Soylent vs. Juicing


A little while back there was a contested post about how real food is “holistic” and soylent will never give the same overall benefits as traditional foods. While the response was pretty much a unanimous “what the hell are you talking about?” it did get me thinking about side benefits of certain diets over others. Specifically, about soylent and how it compares to regular juicing when it comes to added benefit of certain ingredients.

I think my curiosity comes from the same concern as our “holistic” friend, where there’s just something so sterile-feeling about powdered measurements of laboratory compounds. My thinking is that when you add a powdered form of a vitamin, for example vitamin C, you are getting just vitamin C. If you juice an orange, you’re getting vitamin C and a whole cocktail of other nutrients. Adding greens not only has vitamins but things like chlorophyl and other organic compounds that would not be preservable in powder form. It just seems that a glass of veggie juice vs. a glass of soylent would have a great deal more incidental nutrients and benefits just due to the natural variety of compounds present in regular produce.

Now I’m not suggesting there aren’t other benefits to soylent over juicing (cost and shelf-life being the most obvious, taste and consistency being others) but is there any validity to my concern? Could powdered nutrients truly replace the benefits of a juice diet? Or are those fringe nutrients even necessary?


That’s what we are trying to figure out.
There really isn’t enough data to say either way. There are a lot of people that are saying that phyto-nutrients and a requirement or you’ll die. They also say that you only get phyto-nutrients from fruits and vegetables, which my previous diet had non of, yet I lived.

But just because I am paranoid, I have added powdered kelp and ginseng to my Soylent. I also added lycopene as well, but that was a more recent add, based on some articles that I read.
I wasn’t having any issues to warrant either of those 3 things being added.


What about not one or the other, but both? Since this is a concern I think most people share, how about a soylent regime that includes a V8 each day. The soylent recipe could be adjusted to avoid any overdoses.

Question: Would drinking one V8 a day satisfy the fear of not getting the “extras”?


Heh, maybe not V8 specifically, but I was only planning on eating a regular meal about once a day even on Soylent. My question was more just in theory for a pure soylent diet and about the benefits of fresh vs powdered nutrients. With all the added micro-nutrients and minerals that folks seem to be needing to add from the lab, I wondered if tossing in some fresh produce it would skip the middle-man.

(PS - They make kale POWDER? That’s brilliant! I am totally snorting my salads from now on!)


… why would you do that?

@codinghorror - see, that would have been cool if I could have typed “… why?” but instead I had to meet an arbitrary, free speech crippling word limit.


My main reason being my above worry: that even a seemingly ideal soylent recipe might be lacking in some nutrient or mineral since all the ingredients are pure form. Plus even Rob says he is only about 90% soylent, which seems sensible.

I’m a huge foodie, and I don’t plan on giving up food or cooking all together. However, based on a lot of the blogs I read people have a good deal of discomfort when they eat regular food after extended periods of just soylent. I figure a solid snack or meal occasionally (like once a day, if even) is a way to prevent such discomfort and still let me cook occasionally. It would also answer my concern of trace minerals that might not be available or viable in powder form.


The meta-analyses I read said in a nutshell lycopene does nothing. I wouldn’t bother adding it.

In fact most anti-oxidants in general can do as much harm as good. Our body has it’s own antioxidants and regulatory mechanisms involving them.

i.e. Glutathione.


I read the same about all of the other phyto-nutrients. I’ll have to re-examine lycopene again. Do you have a link?
Also I think that I am only taking it once a week anyways. If I do remove it from my recipe, I’ll probably keep taking it until I run out.

90% of the time is still quite a bit of Soylent. I just did the math, and I am only 92% on Soylent. If I hadn’t gone to Vegas for 2 weeks, I would be at 96% Soylent for the last 3 months.


You can pick up a wide variety of probitoic / active culture mixes with “phytonutrients” (plant stuff) in them rather cheaply. I went high end and its still like 20 cents a day for peace of mind.


Here are a few meta analyses on Lycopene:

Protective effect of lycopene on serum cholesterol and blood pressure: Meta-analyses of intervention trials

The role of tomato products and lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies.

Tomato Products, Lycopene, and Prostate Cancer: A Review of the Epidemiological Literature


It would have made more sense to find meta-analyses supporting and denying any benefit from lycopene consumption.

Now the burden is on me to show the other side of the coin, which I will when I have time.


I did try to find a study that backed this claim you made but was not successful. Perhaps I will have better luck when next on a University network where I can get better access to research.

I’ll make no apologies for providing some rounded perspective on the subject, particularly since these studies do provide some evidence for the benefits (or otherwise) of Lycopene and its efficacy. Three studies that show mild effects of Lycopene is better than an unsupported statement claiming it has absolutely no benefits whatsoever.

This study could be interesting but I cannot access it. Can anyone with access give us the gist?


Wow, thanks for the post then. I got that information by following citations on Wikipedia, so it’s not as reliable as the information you’ve presented.


Yes, to be more balanced, I think its also prudent to quote the FDA (from the Wikipedia article):

Very limited and preliminary scientific research suggests that eating one-half to one cup of tomatoes and/or tomato sauce a week may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.

Back onto the topic of Soylent vs. Juicing, I think you make a good point and it’s one that I’m also interested in exploring further.

I suppose it depends what your goals are. I’m not trying to create the most minimalistic nutrition profile the human body needs to survive. My goals are more about saving time, money, and getting better nutrition than my previous (already fairly healthy) diet, allowing me to perform better athletically and shed some more body fat. I’m hoping for (and starting to see) other benefits too such as more energy, better sleep, improved skin condition. I’m creating a baseline from which I can continually improve my own nutrition, and soylent seemed like the perfect place to start.

To this end I’m on a whole foods style recipe. If it’s available and economical I’d be up for chucking a bit of everything in there (powered kale included, or this). Personally I’d rather ensure that I’m getting more than enough than missing out on something vital. It would seem diagnosing having too much of something is much easier than diagnosing a deficiency, which can take years to manifest and could be difficult to identify.

I’m also a little worried about the Phytic Acid issue since my recipe is based on grains and the varying bioavailablity of certain nutrients in the presence of others is a complex issue. I’ve started having 30g dried Goji berries in between soylent meals. They’re packed full of micros in the absence of Phytic Acid and it’s just nice to still have something to chew on!

This might not be in line with the original goals of soylent but it certainly works for me and it helps to address some of our shared concerns.


Hi all, i am newly registered to the forum…

First of all i registered to offer my full support for this amazing idea and product- however i have one huge issue… the marketing of the product states that it is cheaper than a weekly shop… I currently, as a single male spend £30 absolute max per week, normally around £20 on a full weeks food and Soylent for a week is currently £40+

Now i am assuming that this is just due to unestablished economies of scale so far which is understandable, but i must admit this is the only thing stopping me buying because i like the idea A LOT as have been ill a lot in past through not getting all my nutrients…

I would not have money left as described to eat out and enjoy food or even once a day as some suggest so not really helpful for poverty stricken at current price levels IMO- my situation is not unique, i spend above average and know many who spend less what with how cheap fruit and veg are in stores these days either raw or as for Juicing as being discussed on this thread… Please could one of the creators or associates of Soylent get back to me/us on this point of concern? Would be much appreciated…

Best Wishes…


I think the explicit statement from the marketing is that Soylent is cheaper than “eating out [often]” (but that’s just from memory).

In any case, I agree that it’s easily possible to spend less on groceries if you are particularly good at shopping. However, consider the value of the time spent shopping for and preparing food, and any losses generated by groceries going bad and being thrown away. As an additional note, it may also be difficult to shop on the same budget when factoring in a grocery list that would provide a comparable nutrition content to Soylent. All of those things are obviously variable, but at least in my personal case it was enough for me to want to give this a try.


Many thanks for your input Shadow… I really am a big fan of the idea just not sure i can afford at current prices :-/

With savvy shopping yes can be equivalent near enough and i often have groceries delivered very cheaply…

The product is marketed at solving world hunger which i believe it may well go some way too but only with bulk buying options or economies of scale as the market becomes more stablished…


The message is the opposite in fact that one CAN eat out because it is so cheap and will save them grocery spend…


Plus only those with money to burn let groceries go off in general so not me… I hope that profit margins can be lowered if there is a genuine need to want to help people eat worldwide, surely more would sell anyway making a tidy profit at a cheaper price…


It seems rather elitest right now which is opposite to the message given in marketing speil…