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?