What are the RDI's of Soylent?


#1

Hey guys,

I’m really confused here. Basically, this article says that we need 5000 IUs of Vitamin A a day.

But this page says it’s 3000 IU and it’s what people have been making their recipes off of:

https://diy.soylent.com/nutrient-profiles/51e4e6ca7789bc0200000007

And the soylent ingredients list just says it has 25% vitamin A. So it it 25% of 3000 IU or 5000 IU? Are any of the other amounts different? What amounts should I be including?

Thanks guys!


#2

That second link specifies the RDA for a 19-50yo male. However the general RDAs (aka DVs) are designed to cover 97-98% of the population, so they use the highest amount recommended for any age or gender.


#3

So which one does Soylent nutritionals go off? The 5000 or the 3000?


#4

RL uses the higher numbers because they’re using a one size fits all formula. For example men need 8mg of iron while women need 18mg because of periods, if there were gender differentiated versions the mens would have less iron. Since it’s one formula they go with 18mg.


#5

But it says here: https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/articles/200789315-Nutrition

The Soylent recipe is based on the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM)

Who have differing amounts to the FDA. Does this mean that they’re not nutritionally complete if they’re hitting these targets and not the FDA’s? Or are they hitting the FDA targets?


#6

The FDA’s DVs are based on the IOM’s RDAs. You can see on the nutrition label that Rosa Labs uses the DVs, which as I said are general versions of the RDAs designed to fit 98% of the population. I’ll edit my first post to clarify.


#7

@Jerryman, this is a confusing issue, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Some of what @Sententia has stated is not entirely correct either, unfortunately.

First of all, “RDI” stands for “Reference Daily Intake”. This is a different thing than “DRI”, which stands for “Dietary Reference Intake”. Related but again distinct are DV (Daily Value), RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance), and other acronyms.

RDI is based on RDA, and is itself the basis of DV (Daily Value). The FDA’s food labeling laws, which apply to all packaged food products in the US and Canada, requires labeling based on DV (Daily Value). When the Soylent label says 25% Vitamin A, that’s 25% of DV (or 25% of 900 mcg, in this case). RDI, RDA, and DV are based on older data (as old as 1968), arguably somewhat outdated, yet the food labeling laws in the US have not changed and still require labeling based on this older standard.

DRI, on the other hand, is a set of guidelines put forth by the IOM (Institute of Medicine) and is updated regularly. Confusingly, this is the nutritional standard endorsed by the USDA (versus the DV provided by the FDA), and is used by most governmentally supported nutrition (such as food served in schools and the military). DRI has different recommendations for different age groups and demographics, unlike DV which is a single set of recommended intakes for the entire population.

The DIY Soylent website has many different nutrient profiles, which may correspond to either DV or DRI, or neither. Unfortunately, the default nutrient profile on the site is an awkward, erroneous combination of DV and DRI which demonstrates a lack of understanding of these nutritional guidelines. It should not be taken as any kind of authority on the subject.

Rosa Labs may claim to base their product on the IOM’s DRI guidelines, but in practice they actually choose to conform to DV instead. As a result, their Nutrition Facts label looks attractively consistent at 25% DV (or 20% DV for Soylent 2.0) for most nutrients.

Hope that helps! :wink:


#8

Very helpful, thank you!

I’ve been looking around though, and on the nutrition facts for 1.5, some of the amounts are less than the 100%:

http://files.soylent.com/pdf/soylent-nutrition-facts-1-5-en.pdf

Iron is 23%, which is 92% of the DV per 2000 calories? So is it not nutritionally complete?


#9

The DV for iron is 18mg, which is the amount for menstruating women. Men need 8mg of iron. So for men it is nutritionally complete, and for women, it’s pretty close.


#10

That’s also just the iron they add not the total amount of iron that is in it. Same with the magnesium. Some of the ingredients contain iron and magnesium but Soylent, and every other food manufacturers, aren’t required to report those values. They are only required to report the amounts of vitamins and minerals they add to the mix and a few key nutrients. There was a much more detailed spreadsheet floating around a while back that showed everything. I have since lost the file otherwise I would post it myself.


#11

Spreadsheet is available here: https://faq.soylent.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/202548035/Soylent_1.5_Formula.xlsx


#12

@horsfield I’m pretty sure that the iron reported for Soylent 1.5 comes from the rice protein and oat flour, and that they don’t add any supplemental iron (as you can see here). This is why the amount is not a precise 25% DV per serving.

Is this true? I’d be interested in seeing a source for this if you have one. My understanding is that if a vitamin or mineral is specifically added, then the total amount (including the amount from other ingredients) must be reported on the label.


#13

There was a big long flame war of a thread a while back started by @nutrisludge about the amount of manganese in Soylent. The gist of it was that the nutritional label said one thing and the spreadsheet I mentioned said another. Many people dug through the FDAs guidelines trying to prove some sort of deception on the part of RL. In the end all they ended up proving is that RL was only required to report the amounts they added and could report the total if they felt like it. FWIW I believe for specific micronutrients like iron they had to report the full amount. I don’t remember exactly.


#14

Yeah, I remember that thread well:

I reread the whole thread and don’t see anyone saying this though:

As far as I can tell, the conclusion is that RL was not quite following the letter of the law, but that enforcement is likely to be nonexistent, so they can get away with it.


#15

Finally found the spreadsheet I was looking for. 1.5 has 15.47mg of iron per bag.


#16

Nope. The discussion was spread across two threads and it was brought up in the manganese thread days after it was discussed in the other thread. This is the thread that contains the relevant text from the FDA:

In particular:

CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21
(ii) The declaration of vitamins and minerals as a percent of the RDI shall include vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron, in that order, and shall include any of the other vitamins and minerals listed in paragraph ©(8)(iv) of this section when they are added as a nutrient supplement, or when a claim is made about them. Other vitamins and minerals need not be declared if neither the nutrient nor the component is otherwise referred to on the label or in labeling or advertising and the vitamins and minerals are:

You need to read more for context, but I’ve said more than I ever cared to in the original thread.


#17

I’m familiar with this regulation, and my interpretation is that if a vitamin or mineral is specifically added, then the total amount (including the amount from other ingredients) must be reported on the label. This is also what @MentalNomad says in the thread you linked to. @Syke also expresses this same view.

I understand that you disagree. It seems that there are multiple ways to interpret “when they are added as a nutrient supplement”.

I interpret it as “when some manganese is added as a supplement, all manganese must be declared”.

You interpret it as “when some manganese is added as a supplement, that supplemental manganese must be declared”.

In the end though, the FDA is likely to be care more about overstated nutrient values than understated, since there’s always some degree of understatement of values to account for gradual degradation over time.


#18

This is legal text. They wrote exactly what they meant (or they made a mistake, but the current version of the text remains identical). Requirement and exceptions are made explicit, if you read the entire document:

The declaration may also include any of the other vitamins and minerals listed in paragraph ©(8)(iv) of this section when they are naturally occurring in the food.

The word may means the declaration is voluntary, not required. It would say must (or, historically, shall) if it was a requirement.

Nowhere does it say that if a vitamin or mineral is added, you must also include the naturally occurring vitamins or minerals on the label, and the text is mind-numbingly precise. For example:

(e) If a food is modified by incorporating air (aerated), and thereby the density of the food is lowered by 25 percent or more in weight than that of an appropriate reference regular food as described in §101.13(j)(1)(ii)(A), and the reference amount of the regular food is in grams, the manufacturer may determine the reference amount of the aerated food by adjusting for the difference in density of the aerated food relative to the density of the appropriate reference food provided that the manufacturer will show FDA detailed protocol and records of all data that were used to determine the density-adjusted reference amount for the aerated food. The reference amount for the aerated food shall be rounded to the nearest 5-g increment. Such products shall bear a descriptive term indicating that extra air has been incorporated (e.g., whipped, aerated). The density-adjusted reference amounts described in paragraph (b) of this section may not be used for cakes except for cheese cake. The differences in the densities of different types of cakes having different degrees of air incorporation have already been taken into consideration in determining the reference amounts for cakes in §101.12(b). In determining the difference in density of the aerated and the regular food, the manufacturer shall adhere to the following:

Etc.

I concede if we were voting on the question, I would be in the minority. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong.


#19

@wezaleff Thank you for clearing this up. A Ctrl-F on “naturally occurring” on the eCFR page that you linked to has persuaded me that you are correct, and that my earlier interpretation was incorrect.

However, I’m still a little unsure about the exact meaning of this section, given the highlighted phrases:

(3) Two classes of nutrients are defined for purposes of compliance:

(i) Class I. Added nutrients in fortified or fabricated foods; and

(ii) Class II. Naturally occurring (indigenous) nutrients. If any ingredient which contains a naturally occurring (indigenous) nutrient is added to a food, the total amount of such nutrient in the final food product is subject to class II requirements unless the same nutrient is also added.

(4) A food with a label declaration of a vitamin, mineral, protein, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, other carbohydrate, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat, or potassium shall be deemed to be misbranded under section 403(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the act) unless it meets the following requirements:

(i) Class I vitamin, mineral, protein, dietary fiber, or potassium. The nutrient content of the composite is at least equal to the value for that nutrient declared on the label.

(ii) Class II vitamin, mineral, protein, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, other carbohydrate, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat, or potassium. The nutrient content of the composite is at least equal to 80 percent of the value for that nutrient declared on the label. Provided, That no regulatory action will be based on a determination of a nutrient value that falls below this level by a factor less than the variability generally recognized for the analytical method used in that food at the level involved.

(5) A food with a label declaration of calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium shall be deemed to be misbranded under section 403(a) of the act if the nutrient content of the composite is greater than 20 percent in excess of the value for that nutrient declared on the label. Provided, That no regulatory action will be based on a determination of a nutrient value that falls above this level by a factor less than the variability generally recognized for the analytical method used in that food at the level involved.

(6) Reasonable excesses of a vitamin, mineral, protein, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, other carbohydrate, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat, or potassium over labeled amounts are acceptable within current good manufacturing practice. Reasonable deficiencies of calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium under labeled amounts are acceptable within current good manufacturing practice.

Is it simply saying that added nutrients (eg, manganese sulfate) are considered Class I and naturally occurring nutrients (manganese in the rice protein) are considered Class II even when some of those same nutrients (manganese) are Class I? Or is it saying something else?


#20

IANAL, but:

The easiest way to think about class I/II is that class I is the stricter of the two requirements: at least 100% of the label claim for class I vs. at least 80% for class II.

The manganese in rice would be class II, but when you add manganese sulfate you’ve then triggered class I compliance, which means the total value has to be at least 100% of the label claim (rather than 80% for class II) for that nutrient.

There are stricter limits for certain label claims (a limit of 20% in excess of the label value for “calories, sugars, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, or sodium”). And as you highlighted, a “reasonable” excess is otherwise allowed, which is at the FDA’s discretion (so basically undefined in the text).