Why isn't Soylent made with soy? Or lentils?


Surprisingly, this hasn’t been asked.
So why isn’t Soylent made from soy or lentils? Japanese eat gobs of tofu (soy) and they are doing OK. Soybeans and lentils are good for you. Why wouldn’t they start with that as a base, instead of rice/oat?


I could have sworn @rob talked about trying soy or why he didn’t include soy in early versions of Soylent, but I can’t find anything with Google. Maybe I imagined it? I don’t recall ever reading about the consideration of lentils, however.


There is Soy Lecithin on the label.


Is that the same as soybean flour? What is lecithin? Isn’t soy lecithin an emulsifier? Don’t they use that for blending oils into things? Like mayonnaise? They use rice flour. Why not grind up soybeans, or lentils, for the carbohydrates?


While the science is still ill-defined, some recent studies have shown negative effects. Soy in general contains phytoestrogens that may inhibit testosterone and mess with estrogen production, as well as disrupting the body’s endocrine system in general. There are also concerns about how soy affects reproduction in the long term, as well as certain soy isolates being linked to certain cancers (breast cancer, in particular.) Lastly, soy lecithin may be detrimental to diabetics, because of the insulin response.

I could see using lentils. Though, they may have to be sprouted as a matter of bioavailability.


Using soy and lentils was a clever idea Harry Harrison put in a novel, that made for a catchy name, but he never tested it all out scientifically.


As far as I recall from the reading I did last year, “soy lecithin” could be called “lecithin derived from soy” and most people allergic to soy can consume it without issue. When I said Soylent doesn’t contain soy, I forgot about the soy lecithin because it isn’t the same as containing soy protein, for instance. I also found this article that says commercial soy lecithin contains 100-1400 ppm of “IgE-binding proteins.” Sadly I have no idea if that is a significant amount at the levels contained in Soylent (12g soy lecithin in 1.4).


Because this isn’t the post apocalyptic future depicted in Harry Harrison’s book “Make Room! Make Room!”?


Oh, is that why Japan has a decreasing population?


Accordint to the Soylent blog, when talking about Soylent 1.0:

Soy Lecithin (6g) - Lecithins, often used in baking, have emulsification properties. Soylent is a colloid that combines substances that are normally immiscible. Emulsifiers like lecithin allow for a homogenous mixture of what would normally separate immediately. Lecithins are a mixture of different fatty substances and choline, and are completely metabolized by the body. While derived from soy, lecithin is completely isolated from proteins and phytoestrogens from the plant and thus is safe for consumption by those with a soy allergy.


They seem to have reversed course at least somewhat and now warn against consuming Soylent if you are allergic to soy or gluten.


Here is another “official” answer:

Why Is It Named Soylent?
Our name was inspired by Harry Harrison’s 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room!, which explores the impact massive population growth could have on world resources. In the book, “soylent” is made of soy and lentils and is a new food source used to accommodate overpopulation.

Obviously our product doesn’t have either (just a small amount of soy lecithin), but it is inspired by the idea that we must have an eye toward sustainable food sources as the world’s population growth increasingly taxes our resources.


Also, it appears that having a formulation with no traces of soy in it at all might void the trademark for the name “Soylent”.

So, it is likely that it will always contain trace amounts of some type of soy or derivative of soy.


So oat are not good for you?


No, that’s a social issue. Look up “hikikomori.”