Soylent ingredient sourcing database?


(I’m sorry, I mistakenly edited away the opening post. Paraphrase given.)

Would anybody be interested in making or using an online list of sources for the various soylent ingredients?


I had also mentioned on another thread a repository for maintaining more detailed nutrient data received from companies (eg: bob’s red mill & truenutrition).

I’m also certain there was a recipe spreadsheet which had a rather impressive resource reference as well.

I’d be willing to offer wiki edit access on the subreddit to get things started, though I’m not sure if you can upload files this way. Maybe just link to dropboxes or an equivalent?


I wouldn’t mind helping. I don’t mind doing back end or front, though would you mind if we stored data in a graph DB (neo4j) on the back end for the following reason.

  1. Rexster is a rest based web server that can interface with any blueprints (BP) enabled graph DB. This would allow us to migrate to any other BP graph DB (which is most) and allows users to interact with our graph through the rest interface.
  2. I have been working with them and want to get more proficient.

Using the graph database we would only need to wrap Rexster to add authentication and https support, and we have a full API. We could then focus mainly on the front end.

One way I see this being useful would be if you could submit a recipe to the service, and your country and in response sources for ingredients, costs, alternative cheaper ingredients, ect are returned.


I actually already have the basis for an ingredient database built into the MakeSoylent app:

Right now you can click an ingredient and see the nutrient content, eg

It also lists the recipes the ingredient is linked to. Features I was planning on adding:

  • Sourcing by country
  • Weight options
  • Images
  • Nutrient breakdown sources (URLs)
  • Comments
  • Ability for users to mark the nutrient contents as ‘verified’ to increase the trust level of nutrient breakdowns. One problem I’ve seen is incomplete nutrient breakdowns on some ingredients.
  • Ability to specify ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ sources of nutrients (eg Maltodextrin would have a primary source of ‘carbs’). This will allow people to search for ingredients by

Other benefits to including ingredients in the app are, for example, the ability to select a country from a recipe and have the ‘source’ links update. Also, the ability to select quantity by time period, eg ‘2 week supply’ and have the costs automatically update.

I can also import the Food Nutrient Database from and have all those ingredients included in the database.


This looks great, @nickp! Sounds like you’re already on this one. I think you have the way to go here, because something integrated into would be a lot more useful than a free-standing site.

Do you have any thoughts on how to avoid duplicate ingredients? As I see it there should be one potassium gluconate, one soy lecithin, etc., which isn’t true right now. This one ingredient entry could then have different user-submitted brands listed (possibly with different nutrition facts), and user-submitted sources of the different brands.

The only way I can think of to achieve this kind of orderly ingredient database would be to have some person or people manually curating it. Of course people should be able to use their own ingredients without anybody else’s approval, so there could be a distinction between a curated list of “official” ingredients, and then “unofficial” ingredients which people can create and use freely. Unofficial ingredients could move into the official list upon being looked at by a curator (who would have the job of verifying nutrition facts, etc.). I would volunteer to be a curator if such a system were set up.


@nwthomas that’s exactly what I was thinking too. Would be more than happy to have you as a curator! Perhaps users can flag one of their ingredients to be ‘vetted’, or even a whole recipe. I noticed people already do this on the forum when asking other users for advice - perhaps mirroring that process on the web app would be useful. It’d also give new users peace of mind when trying a vetted recipe.


Thank you! :slight_smile:

I like that idea very much!


Seconded. Though I’m still experimenting myself, I’d be happy to offer my own understanding of certain compounds that shouldn’t vary much between manufacturers.


I think a very useful service would be the ability to translate a recipe across countries. This would make it much easier to create Soylent if you are not in the states (I’m in Canada). Someone new to Soylent could pick a recipe and then be suggested the equivalent ingredients and sources that gets them as close to that recipe in their country.

You could prioritise by cost equivalence, or nutritional equivalence.

The USDA has a web service for retrieving nutritional info.

Canada has database files that may be used directly for nutritional info.

And I also don’t mind helping in anyway, including vetting submitted ingredients.