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Soylent Food Substitute Reaches $1M in Pre-Orders

soylent-food-replacement-funding-nutrition-science-infancy

Have you heard of the not-so-cleverly named food substitute that’s about to break into the American market? It’s called Soylent.

Soylent’s creator, Rob Rhinehart, wanted to create an inexpensive food replacement (not “meal” replacement) that could help end world hunger and allow techies to stay glued to their computers without the need to take pesky breaks for eating.

Last month, Soylent successfully raised more than a million dollars through pre-orders in one of the world’s most popular crowd funding campaigns to date.


What is Soylent?

It’s not people.

(At least I think it’s not.)

Soylent is a food substitute intending to provide all the body’s nutritional needs. It’s made from powdered starch, rice and pea protein, olive oil, and raw chemical powders. It comes as a powdered mix, and you add water to it to produce a chalky, sweet drink.

Soylent’s creator, Rob Rhinehart, is an engineer who grew tired of having to think about food, so he created soylent for himself. With time and tweaking, he finally settled on a formula he thought would meet and exceed all the body’s daily nutritional requirements.

He began living the “soylent lifestyle” and soon began thinking he was onto something special that he could market to the world.

“I’d like this to be something that is like coffee — a commodity something that’s available everywhere. Maybe a utility like water and power. Something that is ubiquitous and easy to consume,” he said. “I’d like to see it in grocery and convenience stores soon.”
(source)

rob rhinehart soylent food substitute

Soylent is not food.

It is meant to be a food replacement — as in, you don’t need to eat food ever again.

In a personal blog entry (titled: “How I Stopped Eating Food”) that sparked his internet fame, Rhinehart wrote of Soylent:

There are no meats, fruits, vegetables, or breads here. Besides olive oil for fatty acids and table salt for sodium and chloride nothing is recognizable as food.
(source)

As if this is something to be proud of? What would prompt anyone to want to stop eating food?

He wrote:

I used to spend about 2 hours per day on food. Typically I would cook eggs for breakfast, eat out for lunch, and cook a quesadilla, pasta, or a burger for dinner. For every meal at home I would then have to clean and dry the dishes. This does not include trips to the grocery store. Now I spend about 5 minutes in the evening preparing for the next day, and every meal takes a few seconds. I love order of magnitude improvements, and I certainly don’t miss doing dishes.

Now we’re getting somewhere! Rhinehart (and many like him) view eating food as a necessary evil — a chore.

Soylent also saved him a considerable amount of money. Rather than spending about $470 per month on groceries and eating out, he could now spend a mere $150 on Soylent.

That’s when he realized this had huge global and social implications. We could end world hunger! All anyone would need was this cheap, powdered food replacement and a source of clean water.

What do I think of Soylent?

While I think it’s honorable that people are trying to tackle the problem of world hunger, I hesitate to get behind a product like Soylent.

Nutrition science is still a young science.

Soylent arguably has noble goals, but I could never endorse it. That’s because nutrition science is still in its infancy.

As Tim Ferris wrote in his review of Soylent,

It’s premature to believe we can itemize a finite list of what the human body needs. To quote N.N. Taleb, this is “epistemic arrogance.” Sailors only need protein and potatoes? Oops, didn’t know about scurvy and vitamin C. We need fat-soluble vitamins? Oops, consumers get vitamin A or D poisoning, as it’s stored in body fat.
(source)

The simple truth is that we don’t understand the complex interplay of nutrients within the human body yet.

This is why food, not nutrients, is the fundamental unit in nutrition.

Nutrition is not one-size-fits-all.

If we’ve learned anything at all over the last few decades of nutrition science, it’s that the body’s nutrient needs change constantly.

If you are an elderly man, you need far less cholesterol in your diet than an elderly woman.

If you are trying to conceive, you need a different set of fertility-boosting nutrients for both partners.

If you are trying to gain muscle mass, you need a different proportion of macro-nutrients than someone simply trying to improve endurance.

Yet we can break it down even further, as even these generalities fail to account for individual medical histories, genetic pre-dispositions, and ever-fluctuating hormones.

How much sleep do you get? Are you nearing menopause? Is it your time of the month? How much coffee, tea, or soda do you drink? Are you on hormonal birth control? What’s your gut health like?

All of these factors affect both your ability to absorb nutrients and the specific nutrient needs of your body.

Food has value beyond nutrition.

Perhaps most importantly, I believe that food — real food — is ennobling.

As I’ve written before, real food nourishes both the soul and body:

That’s because finding, cooking, and eating Real Food is a craft. I once heard that cooking was the only art form that uses all five senses. It engages the whole person, and as such rewards the whole person. Preparing Real Food isn’t just about good nutrition or ethics. It’s about becoming the people we are meant to be, becoming more fully human.
(source)

There is value in preparing real food — value found in sourcing real food well, preparing it well, and enjoying its beauty. Value found in the communal aspect of foraging, preparing, and eating.

Seriously, if you want to know my thoughts on the virtue of eating real food, I’ve never said it more eloquently than I did in my post Real Food is Soul Food. (If you haven’t read it yet, please take a moment and do so. You will understand me so much better if you do!)

Rhinehart would give us a world where all that value is stripped away, where food isn’t even food anymore — but bodily nourishment in its most base and utilitarian form.

In all fairness, he isn’t saying we should eat only Soylent — just that we can, if we want to.

He’s more of a believer that we don’t really think about or even consciously care about the vast majority of our meals. So instead, his goal is to create a wholly nutritious and inexpensive source of food that he uses for most of his meals. He tries to savor the few non-soylent meals he eats, and says he even appreciates them more as a result.
(source)

How about you? Would you eat Soylent? What are your thoughts?

(photos by MonicaHeisey)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.

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65 Responses to Soylent Food Substitute Reaches $1M in Pre-Orders
  1. Brenda A.
    August 29, 2013 | 4:13 pm

    I would use it occasionally. As a quick substitute when time is an issue. Or when I don’t feel well enough to prepare something. Or when creativity has left the building. Or maybe when the money has run out. I’ve had a few times when it was a real struggle to afford a healthy meal (not too many times thankfully). But I love variety. And I love playing in the kitchen. And I love the smells and the tastes and the textures. All of it. It would make me incredibly sad to not experience that regularly.

    • Linda C
      August 30, 2013 | 12:15 pm

      “When creativity has left the building…money has run out…or when I don’t feel well enough to prepare something…”

      In those situations, rather than this monstrosity (Soylent) or anything like it, it’s just simple to grab a hunk of basic real food…a raw egg, a glass of raw milk, an apple, banana, other fruit or nuts or, heck, even the old standby, plain unflavored yogurt. When I’ve not been feeling well, I prefer
      to give my body stuff that it recognizes and can use, or, best yet…do a water fast. The concept of Soylent is like a techie’s wet dream, imho, and will never ever satisfy like the real thing. Even though it may feel somewhat similar, it will never create or sustain life or heal the body of its diseases.

      • Terri
        September 1, 2013 | 8:23 am

        Agreed, Linda …

        I wonder what he will invent for those pesky time-wasters urination and defacation? Oh – wait – adult diapers already exist.

        And the extreme waste of time that is personal hygiene? What about that?

        Finally, in third world countries, one of the BIGGEST problems will make Soylent useless – the lack of a source of clean water.

        This is not nutritious. I hope that one day he realizes his mistake – and that it isn’t too late when he does.

        • Sara
          February 18, 2014 | 8:11 pm

          Your lack of clean water point illuminates a huge oversight on his part, although arguably this can be made into a hard bar of some sort and pre-packaged. Just to be clear, I wouldn’t touch this product with a 10 foot pole!

        • Erik
          July 14, 2014 | 2:25 pm

          Maybe he’ll rig up a system to recycle his urination for his next batch of Soylent?

  2. Anna
    August 29, 2013 | 4:16 pm

    I…what…WHAAAAT? He makes this stuff and then calls it SOYLENT? Does he not see the horribly ironic possibilities of his (I’m assuming) intentionally ironic name?

    You know what this reminds me of? Scientists trying to clone ancient, extinct species because they can. Screw the potential environmental and moral quagmires this poses. There are so many ways this could be used for profit and exploitation. Nestlé, anyone?

    • Kristen
      August 29, 2013 | 7:24 pm

      @Anna — I think he was trying to be cheeky, but it really is an awful name! Isn’t it?

      And yes, it does seem like the sort of thing that will breed exploitation.

  3. J'Marinde Shephard
    August 29, 2013 | 7:29 pm

    What kind of “powdered starch?” I cannot have any gluten, soy or dairy. Powdered starchis open to too much interpretation. Please clarify and PLEASE, PLEASE let me win that dehydrator! ;->

  4. Deanna D.
    August 29, 2013 | 8:19 pm

    No way on earth this would EVER make it into my home. I’m all about real food…not a “non-food” substitute!!!! GROSS!!!!

  5. rachel whetzel
    August 29, 2013 | 8:26 pm

    HOLY. CRAP. I can’t even imagine… and what the HECK are “RAW CHEMICALS”!? Noooooo thank you.

  6. rachel whetzel
    August 29, 2013 | 8:27 pm

    Of course, having SAID that… I can see the implications and ease of use being GREAT for Zombie Apocalypse preparedness.

    • Kristen
      August 29, 2013 | 8:46 pm

      You’re joking, but apparently a lot of the people who placed “pre-orders” during his crowdfunding last month (which raised more than a million dollars!) actually were survivalist types who wanted a lifetime supply of the stuff.

      • rachel whetzel
        August 29, 2013 | 9:08 pm

        I was joking, yes… but I CAN see the benefit of having it on hand when the poo hits the fan…

        • Frederica
          September 25, 2013 | 10:39 am

          Which brings us to the question of his guts on this stuff! I would hate to think of the possible ramifications of a carbohydrate and raw chemical(?) liquid diet.

  7. Justine
    August 29, 2013 | 8:40 pm

    Is this really a new invention? Does he not realize how many people are fully sustained on tube feeding formula…that’s essentially what he “created,” except, perhaps slightly more palatable. He should just have a PEG tube placed, then he wouldn’t have to waste time swallowing either.

    • Kristen
      August 29, 2013 | 8:47 pm

      It’s not really new, no. But he’s managed to convince a lot of people that it *is* — that his is somehow better balanced and more ideal.

      • remie
        June 2, 2014 | 10:20 pm

        Given that existing commercial products average just over 50% corn syrup, I think this should be a welcome development.

    • Terri
      September 1, 2013 | 8:28 am

      Tube feeding formulas are generally not particularly nutritious, either. Most of them are extremely high in sugars … something I could not fathom, given that those using them will not taste them. My late brother-in-law was on a tube feed for the last year of his life – and he wasted away to skin and bone largely because the tube formula that the doctors and therapists prescribed him did not have enough fats and proteins.

      And from what I gather, tube feeding has become a popular way for some people to lose weight. I just don’t get that at all. :/

  8. Sally Boydstun
    August 29, 2013 | 9:00 pm

    Soylent is suppose to be GREEN. Just ask Charleston Heston! hahahah No way I would eat it unless there was nothing else available for a long time. Bleakkkk!

    • Erik
      July 14, 2014 | 4:24 pm

      There were a few different colors.

  9. Jamaise
    August 29, 2013 | 9:22 pm

    Starting the day with protein is always a good idea, and pea protein is a good form. I think it sounds like the perfect breakfast!

  10. Carol Tillyer
    August 29, 2013 | 9:45 pm

    No way I’d give up the wonderful sensation of eating. The sound, the feel and the wonderful tastes involved in eating fresh whole foods are divine!

  11. cindy
    August 29, 2013 | 10:41 pm

    There is nothing new under the sun. The scientist who wanted to help world hunger modified wheat to produce greater crops thus producing wheat so very high in gluten. Now we have an epidemic of gluten intolerance and people getting fatter because the whole wheat shoots your blood sugar sky high. I feel sorry for this guy. Preparing meals and enjoying good, healthy meals with others is a wonderful time of community. All that God created including us can not be improved upon…man seems to corrupt all that is natural!

  12. Kulsoom
    August 29, 2013 | 10:48 pm

    I know that not varying your diet can lead to serious health issues. So drinking this thing and having nothing else could be disastrous. The other thing is that this would be the absolute opposite of ending world hunger. Soy is a commodity crop. And since these commodity crops have flooded the markets of poor countries they have left their local farms unable to compete. Without out local farms to compete with our commodity crop exports lower income persons in those countries do not have cheaper food options. So they starve. Not to mention over 90% of soy crop is GMO-loaded so this is just a GMO straight to the blood stream nightmare. And yes the most obvious (or it should be obvious) is that nothing beats natural, whole, real, clean food.

    • Kristen
      August 29, 2013 | 11:06 pm

      Pretty sure there isn’t any soy in this. (Or, if there is soy in this, it’s soy chemical derivatives. In other words, this is not a soy food.)

      I can understand why “Soylent” might be confusing, but it’s referring to a 1970s sci-fi movie with Charlton Heston called “Soylent Green.”

  13. Debi
    August 29, 2013 | 11:25 pm

    He addresses an issue which the majority of you don’t seem to comprehend. I live alone, getting older and on meds that diminish my taste or appetite or something. I work full time, I’m tired full time. I hate to shop, I hate to wash dishes, and I don’t enjoy cooking at all anymore (I used to like to cook and was good at it too). I prefer fresh foods, but I can’t seem to have what I want when I want it on hand. I may think a fruit looks good in the store. But it may linger in my refrigerator until it is ultimately thrown out. If I didn’t have to eat . . . I wouldn’t anymore. Except for chocolate . . . I still love chocolate and nuts. I love nuts. (I am nuts!) I’m still trying to figure out how to eat healthy on a tight budget without a lot of food prep. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them! (I think living and eating alone is kind of an appetite killer too. If I eat Peanut butter from a jar and drink my Almond Milk from the carton . . . who’s gonna care, right?)

    • Pascale
      August 30, 2013 | 1:46 am

      hi Debi

      It’s tough to cook and enjoy the simple pleasure when you eat alone and are tired. though it’s important as proper food help for your health and good mood.

      as you ask for ideas, here you go :
      - check that blog : lovely English Mum who cooked for her and her son for £10 a week (roughly 15$). it’s not the best diet as lots is through can food, but at least it’s varied and not too badly balanced.
      http://agirlcalledjack.com/category/below-the-line-budget-recipes/
      - making a meal plan (and sticking to it) makes it easier as well. it’s cheaper, makes shopping more efficient and cooking quicker.
      - if you can cook a big pot and freeze portions as well. you could cook on Sunday and just warm your portion when you want during the week. if you google “batch cooking” or “once a month cooking’ or ” Sunday cooking”, you’ll find tons of recipes and tips. not perfect, but better than nothing.
      - any neighbor or people from your community you could eat with sometimes ? there must someone who feel alone as well and could share a meal, even if only once or twice a month. some recipe are easier/cheaper to do for two, that would be the occasion.
      you could also have a look at meetup.com to meet new people in you area who like things you like :)

      take care of yourself.

      • Sharon Devi
        August 30, 2013 | 10:48 am

        Pascale, those are wonderful ideas. I’m a total stranger, but, I can tell that you’re a caring & kind person.

    • Sonia
      September 1, 2013 | 4:47 pm

      How about a diet of smoothies?
      There’s endless combinations and they’re super easy to prepare, You can keep with the seasons and/or freeze in quantity (like berries) to keep costs down.
      BTW: Cravings for chocolate and nuts often indicate a pronounced magnesium deficiency. Mg deficienies often mean tiredness, as well as many other things such as depression. Getting Mg from food is touch since our soils have been stripped of them. I myself wouldn’t function (or walk, or sleep) w/o it.
      Good luck!

      • cindy K.
        September 25, 2013 | 12:10 pm

        Epsom Salt baths help with Magnesium…read up on it. :-)
        Take care…

  14. Andrea B
    August 29, 2013 | 11:58 pm

    First, is the “starch” and olive oil organic and non-GMO? Filling your body with GMO starch will not be a healthy thing. Chemical nutrients are not very healthy when compared to natural ones, either.

    Plus all you wrote about individual nutrition, the amount we don’t know about nutrition, etc. Even as an occasional quick, in-a-rush, need food thing, I would want to know more about the ingredients before I would consume this.

    Instead of food for every meal? Never. Food is a pleasure, not a chore. If I could make food instantly and skip the cooking/cleaning and just eat it, I’d go for that.

    Avoiding the eating, too? No, thanks.

  15. Pascale
    August 30, 2013 | 1:35 am

    well, as a end-of-the-world thing, I can understand. Otherwise, hmmmm no thanks. nobody talked about the problem of not chewing on a regular basis and so the risk of loosing teeth ??

    I totally agree with the concerns.
    -Adding the “numbers” of what is supposedly good for one doesn’t mean it’s good for everybody.
    -the whole is often better than the sum of the parts. there’s something about energy/vibration of food that can’t be redone in a lab. see the difference between source water and bottled water. it’s H2O, but it’s quite different.
    -plus, I want to see the effect psychologically. Eating exactly the same substance… really wonder if he will keep it up for years.

    I want to see him in 20 years then I’ll see how he looks and feels.

    • Terri
      September 1, 2013 | 8:33 am

      Pascale – meeee tooo! I bet he gets tired of it long before that!

    • cindy K.
      September 25, 2013 | 12:24 pm

      Pascale,
      I totally understand all of the concerns. Food is the optimal manner in which to keep ourselves healthy. However, there are many people who do not eat regularly or nutritiously.Much research needs to be completed before Soylent is seen as a panacea.
      Take care,
      Cindy

  16. cheri
    August 30, 2013 | 3:44 am

    NO

  17. V
    August 30, 2013 | 3:50 am

    I don’t think this is for everyone. It’s certainly not for me. I don’t think it’s something to do long term, but maybe just for a cleanse. You need food you can chew and savour.

  18. Farah
    August 30, 2013 | 5:03 am

    WHAT?! Okay there is nooo way this stuff is getting in mouth! No – way! I only accept the idea that it help save world hunger.. but I don’t want hungry people to drink it. It’s made from powdered starch or raw chemical powders… CHEMICAL powders = not healthy! We were given fruit, veggies, meat, eggs, ect. to eat them, not to replace them by some “soylent” that has very few benefits… And you are right Kristen, what about Vitamin A,B,C,D, and other things that our body needs? Nice try, but it’s not as healthy or nutritionist as it claims.
    Sadly, I’m feeling this will be available at starbucks & many shops soon, manufactured, processed, with different tastes & additives, all over the world. Great job man, you have created another addiction to people (it seems).
    Oh.. and I bet people who want to loose weight will droll on that “No food?! just drink? = no more fat!” What about the beautiful time we spend at the grocery store, the time we cook & smell the meals, and the time we actually “taste” food & enjoy it?Takes time but it nourishes your body & tastes great! Here we go, a cup that will be added to the fast food stores. Yup… and life rocks on!
    (Btw I’m new here. Thank you for this article Kristen! Enjoyed it :) )

  19. Adria
    August 30, 2013 | 11:37 am

    wow…creepy, sad, gross.

  20. Danielle
    August 30, 2013 | 1:23 pm

    So, how exactly does this solve world hunger? Just curious. Don’t the starch and proteins and fat and vitamins have to come from somewhere? They are probably coming from heavily subsidized U.S. annual crops (except the perennial olive oil), which would then displace local agriculture in the destination country.

    If this guy wants to end hunger, he should spend his resources looking at the root causes, oh, like, America exporting its surplus around the world at rock-bottom prices? War? Financial inequities? I wonder how many egg-laying hens or milk-producing goats that million dollars could have purchased for those in need?

    • Kristen
      August 30, 2013 | 1:27 pm

      Agreed. That’s why I love donating money to organizations like Hefer International.

  21. debby
    August 30, 2013 | 5:16 pm

    the kitchen is the heart of the home. that is where everyone gathers. You can cook together and eat together and enjoy each other. As crazy busy as life is right now, you really need to take a few minutes out of your day and do something good for yourself and your family and to interact with each other.

  22. Lynne
    August 31, 2013 | 7:30 am

    I think this is almost as horrible as actual soylent green! We were designed to EAT. Real food can’t be replaced with some chemical stew without serious repercussions in the long run. I’ve taken care of people with PEG tubes, and while they are sustained, they really can’t be considered healthy. And that doesn’t even touch on the esthetics of drinking a bunch of chemicals instead of tasting, savoring, and enjoying real food. Gah!

  23. Stacy
    August 31, 2013 | 10:34 am

    I would never follow a movement that was founded in laziness. This product was a solution to his problem of grocery shopping, the time it takes to cook, and washing dishes. This product solves no problem I have. I appreciate his noble ideas of using it to end world hunger. However, I don’t like the fact that it would be basically using low to no income people as guinea pigs to his new concept which seems to be flawed on its face.

  24. Amanda
    August 31, 2013 | 12:02 pm

    I had to have TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) when I had cancer and I didn’t eat for 3 months, cooking food and enjoying putting good things into my body and
    seeing the difference it makes for my body, thats an irreplaceable joy for me.

    • Mildred
      September 25, 2013 | 10:21 am

      So heartily agreed!

  25. Terry
    August 31, 2013 | 3:59 pm

    Raw Chemicals?! Eeeeeek!!

  26. chris
    September 1, 2013 | 11:24 pm

    Oh, Hell no. That’s not food. I don’t want to put anything in my mouth that’s not enjoyable.

  27. Barbara Enneking
    September 2, 2013 | 10:26 am

    It’s been a long time ago, but I once fasted for a whole week. The number one thing that amazed me, was how much more time I had!

  28. olivia
    September 7, 2013 | 10:27 pm

    Soylent is to real food as masturbation is to real sex with another person.

  29. Mildred
    September 25, 2013 | 10:19 am

    The man an “his drink” are plain ridiculous!

  30. Leanna
    September 25, 2013 | 10:36 am

    This makes me sad in numerous ways. Have we really become so convenience centered that the idea of EATING, or dressing, bathing & sleeping for that matter are BURDENSOME? Are we really at a point where being robotic slaves to technology is more valuable that interpersonal relationships?

    I liked the comment about the zombie apocalypse… When my only thought is merely survival, I’d consider this. Thankfully, today I want to THRIVE not survive.

    Furthermore, no one has addressed the implications of drinking all your calories. The dangers behind not chewing to signal digestion, malabsorption of said “raw chemicals” and the complexity of digestion and the interactions of macro and micronutrients, gut flora, etc.

    I hate doing dishes too, but for me, the solution wouldn’t include drinking this concoction.

  31. Carol Guenzel
    September 25, 2013 | 11:20 am

    The medical field has been trying to get it right for years for seniors and others that cannot eat food and still have not got it right. Besides, I think I would rather miss the pleasure of all of the wonderful and ever changing taste sensations. I can see it being used as a last resort effort to sustain someone until they can eat again, but in place of eating? His remarks about saving time and money makes me wonder what kind of person he is other than a lazy, cheap person with no since of realizing the simple pleasures in life. For anything other than a temporary or life-saving circumstances, no thanks.

  32. Doug Dietrich
    September 25, 2013 | 12:47 pm

    If it says anywhere in it “chemicals” of any kind, I’m not ingesting that. I’ll stick to eating my Paleo-ish diet, which consists of REAL, organic fruits and veggies; grass-fed, free range meats & eggs; and raw nuts and seeds. (I don’t eat grains, legumes and ONLY raw, unpasteurized dairy products.)
    I’m almost 46 years old and I’m in the best physical condition of my life! I went from suffering debilitating Fibromyalgia pain; a near-38 inch waist size; and 210 pounds on a 5’8.5″ frame 6 years ago, to a steady 150 pounds (+/- a few pounds here and there) and it’s an effortless maintenance that’s lasted over 2 years now.
    Plus, eating REAL food is amazingly delicious, when prepared carefully and with love. :-)

  33. Julie
    September 25, 2013 | 12:49 pm

    Yikes!! What the heck? I highly doubt that you could have optimal health while eating/drinking only this stuff. What is a raw chemical? Ack powdered GMO, food product… Ill stick to my time consuming, expensive inconvenient amazingly delicious, nourishing and diverse meals.

  34. Melissa
    September 25, 2013 | 1:43 pm

    Bleck! Chemical what?! Maybe as a intermediate to prevent starvation, but not as a regular diet.

    Whole food is irreplaceable and he will find that out in time with multiple deficiencies and health problems. You can’t replace the enzymes and co-factors present in whole food. We don’t even know what most of them are!

  35. John Rivard
    September 25, 2013 | 2:28 pm

    If we lose contact with real food, we lose contact with the whole rest of the planet. No matter how much some of us might like to think we are above the messiness of life on a planet, we are still all a part of nature.

    Human nutrition is so complicated that science may never be able to figure it out. This is the reason so many news stories about the wondrous effects of this or that vitamin or mineral are always retracted after longer-term follow-up studies. Just because beta-carotene is involved in one specific chemical reaction that eventually leads to a beneficial health result does not mean that taking beta-carotene supplements will produce the same result.

    Most vitamins are groups of related compounds, not a single chemical that can be recreated in a chemistry lab. All of the individual compounds making up a vitamin are involved somewhere in the long chain of chemical reactions within the body that eventually result in good health. I have no doubt that many of the nutrients necessary for optimum health have not even been identified yet because no one has thought to look for them.

    This is why eating whole foods is so important for maintaining good health. The minute amounts of tens of thousands of different chemicals present in all natural whole foods work in a synergistic way inside the body to produce exactly what we need to stay healthy. I just don’t feel this order of complexity can reproduced with supplements.

    I hope Mr. Rhinehart continues his experiment with soylent for a few years or until no longer able to go on. It will be very interesting to see what happens to this brave man. Here, apparently, is an engineer who thinks he fully understands the biology of human nutrition and feels capable of creating an artificial material to meet all the body’s needs. What hubris!

    Please do follow-ups on this story.

  36. Robin AKA GoatMom
    September 25, 2013 | 4:39 pm

    As a nurse I’ve seen some elders who live on liquids like ensure for years and do okay. Some we get back eating and they thrive. As for me I’m from the food was about a lot more than just filling your belly. It was the epicenter of family life, a joining back together and sharing our days. Big Holiday celebrations, favorite meals and desert as we requested for our birthdays, family tradition foods that I still make and share the history and stories. We always ate well compared to the average SAD diet and starting 7 years ago took that to a new level. I believe for the emotional and physical health of our society we need to get closer to our food roots not farther away.

  37. Lizzie
    September 25, 2013 | 7:41 pm

    So, basically it’s baby formula for adults? I wonder if it would make their lives EVEN easier to just drink it out of a nipple from a bottle that’s attached to the side of their heads?

  38. Melanie
    September 27, 2013 | 12:06 am

    I can definitely see the use to combat world hunger, but I can’t imagine drinking, or eating for that matter, the same thing day-in and day-out. Part of the joy of living is eating a beautiful variety of foods/meals. It’s not for me, but then again I am not the kind of person that would ever be a slave to a computer.

  39. Adam Smith
    September 30, 2013 | 2:00 am

    Can’t believe how much people don’t like this. Regardless there will always be people like me that need and want something like this. This is great, and about time someone created this. So complain all you want this is going ahead and I’m lining up for it.

  40. Stacey Fisher
    October 5, 2013 | 3:03 am

    Well as I have so many intolerance’s and allergies to real food, I would give it a try.
    Considering there is not much else I can use to keep my body healthy- not even organic, local fresh produce is helping me anymore. I am considering and feeling that this would be the next step to eliminating all food altogether. Even the Yogis and Tibetan Masters, have evolved beyond the need for consuming all the time. Why can we as a normal everyday race of human beings not evolve past the need to be consuming everything? I see great potential here for many.

  41. Feffo Isir
    October 23, 2013 | 11:10 am

    What a bunch of ignorant fad dieters commenting here. Chemicals = Bad?? Oh please cite your pseudoscienctific article. Paleo-ish diet..yeah im geting health advice from you…. Does anyone here understand science? That intelligence is independant of focus of study in school? Apparently our science classes are competeting with ancient religious myths and new age snake oil salesman and losing. Im not worried about soylent, but you people terrify me.

  42. Laoinjo
    October 29, 2013 | 1:38 pm

    I would seriusly consider this to replace breakfast and I-only-have-time-for-junk-food-meals. That would be a real life improver for me since I have huge problems eating in the morning eventhough I have to due to migranes-attacks related to bloodsugar swings. The psositive effects of beeing able to skip junk-meals is a nobrainer.

  43. Andrea
    November 19, 2013 | 9:43 am

    Raw Chemicals?? WTF?? i seriously can’t believe the bastardized versions of ‘food’ people will put in their bodies. this man will surely pay for htis horrible decision one day. And i sure hope the madness is stopped before we are feeding this crap to the population. Our food system has already become a terrifying science fiction movie and now this? seriously, stop the madness and this ‘time saving’ IDIOT.

  44. Leisl
    June 12, 2014 | 6:18 pm

    I read this about soylent and I recall aan old movie with Charlton Heston called no lie Soylent Green about earth 2022 not having real food so the government produces a food replacement called Soylent Green and it has a very disturbing outcome. It’s a B type rated movie but clearly it may be a bit prophetic

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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