Soylent (food substitute)

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A homemade batch of Soylent, immediately after preparation

Soylent is a food substitute intended to supply all of a human body's daily nutritional needs, made from maltodextrin, rice protein, oat flour, canola oil, fish oil, and raw chemical powders.[1]

Soylent was designed by software engineer Rob Rhinehart as a way to get all the nutrients needed by the body without the time, money, and effort that usually goes into preparing food.[2] Lacking background in chemistry or nutrition, Rhinehart developed the formula by reading web sites, textbooks, and papers in scientific journals, and by self-experimentation.[3][4] He named it after a fictional food from the novel Make Room! Make Room![5]

Soylent is currently undergoing testing and modification. As of March 2014, a crowdfunding campaign has provided over US$2,000,000,[1] and venture capitalists (Andreessen Horowitz) provided another US$1,500,000, to produce and market a commercial version of Soylent. The funding paid for additional research and modification of the formula. As of March 2014 the first shipment of U.S. orders is planned for April 2014.[6]

Ingredients[edit]

Below are the ingredients used initially in the manufacture of Soylent after 30 days of experimentation.[7] Many are not readily available and must be ordered from laboratory supply stores.[2]

Extras not considered to be essential:

Below are the nutrition facts and ingredients used in Soylent 1.0.[8] The nutrition facts are based on one serving (148 grams) with 3 servings per container.[8]

Nutrition Facts
Serving size (148 g)
Servings per container 3
Amount per Serving Soylent Powder with Oil Packet
Calories 510 670
  Calories from Fat 45 210
 
 % Daily Value
Total Fat 5 g 8% 37%
  Saturated Fat 1 g 5% 15%
  Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0% 0%
Sodium 350 mg 15% 15%
Potassium 1155 mg 33% 33%
Total Carbohydrate 84 g 28% 28%
  Dietary Fiber 8 g 32% 32%
  Sugars 2g
Protein 38 g
 
Vitamin A 33% 33%
Vitamin C 33% 33%
Calcium 40% 40%
Iron 40% 40%
Vitamin D 33% 33%
Vitamin E 33% 47%
Vitamin K 37% 52%
Thiamin 33% 33%
Riboflavin 33% 33%
Niacin 33% 33%
Vitamin B6 33% 33%
Folate 33% 33%
Vitamin B12 33% 33%
Biotin 33% 33%
Pantothenic Acid 33% 33%
Iodine 57% 57%
Magnesium 33% 33%
Zinc 33% 33%
Selenium 33% 33%
Copper 37% 37%
Manganese 33% 33%
Chromium 33% 33%
Molybdenum 33% 33%

Development process and health concerns[edit]

As of May 2013, Soylent has been tested by Rhinehart himself and by a handful of volunteers as well as individuals recreating the substance independently at home.[4][9] Modifications to the ingredient list have occurred in response to results incurred in testing, for example: the first version of the formula omitted iron, which Rhineheart reported caused his heart to race.[10] In other early experiments, intentionally induced overdoses of potassium and magnesium gave Rhinehart cardiac arrhythmia and burning sensations.[10] After the early recipe had stabilized, Rhinehart found himself suffering from joint pain due to a sulfur deficiency. Methylsulfonylmethane was added to address this problem.[10][11]

Soylent in its present form may lack some nutrients essential for normal body functioning and/or may fail to provide nutrients in appropriate proportions, potentially causing medical problems if used long-term.[3][unreliable source?] The fundamental basis of the assumptions made by Soylent are disputed; with focus on the fact that, because digestion is a complex phenomenon and there is not a simple linear relationship between nutrient ingestion and nutrient absorption, many factors contribute to nutrient absorption in the human body.[12]

With respect to the suitability of the product for general consumption, homemade Soylent is made without the kinds of regulatory safeguards and fine-tunings followed when making accepted artificial diets such as medical food.[13]

Cost[edit]

In September 2013, Rhinehart said he would like to get Soylent down to a cost of US$5 per day.[14] As of April 2013, Rhinehart stated he was spending US$154.62 per month on Soylent, yielding a diet of 11,000 kilojoules (2,600 kcal) per day[15] while a medical food such as Jevity would cost US$456 per month to get 8,400 kilojoules (2,000 kcal).[13] For comparison, a family of four in the United States can purchase food for approximately US$584 per month (avoiding eating out)[10] which is approximately the same as multiplying Rhinehart's base Soylent cost by four.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Scutti, Susan (February 18, 2014). "Can Soylent, A New Crowd-Funded Nutritional Drink, Back Its Claims? Eat All A Healthy Body Needs For $9/Day". Medical Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  2. ^ a b Lallanilla, Marc (March 14, 2013). "Who Needs Food When You Have Soylent?". LiveScience. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b Finley, Klint (May 3, 2013). "Silicon Valley And The Reinvention Of Food". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  4. ^ a b Storr, Will (May 6, 2013). "The man who lives without food". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  5. ^ Varughese, Ansa (March 15, 2013). "Rob Rhinehart, 24, Creates Soylent: Why You Never Have To Eat Food Again". Medical Daily. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  6. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (February 18, 2014). "Future food Soylent delayed again—now arriving in mid-to-late April". Medical Daily. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  7. ^ Rhinehart, Rob. "What's In Soylent". Mostly Harmless. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Soylent 1.0 Final Nutrition". Soylent. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Davis, Lauren (June 2, 2013). "Could Soylent really replace all of the food in your diet?". io9. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Gruel today, gruel tomorrow". The Economist. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Rhinehart, Rob (April 25, 2013). "Soylent Month Three". Mostly Harmless. Retrieved 2013-05-27. 
  12. ^ Campbell, T. Colin. Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. BenBella Books Inc, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Matthews, Dylan (March 14, 2013). "Rob Rhinehart has a crazy plan to let you go without food forever. It just might work.". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  14. ^ Ars does Soylent, the finale: Soylent dreams for people | Ars Technica
  15. ^ Pomeroy, Ross (April 1, 2013). "'Soylent': Can Man Survive on Goop Alone?". Real Clear Science. Retrieved 2013-05-27. 

External links[edit]