Why to target 2000 calories diet?


While waiting for my first delivery I have some thought about calorie intake amount.

I have seen in United States a lot of “2000 calories diet”. For me it’s just a random number from the sky, that doesn’t actually mean a lot. Average man is expected to have 2200 cal, while average woman is targeting 1800. As I understand it was the source of 2000 number for average person of average sex.
We all greatly different in activity level (which from my subjective feeling is the greatest differentiator of recommended food intake). After that we have different weight (people on this forum go from 95 lbs to 450 lbs: 5 times!) and height.
And finally gender, I think have the smallest impact after lifestyle and weight/height.

Do you have any idea how to properly define how many bags of Soylent you need per day?

  • I’m male (+10% from average daily calories needed)
  • 20-30 age (+10% from average calories)
  • slightly less in weight and height than most others (-5% from average). I have no intent to change my weight at all
  • definitely much more active than any of my friends: not less than 150 minutes of active sports daily (+25% from average)

I can see that my guesstimate for my daily calories needs is 44% more than average person of average sex, described in the Nutrition Table on each product.

So my question goes to this:
Do I need to project my rate of Soylent needs on 1.4-1.45 bags per day or I’m missing something?
I haven’t seen many people on the forum to consume more than 1 bag per day, while I feel that gender diversity is quite seriously shifted to male side here.

I have been following several Soylent logs (all authors are men) and noticed that even on 100% Soylent diet, they are trying to consume exactly 1 bag, while based only on their gender they need to do 1.1 bag +maybe other factors will make recommended intake well above 1.25 bags in some cases.

@MentalNomad , can you share your opinion about scalability of nutrients and vitamins? If someone need 125% of daily calories intake, does it mean automatically that he should target for 125% of RDA of Sodium, Vitamins, and minerals , or there are some ingredients that doesn’t scale with activity (like calcium for bones)?


Have you looked up your BMR using the DIY nutrient profile calculator yet?

Calorie needs can vary rather widely from person to person. Most people seem to be content with a single package. I use a single package, but with extra oil.


I use beer to make up the extra calories my body needs.

(My body requires 3000 calories, I think. Yeah, I’ll go with that.)


The problem is the FDA. Foods are required to have FDA approved labeling. Personally, I ignore it.

As a cyclist who commutes almost exclusively by bicycle, I need a lot more than 2,000 calories a day. I mix a bag of Soylent in the 2-liter pitcher, but when I consume it, I pour it into a Nalgene bottle graduated in milliliters. At 1 calorie per millimeter, I simply pour in as much as I have calculated I need for that meal.

As far as how much I need, I calculate 2000 kcal + (50 kcal / mile). An easy calculation to do in my head. I usually try to treat that value as a maximum, but I monitor my weight every morning to make sure I’m on track.

As an individual, you need to decide what works for you.


A few things:

First, smeggot probably has the best answer to any further discussion, so that’s the TLDR:

Second, just as the calorie needs vary between men and women as you say, they also vary wildly within the genders depending on height, weight, fitness level, activity level, metabolism, and caloric goals; your calculations may work for you (they’re probably about right) but the next guy may need only 1800 to maintain, while many women will need between 1500-2400 depending on their own lifestyle. If your goal is 100% Soylent then you’ll need to consume more (or less) to meet your needs, otherwise I recommend sticking to one bag per day for convenience and eating some salty snacks to make up the difference and give you the sodium you need to support your activities.

Third, the 2000 calorie number isn’t exactly arbitrary since it does work for a large amount of people, but - more importantly - it DOES allow RL to streamline packaging and logistics in order to focus on meeting demand. I’ll be shocked if they don’t give us some different options in the near future.

I think a lot of the guys you see who are targeting EXACTLY one bag per day are doing so for convenience. Either they want to lose weight and 2000 falls into a comfortable (if not ideal) deficit or it’s close enough to ideal to be maintainable, or some other situation. Being mostly sedentary 4 days out of the week, an average of 2000 calories actually works out pretty well for me even though most BMR calculators would put me at a higher base rate.


nwoll27 nailed it.

Another thing to consider is the nice roundness of the number - much easier to tweak amounts to your own needs if each package is 2000, as opposed to, say, 2375.

I’ve no doubt they’ll have different package/amount options in the future, as well. All that stuff takes time. There’s more important things to take care of first, IMO, like shipping logistics, ensuring the formula is the best it can be, gas issue, etc. & so forth…


Just want to point out that the only method to have shown marked increase in longevity in chimpanzees in a long term study was caloric restriction.

Here is one example, in this case on study supported CR for longevity, the other concluded no difference, but both concluded better health with caloric restriction: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2012/08/calorie_restriction_and_longevity_monkey_study_shows_hunger_doesn_t_increase_longevity_but_type_of_food_does_.html

study studying wether humans already got the genetic difference from monkeys that makes caloric restriction useless (no we didn’t, it may still work) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0084117


Even if Soylent comes out with different package sizes, it’ll still have an FDA label that will still have a ‘serving size’ on it.


You’re opening something of a can of worms, here - and I don’t have a “perfect” answer, despite having spent a fair amount of time trying to find one, myself. (I’m 6’5" tall, weight 220 lbs, and am active… so no, I’m not near the averages…)

My short answer, in terms of what I’d suggest doing, is this:

Use a calorie needs requirement formula or tool to find your needs (the DIY site has one that’s good.)

Let’s say you come in at 2400 kcal a day… plan on using 1.2 bags/bottles of Soylent per day. (2400/2000 = 1.2).

And leave it at that.

I think the 2000 calories-per-day size doesn’t matter for a lot of people, because the majority of us are not going 100%… I can do 2000 plus a large meal per day. Others can use one pitcher for breakfast, but spread it over three days. Meanwhile, as @malachi points out, they’ll still have to label the bags with DV percentages based on a 2000-kcal diet. I think we’d still have the same number of people asking if the nutrition is right for them, when the numbers are based on 2000 and the bag is providing something other than 2000…

Statistics will tell you that individual variation is much greater than the variation between the gender averages, so if you’re going to trying to tune things to yourself, forget the gender averages and the 2000 baseline and go with your own specifics. (Online tools make that easy.)

In general, micronutrient needs scale fairly well with calorie (macronutrient) needs, and the calculator will give you a decent baseline for your calorie needs. There are very few micronutrients where you need have any concern about getting an excess (and Soylent doesn’t try to provide over 100% of anything, anyway)… and there are several where getting more is known to be a good thing, so it’s not worth agonizing over when you’re dosing Soylent.

There are a few definite sex-based differences which are not size-based; for example, pre-menopausal women need roughly double the iron that men need, but it’s very variable based on the woman.

There are a lot of nutrients where more is recommended for men than for women; this is typically (but not always) because we know more detail about how much of that nutrient is needed, and the figure compensates for that. There are also a lot of nutrients where the same is recommended for both men and women. Sometimes, this is because we’ve found that the same amount seems to be best for both sexes, but other times, it’s because we just haven’t been able to find a way to discriminate fine differences in intakes/outcomes, and therefor have no basis for getting more specific. In some cases, where our needs are very low, the “appropriate” level was figured by looking at how much we actually get from “known, healthy diets,” and setting the figure there - because otherwise some people might be highly concerned about getting an excess.

And good luck trying to figure out why the RDA/AI for Biotin is 30 mcg for both men and for women… but the DV for nutrient labeling is 300 mcg. Meanwhile, I take a well-researched multivitamin formula with my DIY which provides 3000 mcg. (Part of the reason: they couldn’t determine an RDA, a Recommended amount - but they know that going lower than 30 can start causing gross deficiency symptoms in a significant part of the population, so they set an AI - Adequate Intake - of 30 mg. But there are reasons to think more is better, and there are a variety of things which can impede biotin uptake, and there is no known level where there appear to be problems from “too much” biotin, so many wellness advocates push for much higher levels.)

And after all those gender and size differences, there’s still a strong layer of individual difference, which is relatively unexplored. Most of us cannot afford regular blood testing to see what levels we’re actually getting, while there are a wide variety of known conditions that make a big difference in uptake… conditions which you may not know you have.

And then there’s individual genetics, so you may just plain old need more or less than others…



An interesting note on calories for a practice Mars mission. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/space_20/2014/10/manned_mission_to_mars_female_astronauts_are_cheaper_to_launch_into_outer.html


As you said the 2000 calorie diet is based on an average sized person of “average gender”. This is fine for a large group of people like the population of the United States. It is logical wrong to apply it to an individual because an individual is hardly ever exactly average. Most people don’t know to or want to calculate their actual caloric needs. There are lots of calorie calculators out there including the one on the DIY site and are only meant as an educated guess and starting point.


In case you missed it in the post above, this is a good calculator to figure out your needs: http://diy.soylent.me/nutrient-profiles/calculator

I need more calories than what Soylent provides. On my all-soylent days I still have ~60g of whey protein after a workout and 2-3 servings of fruit as a snack, so I get my 2300-2500 that I need.


Given the amount I ride, on a light riding day (just commuting to work and back) and need about 2800 to 3000 calories a day (*).

I drink all 2000 calories of a pouch and oil of Soylent everyday and make up for the rest through additional meals (for variety) and other sources.

But, if I ever decide to go exclusively with Soylent as the sole source of meals, I’m not limited to one pouch of Soylent per day. The solution I thought I might use is to have two 2-liter pitchers. As I empty one, mix up another batch in it, put it in the fridge, and top off my drink from the other pitcher. That way, there’s always cold Soylent in the fridge.

(*) As an aside, on a long all day ride, I might need 5000 to 7000 calories, depending on how hard I ride. But, I probably won’t ever use Soylent as my sole source of calories for that. Though, I’ve thought about it.