Why Not Just Have a Snack/Protein Bar?


I apologize if this is already posted somewhere but I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere: why do Soylent customers prefer Soylent over a snack/protein/health food bar? The concept of Soylent is appealing to me personally, but I’m doing an analysis of Soylent for a class and my professors have stumped me with this question. I think my issue is because Soylent seems so intuitive to me that I can’t formulate a coherent explanation to someone that “doesn’t get it”.

Can anyone please help to explain to me why they choose Soylent over a nutritive food bar (of course, this question does not apply to those living purely on Soylent, only for those that use it as a meal replacement).


I don’t know of any protein bars that provide the micronutients of Soylent. If I could eat a bar with a similar nutrition profile as Soylent, I’d probably give it a try.


I can’t speak for everyone, but my answer would be that it provides a much better nutritional profile than the other things you mentioned. Especially when you consider calorie to nutrition ratio vs. those options. (Nutrition meaning correct macro ratio and all of the micronutrients you need.)

Also, there is more volume and it is more filling than those options, at least for me.

I am not sure about the price comparison between those options and Soylent. Likely Soylent would be more expensive per serving for 2.0 or comparable for 1.5.

As a side note: Rob has mentioned in previous AMAs that they are working on a solid-form Soylent which might end up being a better comparable for the bar-option snacks you mention.


That’s a good opportunity to consider the difference between hypothetical solid soylents and other snack-like foods.

  • soylent bars would have nutrients other snacks don’t - namely, all of them
  • soylent bars would lack crap ingredients like large amounts of table sugar or corn syrup
  • the ingredients would be better sourced presuming they come from microalgae

The main difference between soylents and health food bars is that soylents are actually healthy rather than marketing.


Nutrition, cost, convince, in that order.

I have yet to see a protein bar with vitamin C, D, or K at all. And the rest of the nutrients aren’t at the right ratio to the calories. Meaning i need to eat a protein bar, and then kale, and then some milk, and then… who knows what else. None of which is convenient.

Cost is about the same as a grocery store. So i’ll call it a draw there. Though it does mean i stick with the powder instead of 2.0, which is a bit more.


I find it very rare to find a good protein bar. I had been using Oatmega which still had 7g of sugar per bar that has 230 calories and doesn’t full you up, at all. I’ve tried Quest which bloated me badly. Though Soylent has 20g of protein which I have found is way more protein than most bars I have used so far.

Soylent where it does have 9g of sugar fills me up and holds me over until lunch (I drink mine at 6 AM) and has doucle the calories of a protein bar so the sugar isn’t too bad in it.

One protein bar is usually $2+ and you aren’t even getting the most out of it where soylent is around the same price and you get so much more.


Even though Soylent has what is labeled “sugar” on the label, I would point out that most of that is isomaltulose. (not sucrose which is what most people think of as “sugar”) For a summary of the differences, see here and go down to the “simple carbohydrates” section.

One of the main effects of not containing sucrose is a lower glycemic index. I would venture to guess that the snack bars mentioned above would likely contain sucrose “sugar”, and would likely have a higher glycemic index.

  • Nutrition: I’ve never seen a protein bar that provides all necessary micro- and macro-nutrients at levels suitable for a meal replacement
  • Calories: most protein bars have way to few calories to replace a meal
  • Satiety: I’d have to eat a dozen protein bars in one sitting to feel full
  • Cost: Protein bars are insanely overpriced! Getting a decent caloric intake from protein bars alone would cost several times as much as a day’s worth of Soylent, and would be incredibly unhealthy.

I seriously can’t understand people who compare Soylent to protein bars. In what world can protein bars ever replace a real meal? A snack, sure. Maybe even a mini-meal while hiking or something. But if you lived off of just protein bars you’d surely die young. (BTW, the above arguments also apply to other “meal replacement” drinks on the market, other than the Soylent-like competitors; stuff like VegaOne and Ensure aren’t comparable at all, and medical-grade food replacements are crazy expensive and designed for bedridden patients with minimal caloric needs)


Large number of snack/protein bar is crock full of sugar.


The MET-Rx Big 100 bar has almost everything that Soylent has, and is cheaper if you’re eating it for the vitamins/minerals and not the calories. It has too much sugar to be considered as something to live on entirely. But as maybe a once-a-day thing to supplement your normal-food meals, the sugar can be tolerable, depending on which normal foods you eat. Balance Bars are similar.

For the past 6 months my diet (except on cheat days) has consisted of two NutriBullet smoothies, one powdered food meal (Soylent or DIY seller) and one normal food meal each day. But I’m starting to phase out the powdered foods in favor of more MET-Rx and Balance bars.

Yeah, the Met-Rx bars are pretty close contenders. But they’re mostly just like a multivitamin with a bit of an energy boost. Can’t replace a proper meal. I’ve never seen Balance Bars before, though.

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I’ve been getting about 2/3 of my calories from Clif Builders bars for the past 5 years. $1 each by the box at Costco, taste good enough, and have nearly everything the body needs. I’ve never been healthier. For a 2000 calorie diet I can eat for $6 a day, keep my blood sugar level stable, and get enough protein to support an amateur body builder.

Exactly which clifbar are you eating?

They don’t look very nutritious or balanced.

Doh. …

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I know, lots of soy protein and sugar syrup. However from a macros perspective they’re a fine meal replacement. I still eat “normal” food every day and take a multivitamin so I think I have my nutritional bases covered. It seems likely that if I was getting far too much or too little of something I’d be showing symptoms after this long, but on the contrary I’m healthier than ever before in my life (and I’m 42).

For the record I get the 18-count boxes, which include the chocolate peanut butter, chocolate, and chocolate mint flavours.

Also, the ingredient list for the bars is pretty good stuff for the most part. I wouldn’t characterize any of it as crap:

Soy Protein Isolate, Beet Juice Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Dried Cane Syrup, Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Peanuts, Cocoa‡, Organic Rolled Oats, Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Peanuts, Peanut Flour, Rice Starch, Organic Sunflower Oil, Unsweetened Chocolate‡, Inulin (Chicory Extract), Sea Salt, Organic Oat Fiber, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Vanilla Extract, Cocoa Butter‡, Vanilla Extract, Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

The second ingredient is corn syrup.

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What’s wrong with corn syrup? I’m not being facetious - I actually don’t know.

Which one has that as the second ingredient?

That’s a different ingredient list than I saw. Will have to wait for the release to see the real one.

“Zero grams trans fat and does not contain partially-hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup”