Eat Real Food – Not Soylent 2.0

Eat Real Food - Not Soylent 2.0

What is Soylent?

Software engineer, Robert Reinhart believed that his busy lifestyle was leading him to poor dietary choices. He thought that he was far too overwhelmed to source food with adequate nutrition and had a moral conflict about supporting the agricultural industry. He “hypothesized that the body doesn’t need food itself, merely the chemicals and elements it contains,” 1 ordered a bunch of powdered supplements, and began a long-term, liquid diet. Reinhart made claims of improved health in multiple domains and launched a crowdfunding campaign to mass-produce what is now called Soylent. Is this the future of nutrition? Can we duplicate the results of Reinhart’s experiment? In the preparation for this product release, we should critically evaluate this product based on its contents and their biosynthetic implications in human physiology.

Soylent 2.0 – Ingredients List

The first step to this is to take a look at the available data including the ingredients list. The image below was taken from the Soylent website. 2

Soylent 2.0 Review

Soylent 2.0 – Macronutrient Content

Soylent has a macronutrient ratio of 47:27:26 (carbohydrates:fat:protein) by weight and from the ingredients list, we can derive that the source of the carbohydrates is maltodextrin and isomaltulose, the fat comes from algal oil and canola oil, and the protein comes from soy protein isolate that seems oddly familiar. 3 Let us compare a similar product that uses:

  • 20% rice oil (fat)
  • 58.73% corn (carbohydrate)
  • 21.07% soy (protein)
  • 1.2% synthetic vitamin and mineral blend

In Soylent 2.0, the maltodextrin is a starch derived from corn, and soy protein isolate is derived from soybeans. Instead of using rice as the vegetable oil source, Soylent 2.0 opted to go with algal oil that gives it an edge over its competitor. Canola oil is one of the worst fats one could put in their body because it contains erucic acid that damages the heart. There is not near enough DHA and EPA in either food and deficiencies will eventually manifest in the body taking the form of heart disease, bone deterioration, cognitive disorders, or even cancer. In fact, a deficiency in DHA has been shown to increase mortality rates across all domains. 4

Want to know where I got the nutrition data in the above image? It is livestock feed. It may not have the same “mouthfeel” as Soylent 2.0, but from a biochemical standpoint, they are nearly identical. I will give a slight advantage to Soylent 2.0 over livestock feed.


Update: People from the Soylent community have contacted me regarding the macronutrient nutrient ratios. I mistakenly quoted the macronutrient ratio from Soylent 1.5 rather than 2.0. I have corrected the ratios above. The direct comparison to Soylent 2.0 versus this particular livestock feed is +7:-11:+4; respectively. I have chosen to address these values by weight, rather than caloric energy because of the inequality of isocaloric values.

What is disturbing to me is not the similarity of macronutrients, but the means from which they were sourced and processed. Captive animals, who have lost their freedom to graze naturally, are fed commercial products derived and processed from corn, soy, and vegetable oil. The ingredients are designed to keep animals alive in a confined and restricted environment as cheaply as possible without a reduction in weight. When you read the story of a software engineer overworked, too busy to eat, and consumes Soylent, there are some definite parallels.

Soylent 2.0 – Micronutrient Content

Below is the micronutrient breakdown of Soylent 2.0: 5


At first glance, it does not look too bad. If you drink five bottles of Soylent 2.0 each day, you will get 100% of your daily vitamins and minerals, right? Not exactly. When evaluating vitamins and minerals, it is important to look at the form that you are taking. For instance, the type of vitamin D used in Soylent 2.0 is ergocalciferol or vitamin D2. Humans need cholecalciferol or vitamin D3 that is used throughout the body. D3 is significantly superior to D2 in human physiology. 6 In the same regard, Soylent 2.0 uses vitamin K1 instead of K2. K1 is transported poorly in the intestines and does not convert well to K2. 7 In clinical studies, vitamin K2 has shown cardiovascular improvements while K1 had no effect. 8 This is because K2 helps transport calcium into teeth and bones rather than forming arterial calcification. 9 K2 has also been shown to reduce cancer risk, and K1 has been shown to be ineffective in this area as well. 10 When we look at the chelated minerals used, we find the same dilemma – zinc sulfate, magnesium phosphate, sodium molybdenum and sodium selenite. Why use such inferior sources of minerals? Are the creators of Soylent 2.0 ignorant of the scientific data, or are they just trying to save a few pennies?

There are other ingredients in Soylent 2.0 that are outright harmful. Studies have shown that dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E) is linked to increased cancer rates. 11 This is due to the reverse chirality of the synthetic isomer 12 meaning that the shape of the molecule is backward from natural vitamin E. Negative health effects can also be associated with one of the water-soluble B vitamins. For instance, approximately one-third of the population will increase their cancer risk when consuming synthetic folic acid. 13 This is because of a mutation in the MTHFR gene. People with one or more defective MTHFR genes will have trouble converting synthetic folic acid to 5-MTHF. With supplemental use, in the dose that Soylent 2.0 provides, folic acid levels will build up fueling cancer cells.

Soylent 2.0 – The Gut Impact

Soylent 2.0 contains a few FODMAPs:

  • F (Fermentable Starches) – rice starch
  • O (Oligosaccharides) – isomaltooligosaccharide
  • D (Disaccharides) – isomaltulose
  • M (Monosaccharides)
  • A (and)
  • P (Polyols)

Consuming Soylent 2.0 every day will have a dynamic impact on the microbiome. Many of the carbohydrates will not be absorbed in the stomach, or large intestine that will feed bacteria in the small intestine. Since the bacteria are restricted only to the carbohydrate sources in Soylent 2.0 the lack of options will limit the diversity of the population with single, long term use. Bacteria that can process isomaltooligosaccharides and rice starch are going to have a tremendous advantage over those that do not. Over time, the Coprococcus, Collinsella, and Coprobacillus phylotypes will overrun the Bifidobacteria, 14 butyric acid levels will drop, 15 and endotoxin will leak out into the bloodstream. You may hear anecdotal reports of people consuming nothing but Soylent 2.0 for months at a time without incident, but it is just a matter of time before they will develop problems.

Soylent 2.0 – Philosophy

According to Rhinehart’s blog, one of the biggest reasons for creating Soylent 2.0 was because of the immoral activities regularly displayed by the food industry. Since Soylent 2.0 uses ultra-processed ingredients, they are further removed from the food chain than the produce at the grocery store. This would lead a person to believe that Soylent 2.0 is not a participant in the wrongdoings of the food industry, but this operates on the assumption that the ingredients do not include the same sources. What is the difference between the rice, soy, and corn products in the store and those that are in Soylent 2.0? Other than the method of processing, there is none – it just comes in a different package. In fact, when Vice filmmaker went to visit the Soylent warehouse in 2013, they found that it was subject to rats and mold. 16 Third party watch group, As You Sow, tested Soylent 1.5 to find that it had ” a concentration of lead that is twelve to twenty-five times above California’s Safe Harbor level for reproductive health and a concentration of cadmium that is at least four times greater than the Safe Harbor level for cadmium.” 17 This is indicative of a poor quality vitamin powder, and we see this all the time in low-quality supplements. It would be much better to source whole foods carefully from trusted farmers, and there is a lot of benefit to diversifying the diet through eating seasonally, and locally.

Soylent 2.0 is ready to drink, and that is attractive to people who want to save time preparing meals. Some will make the argument that it is better for your than some of the fast-food entrées on the market, but at least with fast food, you have options and diversity. Fast food companies are also better regulated for hygiene standards.

Soylent 2.0: Final Verdict


I was going to give Soylent 2.0 an “F,” but it has not killed anyone yet, so I bumped it up to a “D-“. It contains potentially harmful ingredients; it is nutritionally inadequate, it is bad for your gut, and given the ingredients, it most likely tastes like glue. The only advantage it has is speed, but there are other products on the market that are just as fast to prepare and are about the same quality. If I were stranded on a desert island, I would drink Soylent 2.0 to stay alive. Other than that, I have no use for it.

In my conclusion to my Soylent 2.0 review I would like to encourage Soylent 2.0 customers to free up some of their time, source quality whole foods, and take the time to prepare your meals. The time it takes you to cook, it will be more than made up for in performance and efficiency.


Written by Jason Hooper

  7. Schurgers, L.J., Vermeer, C. Differential lipoprotein transport pathways of K-vitamins in healthy subjects. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1570 (2002) 27-32.
  8. Gijsbers, B.L.M.G., Jie, K.-S.G., Vermeer, C. Effect of food composition on vitamin K absorption in human volunteers. Brit. J. Nutr. 76 (1996) 223-229.
  9. Elder, Haytowitz, Howe, Peterson, & Booth, 2006, pp. 436-467
  10. Schurgers et al., 2002
  1. I stopped reading when you compared it to animal feed. Clearly your intention there was to cause an emotional reaction from the people reading rather than a scientific analysis, so anything after that was, to me, pointless to read.

    You’re a hack… thanks for proving it.

  2. We have another type of liquid food in Europe called “Nano” just wondering how you think it compares.

  3. While it didn’t begin proper, it’s been morphing and now appears to be far better than my current diet. That says quite a bit about my current diet, but I’m also like a large number of American workers. They’ve moved to using sunflower oil for Soylent 1.5 & Algal oil for Soylent 2.0. It’s constantly changing as time goes on. I’ve personally held off due to the reasons noted in this article but with how things have changed I’m going to try it now and see.

  4. I think this review is probably rooted more in theoretical posturing than reality.

    I’ve been almost exclusively Soylent 2.0 for months, and my most recent numbers from a comprehensive health eval were all the best they’ve been since I first started having them checked in my early 30s (I’m now in my late 40s). My story also isn’t unique; in fact it’s common with people who have chosen to use Soylent for the bulk of their calories.

    Statements like “real food should be the basis of your nutrition” are rooted much more in ideological purity than science, and anything rooted in ideological purity should be your first warning that perhaps you’re not being completely rational. You prefer “real food” over synthetic options, which is completely fine. What’s less than fine is fear mongering and ignoring the ever-increasing amounts of data showing that people who are using Soylent over the long-term are really, really healthy.

  5. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after
    reading through some of the post I realized
    it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and
    checking back frequently!

  6. The problem with claiming this product is ‘nutritionally inadequate’ is that people have been medically monitored for over a year while consuming it, and their blood values have been fine. They have not developed any deficiencies. That’s pretty much the definition of nutritionally adequate. So you should watch that sort of libel.

    It doesn’t claim to be optimal, only adequate. It will keep you alive and reasonably healthy. It’s better than a microwave burrito, and that’s what it’s meant to replace. Plus, they keep upgrading and improving it as they learn more.

    • Actually it does claim to be fairly optimized, and considering what it’s done for my overall health (including blood work) over the last 6 months, I would agree.

      People who have been exclusively Soylent for a year have posted fairly stellar results from a wide variety of medical panels.

  7. Hi Jason, I’ve been interested in trying some soylent-like products just as a way of replacing breakfast or lunch when busy, but have been tentative to purchase any while searching for the healthiest option. The front-runner for me currently seems to be “Huel,” though. Could you tell me your thoughts on this product? Here’s the link to their webpage:

  8. also in re to maltodextrin content: did more digging!

    “Maltodextrin is a category, not a chemical. There are different DE (dextrose equivalent) values. Longer chains take longer to break down and taste less sweet. We use a low DE version. The source matters as well. Corn, rice, and tapioca maltodextrin have different ratios of (1->4) and (1->6) glycosidic bonds. More of the latter takes longer to break down. Corn is faster than rice which is faster than tapioca. We use only tapioca maltodextrin, which is more expensive than corn.

    This is still faster than oat powder. We use about 2/3 slow carbs 1/3 tapioca maltodextrin which I’d say is “medium”. We are currently running tests to verify our overall GI but it already looks to be quite low.”

    probably will go to prove that Soylent is at least, if not more healthy than a regular average American diet. Of course, I say that tentatively because I’d like to see the glycemic index.

  9. When I read things on the internet, especially things of a scientific nature, I like to know the author’s background.

    Do you have a background in biology or nutrition? Do you have any special qualifications relating to nutrition?

    As far as I can tell by reading this, it comes off as a very fear mongering, misinformed article. Canola oil isn’t bad for you, for one.

    the sources you do provide do not seem to necessarily prove the points you think they do.

    Also, to elucidate on potential benefits of Soylent like products: They are essentially vegetarian, and eliminate stress on the environment from raising animals for food. They contain no waste. Theoretically, if everyone ate a Soylent like product, there would be no shortages of food.The environment would be better due to less water wastage on animals for food. Deforestation would decrease, and reforestation would be possible.

    as far as your concerns to “super processed” foods, I think they are overstated. We started “processing” foods by cooking meat, grinding flour and making bread. Most processing involves heating and/or grinding of a product to make nutrition MORE bioavailable and MORE easily digestible. Now, I will have to do more research on the bioavailability of the specific ingredients used by Soylent(TM) before I make any statements on that particular product. But I see no reason why a fully liquid-from powder food substitute wouldn’t be able to fulfill all of your dietary needs.

    I think Soylent 2.0, the liquid in a bottle, is a step in the wrong direction. It’s more consumer ready, but it’s very wasteful in terms of packaging. I think the use of synthetic vitamin E instead of natural vitamin E is questionable. All research I can find so far indicates that it is safe, but perhaps slightly less bioavailable. Soylent 1.5 has better macro nutrient ratios than 2.0. As for the maltodextrin, I’m unsure of it. There are definitely other “soylent like” products that do a better job.

    I think there are questions to be asked. I think you may be drawing unjustified conclusions, though.

    IMHO, this seems like one of the most ideal soylent type products on market:

    • Soylent 2.0 is more than essentially vegetarian – it’s actually vegan. Contains no animal products at all.

  10. Hey Jason. My roommate recently bought a case of Soylent 2.0 and I tried one.

    No real criticism on everything you’ve written here, except for that one line in the conclusion where you said “it most likely tastes like glue”. Though I’m sure the taste is probably the least important factor while discussing the health values of the product, I do have to intervene a bit and say it’s not unpleasureable at all.

    Soylent 2.0 actually tastes like soymilk with some grains mixed in to it. A slight aftertaste of that lucky charms cereal, without the marshmellow bits. As a foodie, I wouldn’t be interested in replacing meals with it, but the taste would probably be enjoyable to anyone who likes soymilk.

  11. > Since the bacteria have, only a restricted diet of the carbohydrate sources in Soylent 2.0 the lack of options will limit the diversity of the population.

    That sentence doesn’t make sense. I think the comma shouldn’t be there? Maybe you mean:
    “Since the bacteria have only a restricted diet of the carbohydrate sources in Soylent 2.0, the lack of options will limit the diversity of the population.”???? (I’m only reading it grammatically, I have no idea about the truth of the underlying statement.)

  12. Hello Jason,

    Very well written and studied post. I have one question. You say that Canola oil is “one of the worst fats” you can put in your body. However, there’s been plenty of claims that canola oil is one of the healthiest because of low saturated fact and high on poly and unsat fats. How does Canola oil compare to olive oil? Thanks

    • Thanks, Javier. I have a number of disagreements with the FDA on their nutrition recommendations. It is my opinion that they are motivated by political factors more than the greater good. Check out the documentary “Fed Up” and it talks about the “war on fat” and how so much sugar ended up in our food. Saturated fat has been demonizedAnyhow… when we look at polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and the diets around the world, the Standard American Diet (SAD) has a much greater omega-6 (n-6):omega-3 (n-3) ratio. Nutritions argue between 1:1 and 4:1 as “optimal,” but the SAD is 60:1. Canola oil is high in n-6 and contains zero n-3. Canola oil comes from rapeseed, which contains erucic acid and is known to damage the heart. They have genetically modified the plant to reduce the erucic acid content of canola oil, but it is still not safe to consume. Olive oil is much higher in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. It contains a bit of n-6, and no n-3. It has no erucic acid, so it is a far superior oil to canola oil. It is best to eat olive oil raw and not to cook with it.

      In summary, we need a good balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats to live. When we get these out of proportion, it damages our health. Americans need to cut back on the polyunsaturated fats particularly the omega-6 (n-6).

      • Canola Oil may well be bad for you, and I don’t eat it myself, but there is no scientific evidence — not a single study — showing anything wrong with it.

        Whole Foods, which has relatively high standards, uses Canola Oil in about 80% of their salad bar items.

        • Would you be willing do donate a dollar to the site for every study I can link to that shows the negative effects of compounds in canola oil?

          • I won’t donate, but scientifically valid studies? Yeah. Not random web sites. (I see you mention a lot of “eat local” hippie stuff.. The review should just be about the nutritional value of the food (replacement)).

            I see you’re not a doctor, but presumably the FDA is filled with doctors.

          • Canola is a genetically engineered plan that came from rapeseeds. Rapeseeds developed a bad reputation in the late 80’s because English farmers started feeding it to their livestock and it had such a negative impact that they banned it. It was soon re branded and sold as an insecticide. This caused a profit loss from the rapeseed producers, so they began to engineer a new cultivar which limits the amount of erucic acid found in the oil. They changed the name from rapeseed to canola, which is definitely a good marketing tactic. The problem is that erucic acid studies were never done in humans, so they neglected to test other harmful compounds found in canola oil like the isothiocyanates. These compounds limit the production of ATP in the mitochondria and down-regulate acetlycholinesterase production in the brain. Studies have implicated isothiocyanates with glaucoma, hair loss, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and hearing problems. It is also important to take a look at the n-3:n-6 polyunsaturated fat ratio. Canola oil is basically concentrated omega-6. You would have to take boatloads of fish oil to balance it out, and afterward, your consumption of PUFA would be way too high. This creates systemic, low-grade inflammation in the body.

            Silly hippies eating local produce instead of eating stuff from South America with depleted nutrients. You might also want to research circadian biology and the impact of consumption of produce grown in another hemisphere and the impact it has on hormone production. When I write a negative review, I like to give people a better alternative – hence the title.

            Yeah, the FDA has some doctors (and a lot of lawyers and lobbyists), but if you look through the medical school curriculum, how many course hours do doctors spend on diet, nutrition, and biochemistry? Since initial studies were performed on the link between artificial trans fats and cardiovascular damage, it took them roughly 20 years for the FDA to declare them unfit for consumption. Here is another interesting fact about the FDA (which is a matter of public record that you can look up): the Canadian government paid the FDA $50 million USD to place canola oil on the GRAS list (generally recognized as safe). Eat canola oil if you want to, but nobody had to bribe the FDA to get olive oil on the GRAS list.

      • “Misinformation about canola oil may stem from the fact that the canola plant was developed through crossbreeding with the rapeseed plant. Rapeseed oil contains very high levels of erucic acid, a compound that in large amounts can be toxic to humans.

        Canola oil, however, contains very low levels of erucic acid.

        Canola oil is also low in saturated fat and has a high proportion of monounsaturated fat, which makes it a healthy and safe choice when it comes to cooking oils.”

        Written by Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

        • So, it contains a very low level of eruric acid known to damage the heart? No thanks. Ever wonder why the canola industry has to dump so much money into lobbying and campaign funding? Just do a search for canola oil lobby. The “US Canola Council” is keeping this stuff on the shelves.

      • In regards to the omega 3 to omega 6 content, do you have any references for Canola oil being bad?

        Really the only thing that matters in terms of our health about Omegas is their Omega6 to Omega3 ratio. Canola oil has a ratio of 2.2:1.

        Studies have shown anything between a 1:1 ratio and a 5:1 ratio to be acceptable and even healthy. And definitely, a 2.2:1 ratio would be healthy.

        • The n-3 content of canola is in ALA form, so biologically speaking, how much relevant n-3 (DHA, EPA) fats are in canola?

          When ALA converts to linolenic acid in combination with dietary linoleic acid, what’s the difference? Biologically speaking, you are consuming an oil that is extraordinary high in PUFA and none of it biologically favorable.

  13. Hi:

    Thanks for the informative posts. It’s clear that you have put a lot of time and thought into the post and responses. I have been using 1.5 as a means to basically being able to better manage my calorie intake. Typically I’ll take a bottle of Soylent with me to work 3x per week for breakfast/lunch, and have a normal healthy dinner. The other days in the week I eat normally. I guess I’d be curious to hear what you think about this kind of “hybrid” approach. It has allowed me to loose about 7 lbs so far since I’m not grabbing as much “quick lunches” anymore, and it’s still coming off.



  14. I found this discussion very interesting but know very little about the bodies required nutrients and the ways they metabolize when introduced in different forms. Could the author point me to a book or website that could illuminate these things for me, trying to gain a good knowledge base from disjointed medical articles has been trying and I face a large risk of misinformation with my lack of knowledge from health “gurus” who I feel over emphasize and misrepresent scientific studies if they even include them.

  15. >”probably tastes like glue“
    >hasn’t even tried the product being reviewed

    2 pro

  16. Your confident “synthetic vitamin E gives you cancer” claim is exaggerated, in light of the study you cite. In the study, they’re looking at 20 times the RDA (400 IU), and get a non-statistically-significant result. A bottle of Soylent has 1/5 the RDA.

  17. I’m curious what your thoughts are on Space Nutrients Station 100% food? They claim it is made from natural ingredients, and contains all nutrients according to FDA 2000 calorie diet. I only plan to replace one meal a day with 100% food and plan to keep a active lifestyle. Do you think there is any difference between soylent 2.0 and 100% percent food? Do you think there are any real benefits to drinking 100% food compared to eating fast food for lunch?

    • “100% food” is a gimmick. It does not give a complete list of the ingredients, and it uses synthetic vitamins. It is hard to say if it is better than Soylent 2.0, but you can probably find some better fast food options out there and you should never eat the same thing every day.

  18. LOL, what a thorough review, and not exempt from sarcasm. I think you just gave Soylent the recipe for their 3.0 version, and for free.

    What’s your opinion about ? It looks like an expensive smoothie.

    • I am highly critical of powderized “green smoothies.” There is immense nutrition loss in this dehydration process, so they have to add synthetic vitamins to compensate. I do not see how this is better. For the same price, you could make a very high quality salad and have it delivered to you. Of course, you will have to chew it, but mastication is better for your digestion.

      PS: I am not a big fan of nutritional yeast. I encourage people to stay away from it.

      • Hi Jason,
        Why should people stay away from nutritional yeast?


        • It has been linked to cancer.

          • Where did you get this information? Are you referring to Saccharomyces cerevisiae because I can find no evidence of your claims.

          • And the scientific studies linking this correlation are where exactly??

    • Ambronite has a reversed calcium/phosphorus ratio that’s likely to cause bone problems and hypoglycemia, and that’s just for starters.

      • *Pardon – hypocalcemia, of course, not hypoglycemia – sorry, no way to edit posts*

  19. Could you recheck your advice that vitamin D3 is better than vitamin D2. The study below shows that vitamin D3 is only more effective than vitamin D2 when users make mega doses of more than 50,000 IU at a time. The Vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily. At this level, there is no difference in the effectiveness of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

    • That is not what the study says. Let me break it down for you:

      1) There are varying opinions in the medical community regarding the optimal level of serum 25(OH). The conservative sources say 30ng/ml, and some go as high as 80ng/ml. In the study you have cited, the only instance of D2 having a similar impact upon serum 25(OH)D levels as D3 are in daily 1000IU doses. At the end of eleven weeks, the participant (out of 67 participants) had 16ng/ml – still deficient.

      2) The serum levels are non-specific 25(OH)D serum levels. Logically, D2 administration will raise 25(OH)D2 levels and D3 will raise 25(OH)D3. Remember: vitamin D is not actually a vitamin. It is more like a pro-hormone because of its steroidal structure. Since the participants in the study were receiving this orally, it must be processed by the liver and kidneys to become biologically active (through the calcidiol -> 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). Each substrate must take a different pathway, and this is where epigenitics comes into play. Ergocalciferol (D2) is synthetically derived from mushrooms; whereas, cholecalciferol is derived from lanolin (animal sourced). Guess which one more closely resembles human physiology? This is why, for efficacy, we must look beyond generic 25(OH)D levels and look at bone density, CNS regulation, and IL markers. Vitamin D3 wins every time.

      3) Optimally, we should be getting our vitamin D from sunlight. In fact, this is the only way to get sulphated 25-hydroxyvitamin. And who is Soylent marketed towards? Mountain claimers, marathon runners, or outdoorsman? No. It is marketed at coders and video game junkies that are staring at a computer monitor all day. They are not getting natural sunlight, and they are overexposed to blue light in the retina. You know what neuroscientists find when the do an f/MRI on these sorts? Immense hypoxia and circadian disturbances. Do you think taking vitamin D (even the inferior D2) at night will make things better? What happens if you take Soylent for your evening meal?

      The makers of Soylent obviously did not think this through and they are going to hurt a lot of people to make a quick buck. It’s sad.

  20. I’m late to this article and comments. But I was a Soylent 1.0 tester. The story about it throwing off your gut bacteria seems right on the money. I had a single shake and later that same day it was like I had eaten glass. The next day was worse and it took two more days after that before it went away.

    After dealing with them, I feel they company is basically deceitful and tells this story that they are somehow creating a decent meal, when on their own open source meal replacement joylent forums there are solutions with better nutrition, organic sources etc. but the company refuses to acknowledge the poor nutrition it provides while publicly telling a story is very much a deception. They know at this point the lack of nutrition in their product and the revisions don’t address them.

    However the user base is almost cult like mind controlled and rabidly go after people that question this supposed “future food”. They always want to compare it to junk food or a crappy diet, which is the lowest bar possible. So what if it is better than junk food, that only puts it in the category of marginally better than junk food.

    • How is your gut doing now? If you need help, give us a shout and we’d be happy to get you back on track.

    • I kind of doubt that 1 meal of Soylent was enough to throw off your gut flora. They are there to partially balance any transient offensive things you consume and 1 meal of nearly anything wouldn’t really throw them off to the point you feel like you ate glass. I hope everything is normal now and would advise you see a Dr. if you feel that again.

      While I do enjoy Soylent when I am pinched for time or can’t get away from work to eat at a decent time, I am by no means a fan boy. I also don’t think they misrepresent themselves at all. This product is made to be lowest cost with just the right nutrients you need. Not the best nutrients of which there are plenty of better sources. And companies like mySani and JouleFoods are trying to do that. But again that isn’t the aim of Soylent. They ARE targeting the junk food eaters and the people who don’t want to make food at home. The idea was the brainchild of someone who lives a sedentary life style and is tied to a desk 12-14 hrs a day. Even if you don’t understand that style of life it is how some people live and there is plenty of room for healthy change there. I feel like Soylent is a step in the right direction and not at all targeted towards your demographic.

      As for the cult claim, sure, any fad or group of people with different views on a subject will sound “brain washed” or defensive when challenged but how much of that is a response to your approach in dealing with them. I could even say your post sounds a bit cult inspired and angry to me with only anecdotal evidence. But that isn’t helpful in a discussion.

      And finally your claim that Soylent is only marginally better then junk food sounds reactionary and emotionally charged. I doubt anyone could objectively prove that to be the case. Lets use reason not emotion to discuss these important topics.

  21. Thanks for this! just realized your macro breakdown of 2.0 is backwards. Carbs:Fats:Protein is (in %) 33:47:20.

    Also, what are your thoughts on

    • They have a really nice website! I like their interactive scrolling script. Other than that, there is not a whole lot of information for me to work with. It looks like a work in progress. Let me know if they get around to posting an ingredients list, or macronutrient breakdown.

  22. Hi Jason,

    Thank you for your obvious patience addressing the various comments. Two broad questions –

    Do you regard that it is in fact possible to create a product of this nature (perhaps more expensively) that adequately satisfies the gut/dietary needs? Surely you would agree that the principle of a (relatively) cheap, easy-to-store, long-lasting food that could be used to address malnutrition/hunger in times of crisis is an interesting idea? (I note these products are not marketed for this purpose).

    Secondly, there are a few competitors popping up with similar aims. I note this European product has K2 for example, but lack the expertise to understand how many of the Drawbacks it shares with Soylent.


    • Jake Shake looks a bit better than Soylent, but it is far from perfect. It Coconut oil, which I like, but I dislike flax seed oil because it oxidizes so quickly. It still beats the canola oil in Soylent. Long term use would be much better on the gut microbiome. Jake shake uses D3 instead of D2, so that is a plus. It still uses folic acid instead of folonic acid, k1 instead of k2, and magnesium carbonate instead of glycinate. I really wish companies would stop using the DL from of vitamin E! It gives you cancer!

      In a time of crisis, you will be lucky if you have any food to eat. Your last concern with be genetic methylation factors, or cancer. You will be looking for shelter, heat, dense calorie sources, and ammunition. If you had Jack Shake to eat during crisis, you would be very fortunate. You could also just store your own coconut oil, get a decent whey protein powder, store white rice, buy some quality, bulk multivitamin powder, and a dha/epa supplement. You will save money, and have a much better nutrition source. This way, when the boogie man comes knocking, you will have a distinct advantage in power, speed, reaction time, and mental performance. They will soon wish they had come to a Soylent shelter instead.

      • Could you perhaps do a comparison of Soylent vs other brands? I would be interested in hearing how you feel about the recipes they are using. They have a lot in common, but they each have different ingredients.

        I realize it would mean a lot of work but I think a comparison by you would be very valuable: soylent-type drinks are very popular, and if you can help people make an informed decision and choose the most healthy option it would be great!

        Keto Chow
        see also:

        • Wow! Some of the ingredients in those products are horrifying! I would not take any of those, particularly not Keto Chow – what were they thinking? Eating that much protein will kick you out of ketosis (due to the gluconeogenisis pathway in the liver) and the ingredients are going to wreck your gut.

          Look, I know these soylent-type drinks are popular, and that is part of the problem. These competing products see dollar signs and it becomes all about having the best marketing team, not the best product. What everyone has to understand is that supplements are supposed to supplement your diet, not replace it. If you want to drink a protein shake to get in some fast absorbing isolates to help with your recovery, awesome, but that doesn’t mean you should only drink protein shakes. If you think of the pyramid of health, it goes in this order: lifestyle habits, food, then supplements. Consumers of these products need to fix their lifestyle so they have more time and energy to chew, then eat whole foods, then formulate an effective supplement regimen. They are going about it backwards.

          • Believe it or not, but some of those ingredients are found in natural foods.

          • Amygdalin is found in apples. Does that mean it is okay to extract and refine it and put it into liquid meal replacement shakes?

          • Well, consumers of Soylent aren’t GOING to ‘fix their lifestyle.’ And some of us CAN’T, because our ‘lifestyle’ is based on the fact we are disabled. I’ll be happy to eat nothing but home-cooked freshly prepared foods, if you come to my house and fix them for me – because I surely can’t do it, and likely never will be able to. Nor am I wealthy enough to pay someone to do it for me.

            Others simply have exactly 0 interest in cooking and meal preparation, whether you want them to or not. As has been pointed out before, this product is not designed to replace carefully prepared home-cooked meals. It’s meant to replace microwave burritos and fast food, for people who regularly eat microwave burritos and fast food.

            If people were willing or able to change their entire lifestyle to accommodate preparing whole food meals at home, they wouldn’t be interested in this product.

            Solutions that require people to change their lives around them are NOT realistic.

            LOTS of people are losing weight on Soylent – not becoming too thin, but reducing weight to a healthy level. It’s possible this is happening due to the die-offs of gut bacteria that contribute to obesity.

            Granted, we might be losing gut bacteria that do good things, but that really remains to be seen. Humans are incredibly adaptable animals, and they can thrive (not just live, but thrive) on diets ranging from the near-carnivory of traditional polar region diets, to diets high in akali-processed corn, to diets rich in vegetables, fish, and rice… the list goes on. Many of these diets which contribute to great health and longevity in the people who eat them couldn’t be more different from each other.

            Soylent IS an experiment. It’s an ongoing experiment, it’s continually monitored and improved, and while it surely is not one-size-fits all, it’s certainly improving the health of at least some of the people who are consuming it. In the end, it’s a food item, and no one’s forcing you to eat it – you can eat what you want. ;)

          • I may get some flack from this but saying you cannot change your lifestyle because people do not have the time or disabled is a cop out. Why cannot you eat freshly prepared meals or at the very least ready made meals that are at least more nutritious than Soylent? Hell making your own shake out of whey protein, fruit, A2 or VAT pasteurized milk, and XCT oil would be healthier than Soylent. It is easy and you can store it in the refrigerator to consume later.

            Before you come up at me with I am an ablest, my son was completely physically handicapped and tube fed. This is better than Soylent:, and we gave it to him.

            Even if you eat conventionally produced meat and conventionally grown fruits and vegetables to save money, you would still be healthier then those who consume the SAD.

            There are always options, most people rather be lazy and not take them, Hooper is right. We are creatures of habit, some more destructive than others.

            Your microbiome adapting is not always a good thing, just because it adapts and is asymptomatic at the time, does not mean the shift is positive.

            I would love to see the studies done on these people and the results. Where are the double blind studies? Were they funded by Soylent?

          • The point that I was trying to make was that Soylent contains ingredients that feed the “bad bacteria” (or LPS endotoxin excreting microorganisms) that lead to obesity and the “good bacteria” (the ammonia scavengers, toxin binders, and mucosal membrane benefactors) die off. From an author of a website that focuses on digestive health – one who has read thousands upon thousands of peer-reviewed journal article studies, I can tell you that your comments on the microbiome are way off.

          • I am not a scientist.

            That said, I cannot see how a double blind study on the impact of ANY food could be accomplished.

            What would be the control group to contrast the Soylent eating group?

            It would be unethical to make a control group subsist largely or entirely on a food placebo.

            You could simply mandate that every participant in the study consume 2 regular meals and then some of the substance that was given to them, but it would still be a mess.

            I would like to see more data on the effects of Soylent consumption, the occasional anecdotal report or blood panel mentioned were put forth voluntarily, and are not necessarily representative, but people are weird about food, and it would become an annoying controversy. Or maybe not.

            A thing that it could be pointed out that they have not done, which they could have, is to try to unobtrusively ask for voluntary reports from people purchasing soylent. The sample would not be random, and the baseline of ‘pre-soylent’ would be far from an adequate control group because the expectations people who purchase have for it could trigger the placebo affect, but one would think that would normalize after a few months and provide data that, if not necessarily actionable, would at least be interesting to look at.

            p.s. full disclosure: I hate food and am very much a fan of soylent. I don’t believe that that has colored my statements much, but I’ll not have it be said that I didn’t mention it.

      • That, was hilarious.
        “They will soon wish they had come to a Soylent shelter instead.”
        the visuals I got of some malnourished militia group encountering better nourished, capable survivalists. lol.

        somebody should make a weekly combo pack to vary the macro nutrient types and ratios along with a little sachet of vitamins not suited to mixing with the powdered meal replacement / solid bar. I wouldn’t subsist off it, even if I made it… but gosh they need to do better. way better.

        wandered over from BP
        and have been browsing.

  23. I’m a Soylent 1.5 user (1 meal a day) and it’s nice to finally see some good research on the product! Many are speculating over the hypothetical bad effect on Soylent but you really can’t find much in depth/accurate analysis. The bacteria paragraph is interesting, is 1-2 bottle of 2.0 really enough to loose the equilibrium in your system? I would assume keeping two real meals a day still make up for it.

    • Anton, the tell take sign is gut health. On Fix Your Gut, we do not recommend the long term use of prebiotic fiber. Depending on your microbiome composition, and genetic factors, you may be able to get a way with one a day, but a lot of people will get wrecked on it. Monitor your motility and watch out for pelvic distention. If it gets bad, try John’s SIBO proticol and discontinue Soylent until you recover.

      • The trick is to go SLOWWW…. people who guzzle down a giant glass of this stuff for their very first try are going to cause WWIII in their gut, pretty much guaranteed.

        Replace no more than 1 meal per day with Soylent in the beginning, and expect some minor upsets the first few days. Your microbiome will change and adapt. Work your way up to 2 meals per day a few weeks later, and you’ll find that it doesn’t cause you any issues. If you’re going for all three, wait a month to do that, and expect food cravings at first as your bacteria try to take over your mind and force you to eat things to support them, but again, you will adapt without any major bathroom assaults, I promise. And the cravings will go away once the rebelling bugs die off.

  24. I used to drink soy drinks (Herbalife) because it was easy to make and “healthy”. Yes, I did lose a lot of weight and felt better at the beginning, so I thought I was on the right path. Eventually, I started feeling a heavy fatigue everyday and even developed severe brain fog and extreme digestion issues. Once I quit drinking soy products again, these issues started clearing up but after 2+ years of not using them, I am still working on correcting the issues. I realize Soylent and Herbalife aren’t exactly the same thing, but still I suggest to avoid Soylent 2.0 at all costs as I have had severe troubles with other soy products in the past.

  25. Why do you make it seem like you have tried a product that it is impossible for you to have tried yet? (Since it is not physically available)

    Why do you block comments from appearing that are in disagreement to what you posted? Are you afraid?

    • If we blocked comments, why did yours and every negative criticism of the article show up on the comment section? Here at FYG we do not censor negative dissension.

  26. It tastes like glue? It hasn’t even been released yet, how would you know? I appreciate the time it took you to write this, and agree with a few of your assertions, but it all comes off as disingenuous with that statement about the taste. You should mention in the very first line of the this review that it hasn’t been released yet and everything you write is just opinion.

    • I appreciate your criticism. I have changed the wording of that sentence to clarify that based on the ingredients it most likely tastes like glue. The fat composition is only 20% of the macronutrient ratio, and water is not a macronutrient, therefore the first three ingredients (water, maltodextrin, and soy protein isolate) constitute, at a minimum, 95% of the product. What does water, maltodextrin, and soy protein isolate taste like? Well there are many products on the market that use these as their primary ingredients (they are inexpensive and they can garnish a high profit margin). What do they taste like? Glue. You can try and add sweeteners and flavors to try and mask that flavor, but it will only taste like flavored glue.

      • I respect you for allowing the negative comments to post, and also for acknowledging the criticism. A friend of mine tasted 2.0 and said it tasted pleasant, like a not so sweet vanilla wafer. One more thing, the Motherboard Vice video where they saw a rat in the warehouse happened back in 2013 in the very early stages. They quickly transitioned to modern packaging facilities.

        • I am glad they they are bumping up their hygiene. Do you know where they source their soy protein isolate? Many manufacturers use a hexane extraction process which worries me. A lot of bulk vitamin powders contain heavy metals, especially in the SE Asian market. Does Soylent release any CoAs? Do they test for these toxins?

          • I’m not sure about any of that unfortunately.

          • I have contacted Soylent and they have yet to respond. I found a third party test done by a group called “As You Sow” who found 12 to 25 times the allowable lead and 4 times the Safe Harbor level for cadmium in Soylent 1.5. That is indicative of poor quality, bulk vitamin powder.

          • Soylent quickly sent me laboratory certificates of analysis on two occasions when I asked them for them. The first was for the purity of base ingredients at earlier stages, and the second was for lead and cadmium after the AsYouSow scare. I am quite satisfied with their transparency that way.

          • They sent me a CoA as well and it pretty much confirmed the AsYouSow results. I asked them what they thought about it and they linked to some infographic that they made to show people why they had to include the Prop 65 warning. Their infographic is pretty misleading. The FDA’s data is micrograms per kilogram, and their chart is micrograms per kcal (and volume for Soylent). For instance, tuna has 2 micrograms of lead per kilogram (average) and 1160 kcal per killogram. Fruit cocktail has 1 microgram of lead per kilogram (average) and 450 kcals per kilogram. Pickles have 9 micrograms of lead (average) per kilogram, and 180 kcals per kilogram. At the levels found by the FDA report, you would have to eat 4 pounds of tuna, 8 pounds of fruit cocktail, and a pound of pickles to reach the same value of lead as stated in the infographic. Compared to the volume of Soylent (which is 400-500 milileters), this amount of food is much higher in volume.

            All companies have problems, but some solve them differently. If a CoA came out of a product that I managed, and it showed that there were high levels of lead, I would ask my production manager why there was so much lead and change my product sourcing until I had levels that I was happy with. Other companies would rather use marketing to spin the data in their favor. Transparent? Yes. Honest? Not really.

      • It tastes like the milk left over after you eat a bowl of Cheerios. It’s not unpleasant, and certainly doesn’t taste like glue.

  27. Please note that the macros you are using are for Soylent 1.5. Also, you don’t know what it tastes like because the preview isn’t out yet.

    There is probably much more wrong with this post but I’ll just leave it there because your obvious failure to research is damning enough.

    • The macronutrient ratio has been updated. Thanks for the correction!

  28. …also, your 45:40:15 macro ratio is incorrect. That is the ratio for 1.5. The ratio for 2.0 is 33:47:20

  29. How can you possibly even review something that isn’t available yet? You are nothing but an armchair nutritionist.

    • A review is a formal assessment or examination of something with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary. My conclusions were drawn from the available data taken directly from Soylent webpage.

  30. How can you comment on taste? The product isn’t out yet.

    Also, your observation that “it has not killed anyone yet” is rather obvious. I would hate to think that a product which has not been released could kill people.

    • People have taken Soylent in the past, even though this formula is “NEW and IMPROVED” in reality it is mainly the same old garbage ingredients. The sad thing is that an all liquid diet should not be used unless medically necessary, yet people want Soylent 2.0 because its QUICK AND FAST. Soylent 2.0 is missing many great things like phytochemicals and antioxidants that would occur in solid food. Would Soylent 2.0 “kill” you if you drank it sparingly? No, but it isn’t optimal. It would, however, cause a decline in health if you drank it on a daily basis, hell some G-tube formulas are better in nutrition then Soylent 2.0. Do you want an all liquid diet that is better? Follow the semi-elemental diet in FYG.

      • The sad thing is that an all liquid diet should not be used unless medically necessary

        – Citation needed

          • John Brisson: The study you cites appears to be focused on Slimfast and other diet shakes. FYI, Soylent is not a diet drink. some people use it to GAIN weight. I have been using it for about eight months for almost 100% of my food and have lost a bit over ten pounds, mostly since I got a gym membership a couple of months ago. My daily calorie intake is about 2000 calories, not much of a diet!

          • Gene, I would read the article again and click on the citation links a few more times. It appears that you have derived something from the article that is not there.

          • John Brisson & Jason Hooper,

            I am going to have to agree with Gene on this one. the statement “an all liquid diet should not be used unless medically necessary” is very misleading.

            Let’s define ‘liquid diet’. food that is a liquid, food that does not require chewing. under this definition any food that either of you think is the holy grail of diet perfection can be ‘liquid food’ by pureeing it and adding water. I could stop right here, as i feel i have proven the statement above to be incorrect.

            but, you think your source is leading to a conclusion that soylent is a bad diet. I agree with Gene that the source provided and the citations and research within are only directed at low calorie diets. “Slim Fast…1000-1200 kcal/day”. Five of the Six sources used by the writer is a paper studying the affects of Low Calorie Diets.

            For Jason Hooper to say “It appears that you have derived something from the article that is not there.” is absolutely absurd, the entire article is about the negative side affects of low calorie weight loss, hidden behind the catch phrase “liquid diet”.

          • What about the effect on consumption of FODMAP carbohydrates if Soylent is your only food? The same would be with any constant consumption of an all liquid diet.


            Consuming the same carbohydrates constantly as Jason pointed out would greatly reduce the diversity of the microbiome. The FODMAPS in Soylent are not even the most optimal like GOS for example.

          • Okay, I see what you guys are talking about now. These comments look different in my WordPress console than they do on the sight and I did not know that you were talking about the paper from Vanderbilt that John posted rather than my article above. A bit tangential, but nevertheless, worth a discussion.

            We need to make sure that we are combating the misconceptions here. Under the definition of liquid as determined by its state of mater, most foods are liquid, or at the very least, non-classical and through digestion (given a healthy GI) everything will become liquid, or conform to the shape of its container. Defining a liquid diet as one that does not require chewing is silly because one could bite and swallow pieces of raw carrot without mastication. One could also chew Soylent 2.0 even in its liquid state. This is actually a good idea. The process of chewing goes beyond the Pavlovian mechanism of salivation and digestive enzymatic cascade. The vagus nerve runs from the jaw all the way to the anus. Coincidence? No. Much of our digestion goes beyond chemical reactions and many people fail to realize that human beings are electrochemical. Jaw movement excites neurons that begin a chain reaction. Do you know what pH stands for? It is the potential of hydrogen. In order for digestion to occur in the stomach, the proton pumps must be activated at the cellular level to lower pH. The calcium channel also contains ions that flow through the bowel regulating motility through the migrating motor complex. By not chewing, one is altering their digestive environment and not for the better.

            The next misconception that you have stated is about puree. To understand where you are going wrong here, you must be familiar with chemical forces. Covalent bonds, hydrogen bonds, and van der waals forces are in place to keep the nutrients intact. The sheering forces required to puree whole foods can total hundreds of kcal force depending on the method whereas van der waals forces can only withstand 1-20 kcals. A pureed food is clearly not the same as a whole food. So, even someone whose jaw is wired shut (due to medical necessity) who takes the care of buying quality food and blending it, they will still miss out on some nutrition. This is physics at work and no brand of marketing can change that.

            The chewing/not chewing paradigm does not really addresses the crux of the issue: can a first powdered then reconstituted food source serve as the principal basis for optimal nutrition, or can one receive superior nutrition from whole food? What does it take to powderize foodstuffs so that they can be reconstituted with water? Is the loss in nutrition worth the time you save by not having to prepare food? These are the questions that you should really be asking.

          • If you define ‘liquid diet’ to be a supplement in water. In which case Soylent would share this definition with most of the diets in the article(slim fast). We still have the strong distinction that the article only addresses liquid supplements designed and used for weight loss, primarily via fasting(low calorie). Which Soylent does not share with with any of the other liquid supplements in this article.

            you may be correct about missing phytochemicals and antioxidants that occur in “solid food”. i don’t understand enough and those chemicals were not addressed in the linked article. I would assume soylent could incorporate these chemicals into their recipe, since solid food can be puree’d into dehydrated liquid food.

          • Tony, in the process of creating “puree’d [sic] … dehydrated liquid food,” how do you get around the oxidation of the phytochemicals and antioxidants that you are planning to incorporate. This seems problematic since they immediately break down in the presence of heat, light, oxygen, and radicals. I am curious to hear your thoughts on a product design that would fit the average consumer budget.

          • That article was specifically for low calorie and weight loss using products that are really high in sugar. This isn’t really a valid comparison to Soylent and other recent complete food replacements as the primary goals of these products is to provide for the specific shortcomings of those products. A meal plan (I hesitate to call it a diet, since that usually implies weight loss as the goal) including Soylent or similar products generally has all the calories of a normal food plan.

            Do you have any studies that are specifically about food replacement and normal caloric intake? I haven’t really looked since the way I’m using Soylent currently is more as a snack and fast-food replacement so I generally eat normal food except when I otherwise would end up eating junk anyway.

          • Let’s compare Soylent 2.0 to a bag of Doritos. They are very similar – processed corn and vegetable oils, all you are missing is the soy protein and a Centrum (which also contains vitamins in incorrect forms for human consumption). Are you that much better off? When you eat junk, you know its junk. The marketing team for Doritos isn’t trying to fool anyone by calling it a balanced meal. They just say it tastes good so put it in your mouth hole. Soylent is a lot more insidious which is why I have such a problem with them. It is still junk food, but their marketing team tries to convince people otherwise.

            Soylent 2.0 has a lot of maltodextrin. It is not a simple sugar, but it is a series of D-glucose (the simplest of all sugars) molecules chained together with glycosidic bonds. This provides the chain with more caloric energy while retaining its high glycemic index. From a nutrition label standpoint, it is not technically a sugar, but when you run it through the human digestive system does your pancreas know the difference? Nope.

      • “Soylent 2.0 is missing many great things like phytochemicals and antioxidants that would occur in solid food”

        The great thing about Soylent is that when something is found to be needed, they can easily add it to the formula. To date, there is no solid proof of any phytochemicals or antioxidants needed.

        • That’s not really true, Bill. You might want to research the Cytochrome P450 biosynthetic pathway. There are millions of redox reactions taking place every second in the human body. Soylent 2.0 contains vitamin C, and DL-alpha tocopherol which are both antioxidants and will help with things like collagen production, and liver enzymes, but there are some missing elements that relate to superoxide dismutase (converting O2- radicals into neutral oxygen), reactive oxygen species (prevents lipid peroxidation which can lead to cancer), and many more.

          If the makers of Soylent were really up on their literature, there is no way that they would have used the sterioisomer DL-alpha tocopherol, insttead of α-tocopherol unless they are pinching pennies, or they hate their customers. Going from olive oil to canola oil was a bad move too. I wouldn’t have been so hard on them in the review if they would have used better supplements, and stop marketing this as the only form of nutrition that you need. They should be clear that this is a supplement, not a food, and real food should be the basis for your nutrition.

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