We need more data. Still scared of soylent



And part of a larger discussion. I know we all love the idea of Soylent, but I still think there needs to be more of a technical discussion about the food substitute because I am one of those who, while excited and still drinking soylent, am very worried about the long-term effects.

This is just one example of how thinking of nutrition in overly black-and-white and simple terms with no real medical knowledge can really dilute the composition of a food substitute.

This woman also raises some genuine problems with Rob’s (early) comments, where it’s clear that despite being uneducated in nutrition, he is attempting to explain the subject as it relates to soylent.

Highlighted more by this article talking about the complexity of protein/macronutrient intake and its effects:

My biggest worry with the official soylent is that Rob doesn’t ever speak in terms of “As far as I know” or “From what I’ve learned”, instead he speaks as if he thinks he’s an expert, educating his readers.

I’m worried that this attitude could harm the composition of the official Soylent in the long run, or at the very least, it’s reputation.

Here’s a picture showing how different nutrients affect each other uptake. + for increasing uptake, - for decreasing uptake.

This is just from about 1 hour of browsing. As you can tell, the reality of it is very complex.


Is this article even serious?

  1. She’s a nutritionist. Anyone can be a nutritionist, it’s dieticians who go to university and get a protected title.

It’s no surprise that a fasting state produces endorphins. The fact of hemoglobin being brought up so casually alerts me to how novice the experimenter must be.

But he isn’t fasting, he’s getting 2k/cals per day.

Definitely caught my attention here and wondered if I should review the rest of the post.

So, he’s fasting but also running?

SMR: Note: Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) was on the lower end of range, dated 1/7/13, prior to this experiment.

Does this mean anything?

This article is more FUD than anything else.


He was apparently consuming 1/3 of his normal caloric intake. Whether or not he still does this I don’t know.

If the article is misappropriating his words, then I’ll remove it, the other 3 articles and picture should suffice to show that nutrition is more complex than we are currently treating it here.

It means his blood cells were below normal size before he began his Soylent diet. Is that important? I don’t know.


The article on olive oil focuses more on organoleptic properties, and their relation with chemical impurities and deviations. I have not checked it very thoroughly, but dont seem worrying.


Ah, looks like you’re right. Sorry I assumed the link and related discussion were valid before reading through them.


The BI article is incredibly stupid. Metsovas comes off sounding like a half-wit. There is no need to take this kind of article seriously – more than anything, it’s iike another form of trolling, that’s all. I agree that there are some legitimate concerns that we should be considering and dealing with, but I don’t think this is the best way to go about it. Some of this gutter stuff on the web just isn’t worth our time or energy.


The BI article is from March. Soylent has come a long way since then.

The olive oil article has more to do with whether an oil qualifies as “extra virgin” than its nutritional characteristics. The conclusion is that there’s more variation than you might expect from the labelling. I suspect this is true of most foods. This may be a challenge to the idea that it’s possible to precisely measure your nutritional intake in the first place, but I see soylent as a step in the right direction rather than the Final Answer. Even if you can’t be perfectly precise, you can be more precise with soylent than with normal food.

I am concerned about nutrient interactions, and as I recall, in one of Rob’s earlier blogs he said he hadn’t noticed any problems so he wasn’t worried about it. I don’t know if that’s changed or not. But nutrients are going to interact in normal food as well. The difference with soylent is that we have a better idea of what’s in it, and over time we can adjust it for nutrient interactions. (I’m thinking of DIY soylent, but official Soylent is supposed to have varieties at some point too–perhaps eventually morning/noon/evening varieties to separate nutrients with negative interactions. Is there anyone that chooses normal food for breakfast/lunch/dinner based on negative nutrient interactions?)


AFAIK most of the negative interactions became moot points after the mixture, because they’re not all in supplement form (see also: distributed within the mass.) I believe there was another thread on this topic as well, which more or less came to this conclusion.

For myself, the only issue I have is the occasional desire for a midnight snack. Soylent is entirely too stimulating to have something to just fill your stomach before sleep, and more oft than not I’ll consume normal food for this need.


@kthprog Just a thought – if you personally (as opposed to: on behalf of everyone who’s using soylent) find that you continue to feel “scared of soylent”, there is one sure and easy way to alleviate that fear completely whilst still enjoying virtually all the benefits of soylent, and that is to adopt a real-foods based formula. It’s as simple as that. Then you can still enjoy enhanced, controlled nutrition while you await more and better data on the risk/reward profile of elemental soylents.


^Flagged the above (and below *and below that) as inappropriate / off topic for attempting to revive a dead discussion. We’ve been over the ‘GMO’s are evil’ mantra the world over already, no need to drag a dead horse here too.

In response, @J_Jeffrey_Bragg has a point. If there is some fear of the ‘pure’ powdered versions, the methods we’re using here to deconstruct a diet* down into its core necessities can be applied across existing foodstuffs. But in the end it’s still these same methods and analysis; the fact that we’re pulling from powders vs existing food sources is almost negligible.

To reiterate the point others have made; we’re not going to know for sure the long term effects of such a diet*, but if there’s ever going to be a concerted effort to start understanding how our bodies handle nutrition, this isn’t a bad place to start. If you’re unsure, waiting can only prove helpful as more experience stories, side effects, and studies are presented.

*: Using the term ‘diet’ here in its most general definition of any type of food an animal eats habitually.


You posted this before. Nobody cared about it the first time and its cared about even less now. If you dont like Soylent and what’s in it then move on. Everyone who has been to this forum more than once knows your stance and all of your concerns. Certainly the people who’s opinions matter the most about the content of soylent have heard your concerns and I am sure your concerns were duly noted. Stop spamming the board with your propaganda. Going to start calling you “Hanoi Elixium”.


I’m concerned about the effects of altering my diet so radically, so maybe I shouldn’t say I’m afraid of soylent, since it’s the idea, not the product, that still worries me.


Yes; well, the idea, as such, is just a concept that needs further exploration. The real question is whether one wants to be one of the lab mice in the experiment. And you know what happens to lab mice…


…they marry the mouse of their dreams and live happily ever after?


Nope. At the end of the experiment, they are “sacrificed,” as the proper scientific language so quaintly puts it. I always thought that expression was a little weird, it makes me think of an Aztec priest holding aloft a bloody, still-beating heart in offering to the Sun god.

EDIT: I don’t want this to sound like I think Rob’s gonna slaughter any soylenters. And in fact in the time-honoured scientific tradition, he’s putting his own ass on the line first and foremost. Nevertheless, the whole soylent-experiment thing does have mildly “sacrificial” overtones. Those who are doing elemental soylent must be aware that they are putting their long-term health and nutritional well-being at a certain amount of risk in the service of a concept that is at best somewhat simplistic and reductive.


I’m going to die anyways, so I might as well die more efficiently.

There are a handful of people that have been on Soylent for several months, and most of them have not had any problems. In fact most of them are happier now then they were on normal food.


I wouldn’t deny that, Ken. It’s a calculated risk, and for many it’s probably an acceptable one. I’m not an enemy of elemental soylent; I just regard the thesis as not yet proven. That said, I’m also aware that it will take a long time and massive accumulation of data to prove or disprove the basic elemental-nutrition approach. When they do experiments of this kind with lab mice they are often multi-generational, and one of the outcomes has been that reproductive viability or even survivability can decline a couple generations downline. Now when you transfer that to the human frame of reference, as a practical matter it starts to look like there’s no easy and acceptable way to prove or disprove the thesis. Soylent enthusiasts take matters into their own hands and experiment on themselves; that’s their right, IMO. I don’t think anyone has any business wanting to or trying to stop them. One just has to hope they inform themselves as well as possible about the possibilities. And that, good buddy, is something I have hardly heard anyone make mention of here! What ARE the possible outcomes, and their relative probabilities?


I absolutely love how Elixium has turned us into blackhatter evil conspirators. Have you been practicing your dastardly chuckles, everyone? Have to keep up appearances, you know.

Say it with me now… “Mwaa. Mwahahah. Hahahah. Mwahahahahahaha!”


I come at this from a different angle than a lot of people, since I’m interested in using soylent as a health restorative more than a long term food source, exclusively. I’d eventually like 1/3 of my diet to include real, high quality food. I do believe in whole foods and their health effects. I do believe that soylent is going to end up missing something essential for long term/generational health, simply because there is just still so little that we know about how the human body works, and how we interact with food. The list of nutrients that we have to go on to put these recipes together, can NOT be the end all be all for what the body needs to thrive.

The thing is, is that the diets that people are living on now? Don’t even include much of what is in soylent. Between what they aren’t getting, and the crap (toxins) that they WERE getting in their pre-soylent diets, it’s no wonder that those who are currently consuming soylent are feeling better! For a lot of people, even if incomplete, it will still be a better diet than what they have access to, or have been feeding themselves.

The body is a remarkably resilient organism, and as such, adapts to nutritional deficiencies. And sadly, from the research I’ve done in the past, it seems as though the RDA itself is simply a low benchmark for a lot of nutrients. For instance, the level of Vit. C recommended is the threshold for rickets. X is how much you need to not get rickets. That’s not taking into account the lower level deficiencies which occur before that. That’s why with a lot of nutrients, if you go looking for therapies involving them, the dosages that get used are much higher than the daily recommendation. Vit. D is a good example of this. I believe it’s the Vit D council which has done a ton of research these last couple of years showing that the majority of people are low in Vit D, (even the ones that live in sunny climates) and that the dosages to get you to where you should be if you are low, are way high.

There’s research that shows that there are nutrients that virtually no one is getting enough of, either because of the area that they live (the soil being devoid of those nutrients) - or because of their economical situation. And whoever mentioned generational issues when it comes to long term effects is exactly correct. Women can very easily pass along their own nutritional deficiencies to their children. It’s thought that THIS could be the cause of a lot of illnesses (esp. mental illnesses) that have previously been thought to “run in families”. My anxiety and depression issues? It’s entirely possible that I’ve had a nutritional deficiency from birth that my mother passed down to me.

So my thoughts, are that soylent is better than what most of us are consuming, but should definitely (for those who are worried) be paired with a whole food diet.

There has been a lot of talk about the money that Soylent will be generating being put back into the product in the form of research, and I think that’s fantastic and hope very much that that actually takes place. I think there’s an incredible opportunity here considering how many soylent users are willing to put themselves on the line for this product (or ones similar to it). If done and used correctly, there could be vast amounts of data available to be used to not only continuously evolve soylent, but to also learn more about our relationship to food. Hopefully there will continue to be a significant portion of soylent users who treat their experiences with it as exactly what it is…a science experiment, and as such, are faithfully observant to their health. (Anyone nervous about using soylent will be anyway) but hopefully they also pair it with tests and recording information (which is why I was interested in an easy way to gather that data like an app)


Don’t. This is for the lazy, not for the desperate. Way more research need to be done about everything for Soylent to be considered a cure for anything, except laziness.

Are they for profit?