What IS a healthy diet to begin with?


I see many many posts on what Soylent potentially lacks. Don’t get me wrong, this is good. But it made me think about what exactly is a healthy diet? I mean in actual food. The FDA has it’s food pyramid but that is rather generic. 3-4 servings of vegetables and so on tells you little about whether you are getting all of the nutrients your body requires. Does anyone have a recipe of food that you can eat during a week to ensure that you are getting everything the body needs? I mean specifics, like 3 bananas, 4 chicken breasts, you get the idea. This leads me to my next question, which is, if we were concerned about what soylent didn’t provide, what should we eat to ensure that we were getting everything we needed? An avocado? A Big Mac? Seriously though. I think this would help sell the “safety issue”. I also think we could turn around the health skeptics by posing this question to them.


If you’re a “healthy eater” I think you realize that on any particular day there will be nutrients your body won’t injest and as long as your diet is varied enough you will get them on another day.

Before I started Soylent my diet was absolutely horrible but a blood check showed no deficiencies in any vitamin or nutrients. My blood pressure was bad and so were my blood glucose levels. My LDL cholesterol was off the charts. According to the doctor I just needed to eat less salt and exercise.

I’ve been on Soylent and in 22 days I’ve lost 8 pounds, my blood pressure is now normal (with some CoQ10 supplement as well) and my blood glucose looks great throughout the day.

My doc also told me that my 383 reading of Testosterone was “fine and within range”. He didn’t realize, I suppose, that number is only normal if I was around 85 years old. I’m going to see if that comes up with my diet also.




Shiny. :slight_smile: This is the kind of thing I’m hoping for myself… I’m diabetic, ridiculously high cholesterol (They couldn’t measure it. :stuck_out_tongue: The lab said they diluted the sample three times and it was still off the scale, ‘lipidinous’… which apparently translates to ‘spreadable’. Eep.) high blood pressure, etc. Hoping better nutrition and stop eating crap with Soylent will help… Or at least give a baseline to start from.


Geez, that’s scary. Good luck trying to improve that.


I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Some people are holding Soylent to an unattainable standard of perfect nutrition or bust. Never mind that is is more nutritionally complete than the diets of most adults.


Congratulations on your progress. Keep it up.


The problem I have is that everyone who is a skeptic cannot answer my question in a scientific way. Soylent claims to be more nutritionally complete and people are coming out to refute that claim when they are not providing any detailed alternative. It is widely accepted that eating healthy (whole foods, food pyramid) is the perfect diet. What I am missing are the details in that recipe. I would like for nutritionists to come out and say “If you eat 2 bananas, 1 chicken breats…every week, you will be getting everything you need to survive. Here are the amounts of the food you should eat and here is a list of all the necessary nutrients a body needs that each food provides”. My point being, as far as I can tell, only Rob and Soylent have offered a solution to this. If people are questioning the safety of soylent, what are they comparing it to? In other words, I think that, given the detail of ingredients and nutrients supplied, the onus should be on the nutritionists to prove that it is NOT healthy. In turn, if anyone can provide that list (and it’s clear they cannot) it would greatly help our cause because we can easily add whatever is missing.


I think many skeptics give the human body too little credit as a resilient system. I saw a program about a guy who ate nothing but Kraft Dinner (Mac and Cheese) for decades. He didn’t die or develop debilitating illness.


@andrewf Absolutely correct about the body as a resilient system – with one small amendment. It is super resilient in its adaptability to staggering variations in diet – in FOOD intake and processing. What is much less certain is how robust it is with respect to the ingestion of raw elements of a chemically defined diet. That is the part that has yet to be conclusively proven.

You’ve rather given me a hard time for expressing scepticism and promoting discussion about that aspect of soylent, I’m not entirely sure why. (To me it seems inevitable that these questions will arise, so why not prepare ourselves to deal with them when they do?) I can only repeat once more that I’m not anti-soylent; I’m just in favour of looking squarely at the experimental nature of the project and exploring the parts that are unknown or doubtful.

I fully agree that a lifetime of KD has got to be far worse than full-time soylent could ever be. But that observation will not impress the hostile nutritional scientists or the paid shills of Nestlé and Abbott when they gear up to huff and puff and blow our house down. Then we shall find ourselves in need of having investigated and rehearsed the arguments against soylent.

@sharkerty Paul, you wrote:

You know, you could have a stab at doing that for yourself. CRON-O-meter will do the heavy lifting if you have a bit of patience for the work. If you use it to put together four or five daily menus, then you’ve got what you need (I’m told most people have a repertoire of about that number of basic meals through which they rotate most of the time.)

I’ve been an outlier on the CRON scene for a few months; the acronym stands for “Calorie Restriction with Optimum Nutrition” and those folks take the Optimum Nutrition part quite seriously. Several hardcore CRONies have a single “standard meal” that they have researched to a gnat’s eyelash of perfect nutritional balance and adequacy. CRON-O-meter is the basic tool most used for that work. Actually it’s not too different to balancing out a soylent formula; same approach, macros/micros.

It is not that the “list” you mention cannot be provided, but rather that for all practical purposes it’s an infinite set, the number of acceptably-balanced combinations of nutritious foods is too large to compute. But examples can certainly be generated using CRON-O-meter – try it for yourself.


It’s nothing personal, @J_Jeffrey_Bragg. I was on the fence about a number of things, and I do appreciate your articulate and meticulous contributions. I just felt that you needed to be challenged on a few points and no one else stepped up to do so.


Apologies for the late response. To answer your original question, one of my friends gives an example of a diet which is healthy, in the sense that it provides the RDI of each essential nutrient, as well as satisfying considerations such as avoiding high-GI carbs, eating good fats, etc. I quote him.

What I eat every day:

Immediately upon waking: 2 cups of warm water, 1 serving of cottage
cheese, 2 Brazil nuts, 2 tbs almond butter with ¼ a teaspoon sea salt
and 2 tsp of cinnamon.

Breakfast (usually 1-2 hours after I eat the food listed above): 2
scrambled eggs with 1 cup of sautéed spinach in 2 tbs of olive oil and
garlic powder, 2 pieces of toast (usually either organic whole grain
bread or gluten free multigrain bread).

Lunch (2-3 hours after breakfast): Some sort of sandwich on either
organic whole wheat bread or gluten free multigrain bread. I usually
either eat nitrate free turkey with mustard, tumeric, swiss cheese,
and spinach or chicken breast with hummus and cayenne pepper.

Snack (2-4 hours after lunch): For this meal I try to eat something
with micronutrients that I need. Things I might eat during this meal
are greek yogurt with hemp seeds, hummus with black beans, 1-2 cups of
nuts, or a banana with peanut butter. Anything goes for this meal,
just be healthy about it.

Dinner (2-4 hours after snack): A healthy well balanced meal. I try
to eat something different for this meal every day of the week.
Examples are salmon with brown rice and brocolli or steak with
potatoes and asparagus. Hamburgers and Turkey burgers if cooked in a
healthy way and with healthy toppings and sides can be great meals.
For this, just be creative but pay heed to the guidelines mentioned

Snack 2 (2-4 hours after dinner): Depending on the time between all
of the meals listed above, you may not need this meal but on some days
I need it. I try to eat something really light and usually get my
remaining vegetable servings for the day in this meal. A kale salad
with green peppers is one of my favorite things to eat during this
meal. Again, depending on timing, sometimes I’ll just have some
leftovers from dinner.

Before bed snack (1 hour before bed): There is some controversy about
eating this close to bed, especially if you’re interested in losing
weight. However, I’ve read that eating fat rich foods high in
magnesium and zinc can help you sleep at night. For this reason, I
eat 2 Brazil nuts, a handful of pumpkin seeds, and 2 tbs of almond
butter during this time.

My final comment is to keep in mind that exercise is essential for
optimum health. As you can see, I consume a lot of calories each day
(averaging approximately 3250 calories). In order to prevent gaining
body fat from this diet, you must exercise a few times a week. I
usually do 2 days of weight training and 1 day of cardio. It is also
important to try to move as much as possible every day. Avoid sitting
for prolonged periods of time if possible (I know work and school can
make this a challenge) and avoid lying down during the day except an
hour or two before bed.


Jeff’s suggestion about cronometer is a damn good one, and that also applies to anyone who criticises soyent (or indeed any diet). The reason for this is they will soon realise how poor their diets probably are (and this includes people who actually try to ‘eat well’). Honestly, not particularly easy to get the rda in everything. The average person following the SAD wont even be close. Cronometer was very eye opening for me.

Bigepidemic, re testosterone, I am in a similar situation. Mine was slightly higher than yours (in the 400’s, though only just), and the lab ranges were lower than normal, but still, certainly lower by an amount than someone my age should have. The problem with doctors and this test, they are looking only for hypogonadism, and ultimately from a medical perspective (as they see it) you can either treat with testosterone, or not. You def don’t want supplemental T unless you can avoid it, as unless you are treated by someone who knows what they are doing (good luck), your body will stop producing T and you are permanently on it.

What I can say (and I don’t know if any of these apply to you, but some do to me) what are important with T seem to be:

1)Not having taken the test early enough in the day(its a very fickle and changeable test, one test isn’t enough)
2)Being overweight (the biggie). Fat converts Testosterone to Estrogen via aromatase. If you are overweight you are likely going to be lower T. Unfortunately being lower T makes it harder to lose weight (yay). Aromatase inhibitors might be a sneaky way around this (assuming you are overweight, can get an Estrogen test, it is high, your doc will prescribe and the side effects are ok).
3)SSRI / other med use use might screw up your hormone levels (I suspect this happened in my case, I was on them for a loooong time)
4)Lack of sleep (not great here for me)
5)Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, selenium etc)
6)Probably depression and stress would lower it as well.

The problem though, even if you did get supplemental T, Estrogen will likely go up as well (esp if you have extra fat). This is why bodybuilders juicing take aromatase inhibitors, it prevents the excess T getting converted to E. It is quite a finely balanced system, and not something to taken lightly.

It seems to be very worthwhile doing heavy weights though. You need to do the following (as I understand it). 1)Lift heavy (4-10 reps kinda weight). 2)Big compound movements (squats, deadlifts, chins, pressing, kettlebell stuff) 3)Fairly low rest between sets (1-2 mins). 4)Fairly decent volume but not overboard. I do this with kettlebells (cheap, compact, fully body) myself, and I suspect (unfortunately) to do the exercise that gets a good hormonal response is the exercises you really dont want to do, because you need to feel pretty ‘whole body’ tired. I figure that your body isn’t going to create a strong hormonal response without a damn good reason ;). Make sure you rest well though as well, as overtraining will have the opposite effect.


Thank you for this. The first “recipe” I have seen, although it does appear that even those who are carefully planning out their meals for optimum nutrition still generalize quite a bit. Granted, He may be being less specific in description than in practice.

The other thing I noticed instantly is that I currently eat WAY too much. And Kale. Can’t do it. Tried to do it, several ways. Failed.