Transparency by Rhinehart & Co. be in regards to Soylent's nutritional value


#1

As some people have noted, there has been a recent, shall we say, fiasco in regards to the currently known recommendations of Rhinehart and Co. for dietary fiber. In my opinion, there are two things we can take from this discussion: (i) very few of us are qualified or capable (even with access to academic journals) of understanding why certain amounts of nutrients are recommended; (ii) there is some demand by us for the makers of Soylent to justify their choices behind certain ingredients or quantities of nutrients.

For instance, why does Rhinehart’s recent recommendation suggest 40g of fibre? Fibre recommendations vary enormously, and range from country to country. For instance, UK guidelines are 18g/day. What was the team’s logic for this choice?

I’d like to bring one question to the table: how much transparency do we want and do we need in regards to the Soylent formulation. It’s not outrageous to guess that a lot of Soylenters are educated in science (I assume, many engineers, biologists, health science majors, etc.). It would be very nice if we could obtain some justification for why, for instance, Rob has settled on 40g of fibre rather than 38g or 18g.

However, with this in mind, I note that most meal replacements sold on the market don’t go into detail on their formulation. There is no justification behind why their product contains a certain number of grams of protein or carbs. Many of them don’t have detailed breakdowns of vitamins and micronutrients. I assume they need to justify themselves just enough to the food boards to allow their product to be released.

On the other hand, I would argue that Rhinehart and Co. are marketing themselves as more (and as a better food substitute) than these typical meal replacements. They are marketing Soylent as a food product engineered using rigorous science; consequently, I’d argue that it’s necessary that they provide some justification (in the form of citations, for instance) for their design decisions.

For example, would the Soylent team be interested in writing a review article about their product, complete with citations and justification for certain choices? I’m sure this could be accepted into some sort of publication (even a popular science one), and would inspire interesting debate. Given what they have said about the research they’ve put into the product, and their collaborations with nutritionists, this wouldn’t be a stretch in terms of resources, I’d imagine.

I mention finally that Soylent is a very revolutionary product for a few reasons. One of the reasons behind its revolutionary nature is the sheer openness of the makers in its formulation and intent. This is a product that was funded on Kickstarter, and that has been associated with open-source. When was the last time that there was such intense debate and joint participation by laymen in creating a food product? Like I said, this is very different from typical meal replacement products that are created and designed behind closed doors.

I hope that Rhinehart and Co. will continue to be frank with us about their design of Soylent, and their use of rigorous scientific methods in engineering the product.


#2

Me and Co. heartily encourage feedback and rational inquiry. We haven’t settled on 40g, that’s just what I used in my prototype. We currently use the IOM recommendation of 38g for adult males:

http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/5DRI%20Values%20SummaryTables%2014.pdf

Using more may be wise since people are unlikely to use soylent as their sole source of nutrition and the other meals they eat are likely to be low in fiber, but this would be very difficult to control for so for now we’re sticking with 38g / day.

Soylent’s insoluble:soluble fiber ratio is currently 0.547129, though this may change.

Transparency is paramount, but so is shipping. It doesn’t make much sense to extensively and publicly document a product in development, as it may be overwritten, but we do blog updates at blog.soylent.me.

Once we have our manufacturing underway expect a thorough review of the ingredients, quantities, and rationale behind each.


#3

@rob, what do you have to say about [this quack?][1] Did you get a chance to familliarize yourself with what he preaches?


[1]: http://discourse.soylent.me/t/lack-of-research-into-danger-of-fiber-is-the-rda-excessive[quote=“rob, post:2, topic:5406”]
Me and Co.
[/quote]

lol. lol. lol. LOL.


#4

Absolutely. We all understand that a completely open-source policy is somewhat at odds with marketing and selling a product.

We’re all looking forward to your review of Soylent once the manufacturing is under way.

Please don’t interpret this in the wrong way, but at this point, I count two recent threads by you on this topic which is still on the front page. We understand that you are trying to answer this difficult issue, but I think it’s ridiculous that you’re now trying to clamour for attention on different threads. Surely, Rob (and Co.) have seen your fiber questions. If someone understands the subject well enough to offer an informed response, then I’m sure they will. Anybody who has done scientific research knows that it takes a great deal of effort and knowledge to argue for or against a theory.


#5

I think he’s too busy running a million dollar venture. If you start with that quack you’ll end up in Roswell.


#6

I imagined this to the tune of Beethoven’s Fifth.


#7

I’m concerned first at how violently the mix has changed from 1.3 to 1.4. I personally don’t like the consistency or taste, or the lack of fiber in the newest 1.4 version. This new version also now has no Phosphorous, which is extremely important in daily body functions. Phosphorous has been completely removed. In my opinion, the mix went from a somewhat complete, “mix and go” formula to a formula that is lacking in fiber, taste, poor consistency, and most importantly, lacking in what is essentially an important “micronutrient” that the body needs to function properly.
I say somewhat complete because it leads to another concern I have, which is the idea that “one formula fits all!” It is widely known that men and women need different levels of nutrients to maintain healthy body and system functions. This is why we have different men’s and women’s vitamin supplements. It would seem that long term use could cause a chemical/nutritional imbalance in either one or both of us.
The product has gone from a complete solution to now requiring adjustments and additives to make it right or palatable, which seems to fly in the face of having something that is able to be made quickly and doesn’t require a lot of attention, additives or preparation and allows people to get on with their more important activities.
I liked the vanilla flavoring, I don’t care that you cannot be transparent on this single aspect. I liked the old consistency, the new one gags me, literally. And, I’m concerned that the product hasn’t been properly engineered in men’s and women’s formulas and doesn’t properly meet either’s daily requirements.
Thanks for letting me comment!


#8

Just because it isn’t listed on the nutrition label doesn’t mean it’s not in there. Have you by chance gone to the Soylent website and looked at the “What’s Soylent made of?” section? It sure looks like they list 1329.28mg of phosphorus. Leaving it off the nutrition label was most likely an over site. I seem to remember a previous version that didn’t list one of the B vitamins and listed another one twice.

That’s why Soylent contains the higher of the two requirements for each micronutrient. As long as they stay under the know upper limit for the micronutrients that have them then there is no long term danger from that.

That’s a matter of opinion.


#9

There will always be a need for many people to supplement their Soylent, especially if they are at the near 100% level. For instance, I am chronically low on Vitamin D. The level in Soylent happens to be the currently recommended amount for most people but because of my lifestyle I supplement. Also as an older person, I also take more biotin to stave off hair thinning. As time goes on, I’m thinking of adding various other additives like mood and mental concentration enhancements (nootropics).

I like that there is a choice. I would not ever recommend that Soylent change its formula to suit my various eccentricities and priorities. But adding a pill or two or three to my daily regimen is not a huge sacrifice.

Eve


#10

Try consuming it soon after preparation, just add ice cubes if you want it chilled. For some refrigerating it overnight made it worse for them.