperature of 70 °C. The bottom of the reaction tubes still contained some remaining sediment and the pure oil was separated by pipette from the tube, resulting into 250 ml of oil that is visually clear at temperatures of 37°C and up.

Nutritional quality? Probably not great, I would guess! But it’s transparent!


#4

Yes, pointless, and gimmicky, but “neat.” :smile:

Neither does the visual effect of drizzling sauce on a plate. It makes the visual presentation more enjoyable, but mostly, it would just be neat.

This is mostly a thought exercise, and if you wanted to inject a scientific rationale into it, it can easily segue into the chemistry of food preparation (and has already elicited an interesting article.)

Thanks nwthomas!


#5

OK, so this scientist’s suggestion won’t work for us, because I failed to notice that 37 centigrade (the temperature at which his oil is clear) is 98.6 fahrenheit, which is clearly too hot for soylent! However, there is a much simpler solution: coconut oil. I have just now verified for myself that melted coconut oil is transparent, and its melting temperature is well within drinkable range. No idea about emulsion yet.


#6

??? Coconut oil is quite solid at room temperature! I use it in my own Soylent, but it works only because (a) it’s stirred and blended into a very warm, thick cereal gruel, and (b) the end product gets frozen. (I either nuke it if I want it thawed, or let it stand awhile and eat it half-frozen as the mood strikes me; it’s too thick to drink in any case, so oil suspension problems don’t arise.) Nope, can’t see how coconut oil would do the job.

If that is the sole objective, okay, but Soylent already has enough detractors without injecting a totally non-serious cosmetic approach to any aspect of product design/formulation, wouldn’t you think?


#7

The drink would need to be warmed, so that the coconut oil melted. When it melts it is transparent. I have the coconut oil right here.


#8

Yes, and I don’t think any glass soylent is gonna taste very good warmed; probably would need a pretty good chill on it to get it down at all.

Said he, complacently spooning up his soylent pudding-ice-cream! :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

It’d be a good marketing gimmick - it might make the drink more intellectually palatable to a wider range of people. The current beige color is mildly offputting.

Lol. I’ve read about people leaving their fiber additives to soak too long. Clumpy Soylent Slime, mmm, nomnomnom.


#10

Quick update: I made a prototype “soylent glass” recipe using things I had around the house, and got all the numbers to go to 100%. I am now going to make it and take a picture.


#11

For the first time I have to disagree with you, Jeffrey! :open_mouth:
There would indeed not be much of a point in putting valuable development time into this cosmetic thing at this stage, however the beauty of having so many DIYers is that there’s plenty of brainpower to go around, more than the actual development (of the nutritional aspect) of Soylent could possibly use.
If 1-2 people want to see if they can make a transparent Soylent, let them!

I would have absolutely no use for it, however I’m still very curious to see Thomas’ picture.

And in the future there MIGHT be a use for this kind of research already being done:
If Soylent is ever to become a widely accepted mass market thing (I don’t know if it will), it would indeed help if it was also visually appealing - I think that Scandinavian Soylent Bar might have a special interest in that. :slight_smile:


#12

The recipe is here:

http://makesoylent.com/recipes/51f4c5f9aab3ab020000009c

http://imgur.com/0fmqdLt

As you can see, it is unfortunately not transparent. :-/ As you maybe can’t see, it is at least translucent. The egg whites are a big culprit here (I used real egg whites, not having egg white powder). I just don’t have any invisible protein laying around, sadly! Furthermore, I made the erroneous assumption that every micronutrient would dissolve nicely; this obviously-in-retrospect wasn’t true. Just a little bit of, for example, calcium phosphate is enough to make a lot of water cloudy – and then when you have multiple things like that, the effect stacks.

The things that are perfectly invisible are the maltodextrin, dextrin (fiber), potassium gluconate, and coconut oil. I have this guess that gluconates in general will dissolve; so replace magnesium citrate with magnesium gluconate, for example. I wonder if every single vitamin and mineral has a form that dissolves perfectly? I’m also a little skeptical that 100% transparent protein exists; but if we can get close, that’ll still be cool.

When the coconut oil cools off it floats to the surface as this white foamy stuff. Obviously not a great solution. What oils are transparent at room temperature? And how do we keep them in the mix?


#13

Very rought guess here:
All animal flesh contains some amount of protein, right?

Think Jellyfish!


#14

“Dehydrated” Olive Oil method - using this type of mixture, you might be able to more evenly distribute the oil initially, even though it will eventually rise.

Isopure provides a clear whey protein isolate powder. The “Isopure Whey” is clear in water. It’s completely unflavored, they have a process that clarifies it. Check out their clear drinks, you can see some on youtube, but since this is a weird use for that aspect, there’s not a whole lot of “look! clear liquid!” pictures or videos out there, lol.

There’s also the clear fiber additives based on psyllium husks, I think. Metamucil clear, or something like that.


#15

That’s a brilliant protein powder! I see that it also provides adequate amounts of all the micronutrients except iron, choline, chloride, sodium, potassium, and sulfur. So in essence all that really remains is the fat issue. (As well as finding soluble forms of iron and choline.) Incredible!

Edit: Sadly I was confusing it for another protein powder on that site. None of that is true. What have you found in the way of clear vitamin supplements?


#16

Extra Light Olive Oil

This looks like a likely candidate. Never realized there were so many grades of olive oil.


#17

OK, so completely colorless vegetable oils do exist; see, for example, this. They are expensive; but that’s not really a surprise. The main application they seem to be used for is not food, but cosmetics; again no surprise.

It seems like xanthan gum would work as an emulsifier, if it dissolves invisibly. Does anybody know whether it does?

Anybody found any colorless liquid multivitamins?


#18

I’m not so closed-minded that I can’t see the intellectual appeal of it, Ben. And I hadn’t thought about the Scandinavian market, to whom such an item might have extra appeal. Call it “Soylent Absolut”! I’m as curious as you are… well, maybe not possible as you are CuriousBen, but nearly as curious, to see what it looks like and I’d be most intrigued to have a taste – I think it would be quite an extra challenge to get it to taste good.

But come on, surely you can agree that this IS a purely cosmetic exercise and rather precious withal. No?


#19

Yup, purely cosmetic, but think about the ease with which you could make different colorings and flavorings for novelty’s sake, or to visually separate different formulations. Red for weight loss, Blue for bodybuilding, etc.

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Those are much more visually appealing than this:

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Even if it’s not crystal clear, that’s not necessarily the point of this thread. If you can achieve the nutritional profile of Soylent in a translucent or transparent beverage, it’s going to be easier to convince people to purchase it than the pasty beige colored stuff. There might be other cosmetic alterations that would fulfill that agenda, like food colorings, different types of fiber or maltodextrin analogues.

Marketing, especially in this day and age, isn’t just about the intrinsic value of a product, but how you can sell it. People are very visual, and if they see something like the Gawker article (comparing the look of Soylent to semen) then that’s going to have a long term negative impact. It irks me that people are that shallow, statistically speaking, but if you can formulate a pretty (albeit precious) version, then things are much more marketable.

Plus, playing off the whole Soylent Green, Soylent Red, Soylent Yellow, etc, taps into a pretty deep rooted western culture meme, which can be humorously reinforced, providing positive feedback in the marketing cycle.


#20

Definitely vibing with what you’re saying about marketing, @jrowe47. It gives it this clean, tech vibe which honestly I think conveys the philosophy of soylent much better than the appearance of the existing mixes.

To answer my own question about xanthan gum: I bought some, and it’s not transparent, though it’s also not terribly opaque. I just bought Bob’s Red Mill. I have to wonder if more pure xanthan gum would be more transparent. I’m also wondering if I can get away with using much less of it, while still keeping the oil emulsified.

In my experiments so far with xanthan gum, the oil is visible in the water as suspended droplets. Looks pretty damn cool. In this context, the yellow color of the oil isn’t really noticeable; this may not end up being a big deal. At least not until we can get a much better emulsifier.

More pictures soon.