Soylent: How I Stopped Eating for 30 Days



Can This Powder Replace Food Forever?

Ever feel like food is just too much work? All that chewing, swallowing, cutting things into bite-sized pieces—and don't even get me started on fork-to-mouth lifting. 

As they say in late-night infomercials: Isn't there a better way?!

Anyone drinking Soylent sure thinks there is. The futuristic beverage forgoes real food and streamlines human nutrition into just three glasses of beige-colored liquid per day. The blend, developed by engineer-slash-entrepreneur Robert Rhinehart (with the assistance of a Columbia University doctor), provides 100% of all your daily micronutrients in about 2,000 calories, with an optimized balance of protein, carbs, and fat. Forget plates. Forget grocery shopping. Just mix Soylent with water, shake it up, and you too can gracefully exit the food chain.  

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Soylent isn't exactly new—it was released back in Spring 2014 after a successful crowdfunding campaign raised .5 million—but its fascination factor is still high. And, to the great dismay of foodies everywhere, the brand is still going strong, shipping out more than 23,000 orders just last month, according to a company rep. Earlier this year, the company released a new-and-improved version 1.4, which eliminates a prep step by incorporating the oil blend (formerly packaged separately and stirred in) straight into the powder.  

soylent
Marygrace Taylor

If 23,000 people are truly on board with the foodless life, I had to know: Is this something that I could conceivably survive on? So I tried Soylent at breakfast, the only time of day when fatigue has a fighting chance over my desire for actual, chewable food.

MORE:10 Sneaky Sources of GMOs


The flavor is too faint to bother describing, and this is done on purpose. Soylent contains only enough sweetener to cover up the taste of its vitamin mix, and nothing more. The idea isn't for it to taste good or even for it to taste like anything—this stuff is all function, no frills. The texture: slightly gritty, especially as some particles settle toward the bottom of the glass. I find I agree with both theNew York Timesand Gawker, who have described Soylent as "joyless" and "just like semen," respectively.

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soylent
Marygrace Taylor

But I can't lie: Soylent is extremely filling. I can't even finish the recommended portion, and I don't feel a whisper of hunger until well past 1 p.m.—which is a lot more than I can say when I slurp up my usual Greek yogurt with almonds and blueberries.

I get it: If you have functioning taste buds and give half a damn, the very concept of Soylent is pure heresy. But I admit I also understand what Rhinehart is going for: Soylent offers an easy fix for micronutrient shortfall, especially important given that most Americans are low in Vitamins, D, E, C, and A, magnesium, and calcium. It was given the thumbs up by Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, professor of medicine at Columbia University—an indication that the Soylent team at least understands the seriousness of creating a product that could outright replace all food. (Dr. Pi-Sunyer was not available for comment on this article.) And if you're the type of person who's decided that cooking is just too hard (really?) and you'll never, ever, ever do it, this is a better option than subsisting on ramen noodles or McRibs.

Still, Soylent contains some ingredients that we're not smitten with. Its main components (sunflower oil, rice protein, and high-fiber oat flour) raise few concerns, but the blend does contain genetically modified ingredients (the company openly embraces GMO tech) and has a fairly high sugar count of 11 grams per serving, thanks to added sweetener isomaltulose.

Finally, there's the (kind of terrifying) fact that we lowly humans haven't quite figured out nutrition yet. Why do you think experts have flip-flopped on fat and cholesterol? Why did the government build up a food pyramid only to tear it down? It's because we're still discovering things about nutrition all the time. Yes, we've nailed down the nutrient and energy requirements essential for life, but there's a ways to go still. That's why experts and dietary guidelines still recommend we get nutrients from whole foods instead of supplements: Because, somewhere in that carrot you're too lazy to eat, there may be compounds still not identified but crucial for fighting diseases and maintaining proper bodily function.

MORE:Is This Soy-Free Meat Alternative the New Tofu?

At its core, Soylent isn't much more than a big, calorie-dense multivitamin that doesn't honor the remaining mysteries of nutrition. Is it easy and fast, and will is keep you alive? Most definitely. Is it bland? Let's just say it puts rice cakes to shame. But is it really healthy? At this moment, there's truly no way to know. Shake and sip at your own risk.






Video: What is the difference between protein powder and meal replacement shake?

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Date: 12.12.2018, 08:18 / Views: 54584