Soylent Month Three


After three months I should be finding deficiencies, and I did. I started having joint pain and found I fit the symptoms of a sulfur deficiency. This makes perfect sense as I consume almost none, and sulfur is a component of every living cell. Sulfur is hard to miss in a typical diet so the FDA would have little reason to recommend it. A typical male physique has 140g of sulfur, making it the sixth most abundant element in the human body. Ten grams of sulfur from Methylsulfonylmethane cured me right away, and I now consume 2g/day. Sulfur is also what gives flatulence its characteristic odor. Most gas is just Hydrogen, but humans have evolved to be extremely sensitive to Hydrogen Sulfide, which is by the gram as deadly as cyanide, and produced by the bacteria in our colon. Before this change my gas was odorless. Releasing the equivalent of deadly cyanide gas from our anuses is a questionable design decision, nature. I have not experienced any other deficiency symptoms and am quite confident I am now getting everything I need, but I will keep testing.

I have been keeping better track of my physical traits. I'm holding steady at 180 lbs, and my muscle mass is about 46%, which is optimal for my lifestyle. I have 6.4lbs of bone mineral mass and am 63.8% water by weight, both normal. My body fat is currently 9.6%, which is a little too low for a non-athlete. Because of this when I do take the time to eat I converge towards bacon, which serves as an efficient source of fatty acids and happiness. Bacon is high in Oleic acid, the principal component of adipose (fat) tissue so it is great for increasing body fat. While the environmental effects of livestock farming do bother me, I think eating meat as rarely as I do is completely sustainable. However, bacon also has Palmitic acid, which is closely associated with cardiovascular disease so moderation is still in order. By the way, an acid is anything that donates protons. Only a few have corrosive properties like sulfuric acid, and bases can be corrosive too. Additionally, I track my sleep now, using a device called the "Zeo", an EEG headband that measures characteristic patterns of different sleep cycles. According to this device, I sleep like a baby, with an average "ZQ" of 104. Typical 20 year olds score 84.

I spent a week in L.A. to appear on a TV show and film the Kickstarter video. This served as a good control since I went without soylent almost the entire week. Though leisure food is fun, with no soylent in my diet the difference was clear. Cognition was the first to go. Patience shortened, attention dulled, curiosity waned. Socializing was more taxing, my inbox more foreboding. The physical effects took another few days. It was harder to wake up, the gym seemed much less inviting, and I gained a few pounds. Upon returning and going back to soylent I quickly bounced back, no harm done. I now refer to this as "low power mode".

Soylent has changed my relationship with food. Before I probably craved pizza and cheeseburgers because that was the easiest way to provide my 6'3" frame with the calories it needed. Now that my nutritional needs are always met I am able to appreciate food more for its flavor, and started really enjoying sushi. Sushi is especially interesting because there is such range and intensity of flavors, and it is so difficult, yet rewarding to make well. This makes it pricey, but I spend so little on food I can enjoy nice sushi once or twice per week. Fast food restaurants look laughably obsolete to me, like a Blockbuster.

I made a rather significant change to the formula, now on major revision 7. I've replaced half of the maltodextrin carbohydrates with oat powder, which has a much lower glycemic index. Oat powder is quite nutritious, and while not a raw chemical (I had to adjust several other ingredients to compensate), is very stable and inexpensive, should be fine for celiacs, and dramatically increases the fiber content, without interfering with the absorption of the maltodextrin. I underestimated the importance of fiber in a diet, and went from consuming 1.2g / day to 40g / day. The maltodextrin kicks in quickly, providing energy almost immediately, and when it runs out the oat powder takes over as an energy source. It also seems to improve the feeling of satiety, and affects the taste to be less sweet, which I actually prefer. I also added creatine, spurred by this study1, and Coenzyme Q10, a component of the electron transport chain with preliminary evidence for a variety of benefits. I made the decision to use whey isolate rather than the slightly cheaper concentrate / isolate blend. I am glad I did not just because my skin looks a little better and soylent is now lactose free, but crucially whatever was causing it to congeal after a few days must have been in the extras of the concentrate. My test has lasted in liquid form for 2 weeks now and is still holding steady. The flavor has dulled but it's still very drinkable. Flavor chemicals tend to be very volatile so it's hard to make them last, but they can always be added back in before consumption. I use ethyl vanillin, a synthetic form of vanillin that is more potent. Having soylent stable in liquid form could prove very useful. I'm currently working on kegging it.

I was intrigued to find that on nootropic days I craved about 15% more carbohydrates. This got me thinking, and researching. Our brain requires glucose and ions to operate, just like our muscles do. Perhaps processes and traits like learning, analysis, optimism, and self-control consume more calories than their lazier counterparts, and if the brain doesn't have easy access to them, they will be impaired. Neuroscientist Gregory Bems writes about how our brain optimizes itself to reduce its energy consumption as needed. One of the ways it does this is by framing new things in terms of old. Those who cannot form new pathways rely on old information, insisting that nothing is new. "Imagination," says Bems, "stems from the ability to break from categorization". Remapping takes effort. Asking someone to change deep-seated beliefs like political or religious viewpoints is asking them to run a mental marathon, and the vast majority of people cannot be bothered. Often only the youth, with healthy energetic minds stay in a state of flux in their viewpoints. However, the youth know so little in general it is often a trade-off versus our older, more experienced, conservative selves. It would be really nice to have both though, and I have met enough open-minded older people to know it's possible. Perhaps the real value of efficient food is not in making us skinnier, but having better fuel for our brains.

We no longer live in a hunter-gatherer society. I have no use for bulging biceps. No one in the United States plows fields or hammers steel by hand. It has all been automated. We need mental strength. We need creativity, patience, discipline, and humility. If people had more self-control obesity would take care of itself. Perhaps companies would be more productive if managers had more humility and employees had more discipline. These processes are abstract but they must have a physiological basis, and it seems intuitive that more difficult processes consume more energy. I fear many people who work primarily with their minds do not put much effort in to their health, and we are all missing out because of it.

The world has changed. We don't live anything like our ancestors. We don't work like them, talk like them, think like them, travel like them, or fight like them. Why on earth would we want to eat like them? Practically everything has gotten better over the past century but food has gotten worse. This is because food is a haven for reactionaries. Reductionism is not romantic, but everything can be improved once seen as the sum of its parts. If we can make transistors that are cheap, fast, and low power, surely we can make food that is tastier, cheaper, and more nutritious than anything that exists naturally. In the past food was about survival. Now we can try to create something ideal.


I promised that if I was still healthy after three months of soylent I would launch a Kickstarter campaign to bring it to the world. That time has come. The project is currently being reviewed and if approved I will post the link here, and tweet about it as soon as it is up.

edit: Since posting this I have heard from a number of additional platforms. I now realize crowdfunding has come a long way since Kickstarter coined the term 4 years ago. In light of this perhaps a different venue would be a better fit.

Email / Twitter / Discourse



  • Andrew

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about the physical change potential for a Soylent diet (i.e. weight recentering and maintenance, mainly) but I am just as excited (if not more) about the prospect of having the mental potential I used to enjoy.  Really hoping your Kickstarter gets approved–and that you don't give up even if it isn't.

    • Fernando Cordero

      Rob I can't wait for the kickstarter! I knew i was over weight when i was around 24 years old. I'm now 28 and about 3 years ago I found out I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and realized I was considered obese. I had played sports growing up and after I learned about my conditions decided to get back into one of my favorite sports, soccer. With a change in diet and being more active, I've dropped weight. I'm currently 185 lbs and I'm 5'9. I'm still over weight, but still have high blood pressure preparing healthy meals is time consuming and for that matter, not very tasty. I find myself thinking man if I could just drink protien shakes as meals I would be all about it, but I k is they aren't replacements for food due to lack of all essential nutrients. I would live to give Soylent a shot to help control my weight and provide my nutrition needs.

  • yomismo

    Great! Keep it up!

  • Mike Frisco

    Have you given any thought to turning soylent into a solid?  Either as cubes or bars?  It might make it easier to transport and store.

    • Scott

      I've been thinking this as well.  Call it "Food Brick" or "Daily Brick" or something.  It would be dehydrated, look something like a rice crispy treat but more dry… just add water or milk, mush it up, and eat it like oatmeal.  Add fruit or cinnamon if you want for flavor.  A dehydrated solution would store longer and be perfect for humanitarian aid.  Poor kids from Africa and Haiti would be eating healthier than us!  There's also military, prepper, and natural disaster applications.  Would be cheaper than an MRE with less waste in packaging.  I'm not as smart as Rob, not even close, but I thought about trying something like this based on ingredients I can grow/raise myself, with the bulk probably behing dehydrated lentil sprouts, flax, quinoa, and oats.  Sort of an "organic hippie buy local poor person" version, hehe.  Perhaps the kickstarter will really prop up Soylent making it super popular and accessible, making my concerns null.

      • Anand

        I wish you tons of success with this. It sounds like it has real potential for benefit to the world, especially the third world.

      • gwern

        > Poor kids from Africa and Haiti would be eating healthier than us!

        Already do: check out

        • Jeffrey

          They already do.   I've been to Haiti before on a missions trip and everything they eat (which is minimal) is natural, healthy, and unlike modern first world countries, don't eat food packed with massive amounts of cancer causing and potentially dangerous chemicals

      • Nate

        You mean like an emergency food ration?  Gee, I wonder why no one has thought of that.  Maybe they will make emergency water treatment tablets too.

        • Ray

          I sense the next MRE on the horizon…

      • Tali

        Yes for this!

        Honestly, I've always been expecting someone would come up with a human food package, like what we have for our dogs and cats. Some days I'd just die to have a bowl of something like a snack (crunchies? or something) that would fill all of my dietary needs. Something like: "Women 25-35, medium build, medium activity levels. 42Kg – 600g a day. Remember to drink 2l of water daily or you might have kidney problems at your own risk." And we'd have a website where you input your characteristics (and answer a few questions on your weekly excercise routines), to find out which package you should be eating from. 😛

        Cooking can be a drag.

        I wouldn't mind the liquid version, but I do wonder how it is going to be, how will people be able to regulate proportions according to their own needs.

    • John

      I believe the idea is to have the supplement in powdered form already, then it can be mixed into water.

      • stan

        The potentail to bring food to certain 3rd world areas is exciting and inspiring, but we need to remember that often it's not the amount of food that causes starvation, it's politics.  Ceratinly if food was more compact, lighter wieght, and easier to transport it would be able ot be ditributed much more efficiently and directlly, which would bypass some political detours, but in and of itself more abundant and easily transported foods will not solve starvation in many trouble spots.

    • jim

      And Norman Spinrad fans will call it a "Fressen Bar."

  • Federikus

    Can't wait for the Kickstarter project to be approved. I'll surely be one of the backers.

    Keep it up Rob!

    • Russell

      I think this will be something that i will finally care enough about to back on kickstarter.

  • A Viescas

    Hm, oat powder… that's a little disappointing in that I was hoping that "energy" could be easily separated from "nutrients" in the mixture, but it's not so bad if it only provides fiber–if you sub it out you could add fiber another way.

    I'm looking forward to the kickstarter, but only if there's a "vitamin-only" option that lets us tweak the carb-protein-fat ratio to our satisfaction. Having made this stuff (well okay, a cheap version) myself for about a month's worth of breakfasts I can say that that ratio makes a huge difference on whether or not I can consume regularly it even as infrequently as once a day.

    • Don

      I'd definitely second wanting a vitamin-only option.

      For some other narcoleptics who acutely suffer a nap attack when ingesting food, I've found that the gluconates & maltodextrin bring on nap attacks.  So off to switching from potassium gluconate to potassium citrate, which is just as bioavailable.

      While making my own version, the maltodextrin was definitely not for me.  Narcoleptics have an orexin-a/hyptocretin-a deficiency due to the body attacking its own orexin generating neurons.  As Orexin regulates hunger, wakefulness & sleepiness and is also insulin/glucose sensitive, spiking blood sugar in a narcoleptic essentially will bring on a nap attack.  Just 1 tsp of malto would knock me out.  ouch.

      What I've found to make the biggest difference when it comes to "energy" levels has been with the ingesting of magnesium.  Since magnesium seems to play a role in calcium, vitamin d absorption and also reducing insulin-resistance (pubmed studies), getting your 8-10mg per kg of body weight of magnesium per day seems to be the key to enabling the insulin in the body to deliver glucose to its eventual destinations.  With faster glucose delivery, comes the faster orexin levels rising back up to provide that alertness and wakefulness.

      For the non-narcoleptics, I can imagine that this tiredness still occurs as we're all familiar with being in a "food comatose" post-lunch.  I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts, that a steady flow of glucose via oats would work better than malto just hitting the blood stream.  Also the function of fiber should allow the nutritional mixture, gradual absorption, which seems to be more on par with the design of having a very long long intestine.


    • The Alchemist

      There already exists a "VITAMIN-ONLY" option. They're called multivitamin supplements and you can get them at any supermarket or pharmacy.

      • A Viescas

        Not really; vitamin supplements are intended to supplement meals rather than replace nutrients. They skimp on stuff that you get from a regular diet and underload things that you have even the slightest chance of OD'ing on. They won't be good for full-time soylent.

        I currently use a vitamin supplement for my own mix, but like I said before, I don't do this full time and probably won't unless there's a real vitamin option available. (or decide to shell out the money to make my own)

      • Penguinetti

        Are you THE The Alchemist?  I hope so…

      • Don

        As far as multivitamins go, most of them lack enough potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.  I've gone through a handful of them.  Also, multivitamins typically use the densest forms of the elements which aren't necessarily bioavailable, so the vitamins are taken for naught.  Magnesium oxide & calcium carbonate aren't really useful as opposed to magnesium glycinate & calcium citrate.

        Taking rob's list of elements, I think I've found the multivitamin + potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus additions that provide all the essential nutrients anyway.  

  • Zak

    I am excited about this.  I have always wanted that "pill" that would be my meal.  This is about as close as we can get.  I like eating but I'm busy and like you mentioned in some other post, it's like going to the movies.  I'd be fine eating a couple of times a week, socially.  Keep on keeping on.

  • John

    Good read. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say thanks. I Enjoy and appreciate the updates. Can't wait until I can try it myself. 

  • Ceryk

    Hopefully something gets going with the kickstarter, because I could really use something like this. Though I would definitely have to flavor it. I’ve got extreme issues with flavor and smell, which is why I can’t eat most food people eat and why I’ve been really wanting some kind of meal replacement solution for years. But I’m always worried that that stuff will taste like shit. I’ve tried a variety of things like protein bars and stuff and they all make we want to puke.

  • Jesse

    I love the way you think. Can't wait for the Kickstarter. 

  • Brett

    Looking forward to the kick starter!

  • nikolassantamaria

    haha! i've been making a makeshift powder with oats and was just thinking today about how good a blend would work

  • Pill Scout

    Bacon is high in Oleic acid, the principal component of adipose (fat) tissue so it is great for increasing body fat.

    You'd think this, but it's not actually the case!

    If you want to increase just your body fat percentage, you need more simple carbohydrates. By the way, does your soylent contain cholesterol?

    I look forward to seeing more of these observations from your experiment. Adding some carbohydrates would definitely help with your nootropic stack.

    • Christopher Galpin

      I completely agree with you. I just read Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes and was blown away, not because I was moved by an opinion, but because it is an extremely well-sourced comprehensive look at every nutrition/exercise/fat-loss study of the last century (and a few before), as well as populations around the world. Took a decade to compile, which clearly shows in its extensive research, but most of all, appears written by a man sincerely interested in an unbiased analysis of the research and not current dogma. He admits he may be wrong, and while he does offer what he believes to be the truth, it's done so with overwhelming evidence. The data, itself, in every trial and every facet, is overwhelming, mind bogglingly so. Highly recommended.

    • rob

      Fascinating. So the oleic acid is metabolized, and the body synthesizes it back for storage?

      Soylent contains no cholesterol. I wasn't sure at first if the body could synthesize enough to get by without any but it seems to be the case, and my cholesterol levels are excellent.

      • iopq

        It's really about calories. If you want to gain bodyfat, eat more calories. Since you are eating dietary fats, you'll store those dietary fats. If you eat more carbs, you'll gain more weight, if you eat more fat, you'll gain more weight.

        • Mike

          No, it's not necessarily about the calories.  That's the entire point of "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It."  Since eating fat doesn't spike blood sugar, and as a result the body doesn't release insulin, then the body doesn't store those digested calories as fat.

        • Charles

          That's definitely not at all true. I eat at least 60% fat, most of it saturated, and I don't gain an ounce. It's not the calories, it's what your body does with the calories, and for most people, the way to gain weight is to consume more simple carbohydrates. 

  • Z

    Can't wait!

  • X

    Have you gotten any indication, from the Kickstarter crew, how long it will be before your project is approved?

    In the meantime, can you give us an idea of your pledges, rewards, and timeline?

  • Matt

    I fear many people who work primarily with their minds do not put much effort in to their health, and we are all missing out because of it.

    This resonated with me so much – good luck with the Kickstarter and everything thereafter!

  • Luke

    Best of luck on the Kickstarter! I'm sure at some point the FDA is going want to say something, but unless they say no go on mass production, I don't see an issue with you moving forward and changing at least most people's minds about food.

    • Don

      Interesting aspect I came across while working on my own concoction.  FDA limits pure supplements from providing more than 100mg of potassium per "serving".  Obviously, that doesn't preclude things like muscle milk, which has 400+mg per serving within the drink.  I'm guessing this is becuase around ~95g of potassium taken orally or ~20g intravenously can cause a heart attack and kill a person around 75kg.  I think the main challenge for this particular enterprise will be satisfying all the safety red tape before being able to make it available to the masses.

      I've also noticed that some fortified protein+carb powders have this disclaimer, "Do NOT use as sole source of nutrition, even though, theoretically those powders could provide everthing needed.  Whether it's just to limit liability or of there is some law/regulation that dictates that food can't be marketed this way is beyond me. 

      I suspect the only way to really get the formula out will be in its liquid or dehydrated form in easy to use blocks.  The vitamin only aspect may have some stricter limitations designed to prevent death or severe injury.

      I guess we will have to see what happens.

  • John Andrus

    What a coinsidence, my Kickstarter campaign is also getting reviewed right now. I had the same thought as this but with laptops. Check it out in a couple days :)

    • livex

      You really need to work on your web presentation of the Casetop idea. There's no clear single short summary of the idea up front, way too much navigation, poor visual design, and misspelled words.

  • Sam

    Pretty excited about this. Many people will be out to debunk and hate on this but don't let them get to you. keep it up, looking forward to seeing the kickstarter.

  • Jenni Watson

    While I find this interesting I consider this a bad sign: "If people had more self-control obesity would take care of itself." That could not possibly be further from the truth. I'm two years into a journey and have lost 140 pounds and I can tell you will power has never been what I've lacked. Most of the people I meet on a journey like mine do not lack will power either. What happens is that our obese bodies have found a way to be very efficient with calories and then we develop metabolic issues because we follow doctors who say basically what you have said here. Only after a lot of time spent starving ourselves (which I can assure you takes quite a bit of willpower) do we give up and move on to other gimmicks and even surgeries. My sucess has come from going the other way. I didn't cut my calories way down, and I don't do cardio. But that's still not the complete answer. In fact from reading leaders in the field I can tell you there is still much discussion over what principles contribute most including calories so stateing what you did like it's a fact is simply wrong. You seem to want facts, get some on this topic and stop saying overly simplistic statements like that one. 

    • Don

      Physics 101:  conservation of matter and energy.  Nothing can create or destory matter.  It's only converted from energy to mass and vice versa.

      Matter can only be added to a body if said matter is getting digested and metabolized.  The average body processes in the realm of ~100 calories per hour.  The excess gets stored as fat.  People don't just "gain" weight by breathing and weight does not just attach itself out of thin air to a body. The calories MUST originate from somewhere.  Unless one is under duress to consume those calories, it IS a matter of choice.  This is not to say that there are conditions in the body that provoke very strong desires to consumer calories despite not needing them.  These desires I'm familiar with while learning about the wild rollercoast ride manipulating progesterone/estrogen levels in ones body.

      What people typically do not have control over is where the body decides to deposit its fat.  Unfortunately, this seems to affect women much more due to hormonal changes natural or induced.  From experiences with my wife and her conditions, I can vouch that it is possible to maintain body weight & fat percentages, but gain sizes when it comes to pants, as the body for some reason starts shifting mass to other parts of the body. 

      Rob has a tremendous point in that nutrition plays a key role in providing mental energy that can be focused on being more aware of and dare I say, making better choices.

      • Allison

        Don, you seem to concluding that there is an overconsumption of calories leading to fat storage, and that losing weight is simply a matter of making wiser nutritional choices. Jenni's experiences seem to support that it's not a matter of calories in and calories out, but rather a more complex scheme that people much smarter than myself are trying to understand (e.g. Gary Taubes). 

        I side with Jenni on this issue, but do take your point that Rob's focus on the mental benefits of Soylent (still hate the name) and the fact that he created it not for weight control but, well, life efficiency, can provide benefits to a larger swath of society. Rob seems to like to deal in facts; the least he can do is continue to back up his opinions with research, instead of making all encompassing statements that may hold true for some, but definitely not all, of a group of people.

        • Bob H

          Sorry I have to support the other posters here, you seem to be saying his statements are wrong and that Rob should look elsewhere but I don't see any facts being stated in a scientific manner. The body uses different chemicals to survive it metabolises and absorbs those chemicals, an obesity is definately an excess of something. He has created a formulation which provides virtually everything his body needs in balance, if he eats too much it makes him unwell if he eats too little then he suffers. Weight can only be gained through excess of consumption and lost through redressing a balance of intake vs consumption. If your body metabolises at a different rate then the balance is possibly different but the balance will probably be more on a reduction in fats and carbs and an increase in metabolites.

          • Charles

            "Obesity is…an excess of something." Yep, it's an excess storage of fat. That says nothing helpful. The question is: what makes a person store more fat than they want, and that's a lot more complex than more calories. 

        • Kyle

          Calories are what counts, when it comes to weight loss. Period.

          • Mike Graf

            The problem with that thinking is that few of us want general "weight loss" (water, muscle, fat and even sometimes organ tissue loss). Most of us want fat loss.  And thats where the diet manipulation game comes in.. How can we encourage the body to lose fat and not the other categories of tissue? Things like higher protein intake, HIIT and weight training (vs low intensity steady state cardio) etc.. 

            I'm not saying your statement is "wrong", just misleading. 

      • ysabet

        Whilst your point about conservation of energy holds true, the human body is not static. Personally, my basal metabolic rate varies greatly depending on how much I eat. One of the easier ways to figure this out was to take a sublingual body temperature reading and correlate that with my caloric intake. On a diet of around 1400 calories a day, my body temperature was about 36.4 C, and I lost weight (about 1kg every three weeks to a month). On a diet of around 1100 calories a day, my body temperature dropped to about 35.7 C – and I gained weight. This was undertaken under medical supervision, by the way. The doctor estimated that on the lower calorie diet, my basal metabolic rate dropped to around 950/cal a day; on the higher calories, it rose to a more normal 1500/cal a day.  Conservation of energy in action, indeed. 

        I'll readily admit that my body is atypical. I gain weight on a starvation diet. It's puzzled myself, my doctors, and other medical professionals. On the other hand, the preceding two generations in my family on one side have been through periods of starvation in their lives as children and young adults. So perhaps it isn't surprising given that genetic heritage and environmental conditioning that my body is very good at conserving calories.

        I obviously can't give the whole picture here in a blog comment. But it isn't as simple or as absolute as how many calories I consume – not for me. I wish it was! If it is that simple for your body, I envy you. 

        • http://None Patrick

          Sounds like adrenal fatigue and/ or thyroid problems. 


          • ysabet

            I wish it was something so normal. But my thyroid levels are fine (including the ones that aren't normally tested) and my adrenal function (inasmuch as it can be tested) is normal. My blood says I'm a completely normal, healthy individual.

        • Patrick

          That s the problem with blood tests. For adrenal fatigue do a 24 hours cortisol test through saliva. Still your temp should be 37.4. So on average to low. Check and their book for several symptoms checklists. 

      • Christopher Galpin

        Imagine that, instead of talking about why we get fat, we’re talking about why a room gets crowded. Now the energy we’re discussing is contained in entire people rather than just their fat tissue. Ten people contain so much energy, eleven people contain more, and so on. So what we want to know is why this room is crowded and so overstuffed with energy— that is, people. If you asked me this question, and I said, Well, because more people entered the room than left it, you’d probably think I was being a wise guy or an idiot. Of course more people entered than left, you’d say. That’s obvious. But why? And, in fact, saying that a room gets crowded because more people are entering than leaving it is redundant— saying the same thing in two different ways— and so meaningless. Now, borrowing the logic of the conventional wisdom of obesity, I want to clarify this point. So I say, Listen, those rooms that have more people enter them than leave them will become more crowded. There’s no getting around the laws of thermodynamics. You’d still say, Yes, but so what? Or at least I hope you would, because I still haven’t given you any causal information. I’m just repeating the obvious. This is what happens when thermodynamics is used to conclude that overeating makes us fat. Thermodynamics tells us that if we get fatter and heavier, more energy enters our body than leaves it. Overeating means we’re consuming more energy than we’re expending. It says the same thing in a different way. Neither happens to answer the question why. Why do we take in more energy than we expend? Why do we overeat? Why do we get fatter?

        Taubes, Gary (2010-12-28). Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It (Kindle Locations 1116-1128). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 


        We have to be very tricky with definitions here. Overeating in the sense of "consuming more calories than expending" is different from overeating in the sense of "consuming more than we require". The very strong desire to consume calories may be because the body does need them to have energy, because the calories that are being consumed are not fueling our energy, they are being stored as fat. But why? As Allison says there are people who seem to be making impressive inroads, with ample evidence. There are some fascinating studies cited in that book that support overeating is not a cause, but a result. I'm going to get out of here before I become too book preachy though, it may already be too late.

    • Roger

      Self control, or "will power" as you call it, may not be the only answer to going from obese to normal. However, perhaps more self control would assist in prevention of going from normal to obese.

      Congrats on dropping 140 pounds. Here's hoping you can keep it off.

    • Adam Safar

      I think people are forgetting a lot of aspects that go along with the thermodynamics of you body. The type of calories you consume play a massive role in fat gain as well as thermogenics. Protein and fiber have a greater effect on body temperature than fat and tradition carbohydrates, so consuming greater amounts of these will facilitate a higher body temperature, which facilitates fat oxidation. With that being said, there is a lot more that goes into weightloss than simply restricting calories, like you mentioned. But, given a proper ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and protein on a  restriction of calories (assuming you are getting them from bioavailable forms that have low GI  counts) you will lose weight. On restricted calories, well placed meal timing, and a proper ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, you will lose weight. All these come down to self control, will power, and a bit of knowledge. 

  • Erica Brescia

    I'm waiting with bated breath. This is such a cool project and I will definitely back it on Kickstarter. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  • Bob

    That's terrific news! looking forward to where this all leads…..

  • Paul C.

    Interesting update.

    However, it's worth noting that oats can still be problematic for celiacs, due to similar proteins like avenin or cross-contamination with gluten:

  • Nathan Lively

    Last year I read Your Brain at Work by David Brock. Great book and he address some of these energy issues. It was important for me to learn that different kinds of brain tasks require different amounts of energy. Because of this, your brain always prefers the easier method that will conserve energy. It's a lot easier for me do five low-level tasks at the same time than to focus on one high-level task for 30min.

  • Matthew Ryan

    I'm so very excited for this, I hop there is a recurring supply reward level or enough in one go for say 90-180 days


  • max

    Great work Rob! I love you attitude, optimism and ability to think ojectively and "outside the box".

    As someone who has many food intolerances (the real kind not the current celiac fad kind) this has inspired me to look for alternative ways to get inputs for my body.

    • Adam

      Max, I'm not sure what you mean by celiac fad.  My wife's celiac situation shuts her down from the inside, preventing absorption of nutrients, should she ingest any gluten source like wheat, rye, oats, or barley.  How many of your food intolerances starve you to death and wreak havoc on you body?  Please refrain from labelling things you do not comprehend as fads or not real.

      • max

        I realize the celiac disease is a serious problem in those who have it and I definietly am not trying to trivialize the experience of sufferers. I apologize that I came off that way to you.

        However celiac disease is rare, effecting between 1 in 1750 and 1 in 105 adults in the US. It is also a genetic disease so if one has it they have had it their entire life, it does not start suddenly at some point. In my area if I asked the women in my demographic whether they have celiac disease I estimale between 10-20% would either claim to have it or that they have symptoms. Every woman (I have only ever known woman who have claimed to have it) I have met who thinks they are a caliac only claim to exhibit symptoms in their late 20's or older. None of them have been tested for celiac antibodies. There is a disconect between people preceived problems with gluten and their actual problems. This is what I mean by the fad. It is easier to blame problems on some made up disease incidence than to take a hard look at ones life and see where things are really going wrong. 

         I have been tested for the antibodies and thankfully I do not have them. The reason I mentioned that I consider it a fad is that there are currenly high incidence rates of people claiming to be celiacs or have other food alergies which are much higher than the actual incidences of the dieases. Medical doctors are very aware of this situation and it is often difficult to convince them to take real symptoms seriously as a result. This is a signigicant issue for people with undiagnosed food disorders.

        • Kate

          It's not only actual coeliacs for whom gluten is a problem. Gluten intolerance is a real problem – I promise you, it's not just a fad. I am not coeliac, but 'merely' gluten intolerant, and like Adam's wife, if I eat even trace amounts of gluten it damages the lining of my intestines, leaving me with seriously reduced absorption for about a week. I assure you accidental blind trials have proved this! A week of being constantly starving and hypoglycemic is no fun at all. My gluten problem came on in my 30s. I had no idea what it was, I just couldn't understand why my hair was falling out and I seemed to be hungry all the time. A friend suggested I might have a food intolerance (he has the same problem with tomatoes), I just cutting out gluten, and like magic, my system healed.

          Doctors recognise coeliac disease, because the damage to the gut is visible, but few of them recognise gluten intolerance as a real condition. Medical science is actually woefully ignorant on digestive things – not really surprising, given the complexity of the system.

          • bo’nana

            a lot of folk who recognize that wheat etc is causing them to have digestive issues and skin & hair problems say they have "caeliac" for lack of any better way to explain themselves… wheat makes them sick, thats for real. so they use a mistaken term, not realizing that they are referring to a specific autoimmune syndrome and that its more accurate to simply say that wheat makes them sick. Can we stop being grammar nazis and focus on the really important point here? Wheat Makes Them Sick. And they figured it out themselves thru trial & error and ultimately feeling better after eliminating wheat + inevitably feeling worse again whenever it gets reintroduced.

            i have developed a bunch of significant food intolerances over the past few years. i can no longer digest wheat, corn, or uncultured dairy, and never could process soy or carrageenan. these things make me SICK! as in, far beyond simple indigestion, now also eczema, chronic fatigue, joint pain and muscle weakness, significant hairloss, brain fog, short term memory loss, etc etc etc.. a whole autoimmune cascade that leaves me feeling (and looking) like hell for days after a single exposure.  i understand my problem is not actually "caeliac", as for me the issue is not gluten specifically. i tolerate kamut, rye and barley fine. and so i dont call my condition by that name, but i certainly dont fault anyone else for misusing the term… its usually easy enough to understand what people are really trying to communicate, when one is really listening to what is really being said.

            so you have a difficult time hearing that others are having trouble with wheat, and/or other gluten grains?  i take it that is becoz you personally do not experience these troubles? well then, may i suggest exercising a bit of compassion for those who are trying to explain that they have learned that they do, and also being very thankful that these health problems do not currently apply to you.  may you never be forced to struggle in your health becoz your daily bread has become a poison to your body, for whatever reason!

          • bo’nana

            sorry, kate– my comment was meant to be addressed to max, who you had also responded to.

  • max

    Oh yeah and I will definitely be contributing to the kickstarter campaine when it gets going. I completely agree with your statement that food is dominated by reactionaries. It's long past due for better options than what people were doing hundereds or thousands or years ago. Just because some guy made beer one way in 1538 or some ones else pasta in 1689 does not mean that those are somehow better than other modern alternatives. 

  • Reynaldo Garza

    I will definately back this kickstarter up. This is the future of sustanance. 

  • matt

    An average Zero score of 104 is impressive. Mine is mid 60s but I get good rem and deep sleep.

    Did your sleep change much during Low Power mode?

    Will you share all your Quantified Self data, Id be interested to look at it via some process behaviour charts.

    • gwern

      If you're young and healthy and don't have wretched habits (which cuts out a lot of people…), 104 is not necessarily that impressive, and it sounds like he just started? For example, excluding outliers I get on my 604 days of Zeo data a mean ZQ of 97.1, which is just 7 points away from his.

      What I'd be interested to see is him randomize some weeks of Soylent and regular food and see how that affects ZQ.

      (Going without Soylent during a trip is not much, even for an anecdote – going to strange new stressful places, doing strange new stressful things, with strange new stressful people…)

  • Paul

    Hi Rob,

    I love the Soylent updates and will definitely get involved with the kick starter. You mention nootropic days, have you any more details of what you are taking on these days? Or have I missed it somewhere? Just thought this may have an impact on your scores and how you feel with respect to mental sharpness.


  • Thomas Reggi

    Did you mean protien not protons?

    • Fergus

      No. I believe he *really* did mean protons. Extract from on-line definition of an acid 'a chemical compound that dissociates in solution, releasing hydrogen ions and lowering the solution pH (a proton donor)'

  • vernes

    To make efficient use of this food, you'd want to tweak the nutrience ratios to meet personal requirements.

    Would it be possible to create a dispencer device that can be adjusted to mix and match components to create the right mix ratio?

    Allong with some commercial measuring devices, you'd have a data feedback for the created combination.

  • Vojtech

    I really like the part about creativity and thinking. But I would look fot other fuel sources for brain such as ketones are and has been found that MCT oil and also coconut oil help Alzheimer patient improve their conditions, its supposed that ketones are neuroprotective. Looks like soylent is carb-driven and it brings constant hunger, and thus making fat-based one would be ketogenic soylent.. my brain seems to work better on fully adapted ketosis and energy levels are quite high too.. what do you think about this?

  • estedeaqui

    I think it would be very interesting to have an objetive test to measure this: "Cognition was the first to go. Patience shortened, attention dulled, curiosity waned. Socializing was more taxing, my inbox more foreboding. The physical effects took another few days. It was harder to wake up, the gym seemed much less inviting"

    Great job anyway!


    • estedeaqui

      * objective test

  • Carl Youngblood

    You're failing to take into account the enjoyment factor in good food. I think you're research is awesome and valuable, but my ideal future is different. While I would like the option of using Soylent when necessary, I would prefer to have machines in my bloodstream communicating my biomarkers over my home wifi to a robot that makes me delicious meals containing precisely the nutrients I need from fresh produce delivered on demand by a driverless truck.

    • teapot.d

      well, good luck with THAT!

  • being_anonymous

    Come on. I expect complete 100 % soylent as an alternative to food for a month atleast and look at the result

  • Erik

    I had the gastric sleeve done and have now lost over hundred pounds. This is all great and I feel great, but now I have a hard time getting all the nutrients I have needed because of my smaller stomach. I am anxiously waiting to back your Kickstarter campaign to try something like this, because I don't fully understand how to make it myself. Reading all of your adventures on this diet has been a fantastic read. Keep up the great work!

  • Niko

    I made the decision to use whey isolate rather than the slightly cheaper concentrate / isolate blend. I am glad I did not just because my skin looks a little better and soylent is now lactose free


  • River

    "I have no use for bulging biceps."


    I, on the other hand, can think of two. First, as a hetero male, females I'm interested in tend to think that bulging biceps look good. Second, I might find myself in an emergency situation where I need physical strength to be a hero. Or, as Mr. McGuff discusses in his book Body by Science, a few more benefits, including:

    1. increased functional capacity of organs

    2. Increasing gastrointestinal transit time, lowering risk of colon cancer.

    3. Lower back pain


    I think the book's worth a read as well.

  • suckerpunch

    I'm keen to try it out. I'm 39, 6 foot tall, weigh 100 pounds, have always been healthy but haven't shifted body weight since I was 17. The problem with this is that I have a bad habit of eating whatever I want, because the bad effects rarely manifest outwardly – but it's surely doing damage internally. Look forward to the kickstarter.

  • Jordan

    I recommend switching to locally-sourced/organic/family-farmed bacon. It is more costly, but if you don't eat it that often then THAT would be completely sustainable 😉

  • huh

    Releasing the equivalent of deadly cyanide gas from our anuses is a questionable design decision, nature.

    Other humans' feces harbor tons of potentially infectious bacteria – playing around with them is a bad idea. So finding the smell of feces repellent is actually quite beneficial.

  • Zequez

    I always wanted this! I wish you the best of lucks with the Kickstarter!

    Also, will you disclosure the components and recipe so everyone can make it?

  • Mike Brave

    Rob I've been keeping up with all your posts, I'll probably try to recreate some of what your doing though with more of a weight loss bent to it (not commercially or anything just to experiment on myself)  pretty exciting stuff so far. 

    I wonder though how much this has caused a change in your gut bacteria, and also if that has affected say your cravings for things like pizza. Those who have done things like juice fasts in the past say that it's part of the reason we crave unhealthy foods is that we have gut bacteria that's been encouraged to grow by feeding it junk, and once we start eating healthier, thus promting more positive species to thrive and starve the more negative ones it will change our cravings etc. 

    I'm not an expert or anything (I'm sure you've already figured out), just a guy who reads way too much about these sorts of things, but then again I think that's why what your doing has resonated with me since it seems your taking a similar approach though with a differnt intention.

    Anyways keep me posted, excited to see the kickstarter come out, especially if you offer a cost effective way to try it myself.

  • joyearl

    I'm very impatient to see Soylent on Kickstarter, and after on the market. I hope that the time-to-market will be short (also in Europe).

    It's logical to encouter skeptical people to your "experiment", because of the lot of implications it could (will) have on our way of life. And on the profits on some businesses to… e.g. the agribusiness.

    I like the way you think, and the way you make your ideas coming true.. Keep up the good work…

  • Kyle

    I'm curious about differences between women's and men's nutritional needs; have you discovered anything new/have you been continuing testing with other participants? Or has that been put on hold until the kickstarter hits?

  • DysgraphicProgrammer

    I know I get mentally and physically exhausted when I travel, even if my eating habits aren't changing. I would be interesting to see what happens if you go off soylent while at home, and taking objective measurements.

  • gwern

    > 1:


    You should be aware that the followup research tended to find that creatine's mental benefits only seem to appear in particularly afflicted subgroups such as the elderly or sleep-deprived or meat-deprived (see ); is Soylent effectively vegetarian as far as creatine consumption goes?

  • Kyle Dinh

    "Practically everything has gotten better over the past century but food has gotten worse." LOL. So true!

  • Ryan


    Don't name your commercial product Soylent. If you do you'll probably get nailed by a copyright troll.

  • Ryan

    Oh, I also wanted to say that this is probably the first Kickstarter project that I will contribute heavily towards. Do you have any estimated timeframes for production once the Kickstart is funded?

  • Josh

    I should be a lot more skeptical than I am but reading about soylent today, I started crying tears of joy because I feel like you've solved world hunger.

  • James

    I'm not vegan, but I really hope you develop a vegan version too. I for one can not consume whey protein. It's not a lactose issue- it's a milk protein allergy issue. 

  • vegan

    Sorry dude, but you cant to talk about if the organic food have a diferent with the chemical food. Is about logic…the natural things are better than others. With your chemical Soylent you dont live more than a few years…and you dont will feel any disfunction because you are hacking the system. If you want make something like that use organic food!!! and go to fuck, asshole

  • Armando Rios

    Hi from México.

    I´ve a questions: ¿You´ll sell Soylent in the future? ¿Do not yet revealed the recipe? Am so excited to prove Soylent in my life. 


  • CthulhuDances

    Why was this project necessary? We already have a wide array of meal-replacement and food-replacement products, in various forms and brands, often in multiple flavors, from SlimFast to Boost to Ensure. These things were made by people who studied nutrition and food science, whereas you studied the unrelated field of engineering and read a handful of studies. They CONDUCTED studies and clinical trials with controls, blinding, etc, whereas all your evidence now is 1) unverifyable and 2) anecdotal. In addition to the placebo effect, you sound like you had a terrible diet previously. Simply cutting out sodium and fat rish foods and switching to sushi and healthier foods could account for a lot of the miraculous improvement. You can't attribute any of this to Soylent.

    Furthermore, there are many meal-replacements that are solid, partly for fiber intake, but also for tooth health. 

    How on earth is this the solution to hunger? If it were, things like Ensure and Boost would have solved it already. 

    You use a lot of buzzwords and made-up terms like 'Hacking the body' to explain what you are doing, but you don't have the background or experience to back up any of your claims. Nothing you are doing is original, or healthy/safe, or helpful to humanity overall. By all means, continue your experiment if you enjoy it, but  don't put yourself on a soapbox or pedstal for it. 

    • Fergus


      On no, wait! Sorry, ignore that please.

      It was uncalled for. A knee jerk response without being aware of the facts that might be available. I should have really looked in to it a bit more, to inform myself of the subject before I posted such a mean spirited, uninformed comment.

      Yes, that's what I should have done. Indeed.

      Of course, one thought that does occur is that it might be more pertinent to suggest one asks the makers of Slimfast, Ensure, Boost, etc. Why they haven't cured hunger. As they, apparently, have these tremendous products at their disposal. But, instead I reckon I'll just take some time to think about how I can make a more worthwhile & meaningful contribution to the discussion.

      • Nate

        Every ingredient he puts into his concoction is created by a food corporation.  It would be impossible to do what he is doing without large, multinational corporations.  Everything including the harvesting, processing, containing and shipping is done by a large corporation.  Hundreds of people and machines and dozens of factories go into every jar and some corporate executive gets a taste of all of it.  If he only went to the farmers market he would have cut all of that out but that's too much work for him.

    • Curious

      I read several remarks claiming that equivalents exist. I tried to look for them, actively. I couldn't find any that actually substitute food altogether for healthy people. If you could publish more information about these supposed equivalents, I'm sure not only myself, but others will be very grateful. It would also give more weight to your claims. 

      As for "original", I believe, Rob is the first one to try going without food at all. Doesn't it count?

      Placebo effect – please read earlier posts. 

  • Zdzislaw

    im quite intrested about the mental effects and how the diference is present so fast (just a few days), – and to be honest its what make me wonder the trust of all this, seems too perfect to be true-. If that’s because the most of us have not the 3.5gr/day, must we see some improve of our mental strength just adding potasium (potassium gluconate, C6H11KO7) to a normal diet?

  • X


    tldr: Haters gonna hate, and you are clearly a hater.

    > Why was this project necessary?

    He explained his motivation in

    > We already have a wide array of meal-replacement and food-replacement products, in various forms and brands, often in multiple flavors, from SlimFast to Boost to Ensure.

    So we can't have another?

    We can't have an open source, crowdsourced version?

    One big difference, is the implication that each person could have an individualized Soylent formula.  Because it is so formulaic, it could even be individualized per meal per person.  I don't see SlimFast, Boost, or Ensure doing that anytime soon.

    > These things were made by people who studied nutrition and food science, whereas you studied the unrelated field of engineering and read a handful of studies.

    Some of the greatest leaps forward in many fields came from an outsider to that field, who had mastered another field, and as a result viewed their new field from a different perspective.  Do they make "novice" mistakes?  Sometimes.  Do they make "novel" leaps forward? Sometimes.  Do other people care?  Sometimes; and in this case there are certainly people who are at least curious about his experiment, perspective, results, etc.

    > They CONDUCTED studies and clinical trials with controls, blinding, etc, …

    And yet, when Rob tried to identify constants he found, "Every study I've seen shows poor statistical methods, conflicts with other studies, or does not show statistically significant results, usually all three. It's a difficult field because there are simply too many variables and the parameters are difficult to control precisely. This is why diets are fads. I decided to ditch nutrition and focus on biology. The proportions in Soylent are loosely based off the recommendations of the FDA" (

    > … whereas all your evidence now is 1) unverifyable [sic] and 2) anecdotal.

    Yes, a lot of his results are currently anecdotal.  That's because he started with an n of 1.  Even with a single subject, he has tried to provide a starting point for a more quantifiable study by posting quantifiable results (  And he is trying to expand his n (

    As for unverifiable, would you feel better if he mailed a certified copy of his test results directly to your house?  Seriously, there is a reasonable limit to what most people would expect for a study such as this.  Yes, if his experiment grows drastically, then I would expect more verification.  But for a guy doing this on his own, in his garage, I think he's done an acceptable job of documenting what he's done and the results.

    > In addition to the placebo effect, you sound like you had a terrible diet previously. Simply cutting out sodium and fat rish foods and switching to sushi and healthier foods could account for a lot of the miraculous improvement. You can't attribute any of this to Soylent.

    Rob states, "In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming." (  I know in my personal life, when I'm rushed or tired the quality of my diet plummets.  His dilemma is my dilemma.   Yes, "switching to sushi and healthier foods could account for a lot of the miraculous improvement", and if Soylent allows him to financially afford those food more *and* it maintains the effects of those foods between the meals when they are consumed, and doesn't provide one iota of benefit beyond that, it is still a win in my book!  If Soylent is comparable or better than the foods that we eat when we're rushed or tired, and is affordable, then it is still a good thing to me.

    > Furthermore, there are many meal-replacements that are solid, partly for fiber intake, but also for tooth health.

    Finally, a beneficial comment from the hater!  As he expands his experiment, having different people constructively question his assumptions, methods, and results can lead to a better product.  I don't remember him addressing tooth health, and it's something that I believe he should.

    > How on earth is this the solution to hunger? If it were, things like Ensure and Boost would have solved it already.

    Addressed in the "Global Implications" section of

    > You use a lot of buzzwords and made-up terms like 'Hacking the body' to explain what you are doing, but you don't have the background or experience to back up any of your claims.

    He doesn't claim to have the background or experience.

    > Nothing you are doing is original, …

    He doesn't claim that it is.

    > … or healthy/safe, …

    He stated that the reason he hadn't published the full recipe is precisely because of this, "I am reticent to provide exact brand names and instructions because I am not fully convinced of the diet's safety for a physiology different than mine." (

    > … or helpful to humanity overall.

    Personally, I think there is a ton of potential benefit to humanity.  For example, "Then, I'd like to be able to 3D print my own soylent mixing robot so I can put them in areas with high concentrations of homeless people." (

    > By all means, continue your experiment if you enjoy it, but  don't put yourself on a soapbox or pedstal for it.

    He hasn't.  You on the other hand climbed up on a soapbox; but, you clearly don't deserve a "pedstal [sic] for it."

  • Nate

    If you really want to do something positive for society then you should eat locally grown foods bought at a farmers market, or better yet, plant a garden and become your own farmer.  You are actually using more resources by consuming all of these highly processed foods than the average person who just eats fresh meat and produce from a grocery store.  Think about it, someone, or some machine has to pick the olives, send them to a factory and crush them, put them in factory produced jars, put the jars on a truck and ship them to you.  That goes for pretty much everything in your concoction.  It makes a lot more sense to just buy some locally grown olives, or whatever, and eat them and it is far less of a burden on society.  What you are trying to do is completely unsustainable if everyone did it and wouldn't solve any hunger/malnutrition problems worldwide.  You are just paying someone or some machine to process the foods for you when what you should be doing is processing them yourself by planting a garden or buying food that is grown as close to you as possible.

  • Nate

    Here's a quick rundown of how many people, machines and factories are needed to produce your concoction (at a minimum).  1 person runs a machine to mine sand, that person puts the sand on a truck, the truck goes to a factory, the factory processes the sand and creates a jar, the jar is sent to the olive oil factory, someone harvests olives, the olives are put on a truck and sent to the olive oil factory, olive oil is produced, olive oil is put into a jar and sent to your local store where you buy it.  That's a minimum of 9 people, 8 machines, 2 factories and a store.  Multiply that by the dozens of ingredients you have.  I'm guessing there is some oil drilling involved in those plastic containers too.  If you just bought locally grown olives from a farmers market one or two people could have picked the olives, put them on a truck and sent them to a farmers market.  That's 1 person, 1 machine, 0 factories, 0 stores.

  • Raketemensch

    You are what you eat, right? That's not a trite phrase, it's the truth — you become what you can grow in your gut. All that seratonin that makes your brain happy and calm? Your largest reservoir is in your gut. So if you're treating yourself with drugs that affect your brain chemicals — are you creating more of those brain chemicals nutritionally?

    I'm interested in this whole process, and especially in the nootropics experiments. Are you keeping up with the Quantified Mind testing? Are you starting from any sort of ADD/OCD/___D baseline? 

  • Curious

    Fascinating math. I suppose local farmers don't use jars and mine the petrol and build the trucks themselves? 

    • Nate

      I factored that in.  If you buy from a local farm one guy can pick the olives, put them in a reusable wooden bushel and transport them to a farmers market.  That's one person, one machine (truck) and a little gas compared to the literally hundreds of people and machines and dozens of factories and stores it takes to make one jar of Soylent.  It might be easier for him but he's just paying someone else to process his food for him.  That's not sustainable and will do nothing for world hunger and malnutrition.

      • James

        One would think, but on the global scale that's not quite how it works. #Freakonomics

        • Andrew

          Thank you!  That was the feeling I had when reading Nate's various posts here, but I had no data with which to make a cogent counterargument.  Very interesting read.

          • Nate

            This is assuming people want to eat a diverse diet, which is what Soylent is against.  Of course it doesn't make sense to try to grow 40 different kinds of crop outside of New York City or LA.  It makes much more sense to grow the potatoes in Idaho and the corn in Iowa and ship some bananas in from South America and have it all done by huge corporations.  If everyone starts eating 2 or 3 base foods (olives, some type of protein and a sugar) then everything changes.  No one wants to do this, it's not healthy and this project will fail miserably as soon as people with actual qualifications start to critique it.

      • Curious

        Again you "forgot" the jars which was the bulk of your description, not to mention that mass-producing is far more efficient than creating stuff by hand. It might be less hip though, which probably matters more to some. 

        • Nate

          We are already mass producing food so what would change?

  • Lawrence Bottorff

    I heard a panel of doctors debating stomach stapling to combat obesity. One doctor vehemently opposed, saying we do not have enough knowledge of where and how nutrients are taken up along the GI tract. In particular, he said some nutrients, vitamins, minerals take as long a a full year to show signs of depletion!!! That's a serious thought for you and your efforts, I'd say. IOW, don't call it a victory until at least a year has passed.

  • Nate

    Here's his research…

    Still impressed?  There is absolutely nothing original or creative about this project.  Emergency food rations exist.  Meal replacements exist.  Feeding tubes exist.  Medical foods exist.  You can live on fat, protein powder and vitamins/minerals.  You don't even need the carbs (sugar).

  • Nate

    Just one of many food substitutes that already exist.

    It's olive oil and rice protein with a bunch of vitamins and minerals (basically what he put together) and it's created by people with actual qualifications unlike this guy who hasn't even taken a class in nutrition at a community college.

    • Curious

      Sorry, what does fibromyalgia supplement have to do with food substitutes for healthy people? 

      • Nate

        It's exactly what he put together.  Olive oil and protein powder with added vitamins and minerals.  How would Soylent help healthy people?

        • Curious

          No, this is part of what he put together. I still would like an example of an equivalent meal substitute for healthy people. If you can't find it, then I'm afraid your arguments are as misleading as your local food math. 

          • Nate

            There are people who have been in comas for decades.  The record is 37 years and that coma started in 1934.  They were obviously fed something during this time through an IV or a feeding tube and it contained all of the essential nutrients for life and is basically what Soylent is supposed to be.  It already exists and includes fat, protein, vitamins and minerals and is in any hospital you drive by.  Nestle makes Peptamen for example and you can buy it on Amazon. 

  • Curious

    Peptamen is for "GI-compromised patients". I accept that the coma people may be fed by neutral, normal person-optimised nutrients, but so far this is the first time I've seen a healthy, mobile person living on nutrients. This is the most valuable part of this experiment for me: a working example. You were unable to come up with any exact equivalents. 

    Why it matters to me personally: regardless of the social part, the purpose of the normal food is to put nutrients in your body; in the healthiest, personally tailored diet, say, you might get 60% of what you need, 30% what you don't need, and 10% of stuff that harms your body. Why not optimise it to 90%+, and in addition, offload burden from the digestive system, which, like any system in the world, is prone to wear and tear with use? 

    Your "natural" and "organic" arguments make as much sense as a statement that automobiles and planes are abominations and everybody has to use a horse to travel long distances.

    The only valid argument I've seen so far is that there are too many unknowns and the body is a system too complex to try something like this without inevitable side effects. But this is why, I believe, nutrition specialists should take more active part in this kind of experimentation, instead of saying "but eating dead animals is more natural". 

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  • Dan

    If you're adding oat powder, aren't you also adding phytase? This reduces/stops your absorption of iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, Niacin, etc as it chelates with them making them unavailable to your digestive tract.

  • Sam2

    Rob I noticed you said that lowering carbs did not work for you. I wonder if low carb is really only reducing the poisons from food? Also it lowers the amount of calories people eat because the fat satisfies them so they eat less. Becoming healther. Another thought. Meat has less poisons in it than plants. The only way plants can defend themselves is through poisoning whatever eats them. Now I get to the real point. Maybe the reason you feel so good on solyent is balanced calories between fat and carbs plus GREATLY reduced poisions from the solyent. Just a thought. I'm going to try this if I can remember the chemistry I took and how to use a spreadsheet again. Thanks for the effort you've put in and also posting the amounts you used.

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  • E

    I want in so badly. I'm 24 (and female), really rather oveweight, and I know I'm definitely not nutritionally well off. I usually don't have too much trouble dropping weight but I'm more concerned about health – I have mental issues (depression, anxiety etc) which mean it can be very hard to get any kind of healthy eating plan into place – I would LOVE to try this out just to see how my body responded to the right nutrition. I think I'd have to also add in some kind of fibre supplement, though.. I can't imagine not pooping.. it just doesn't seem right to not use all of your body.


    Can't waitt for the kickstarter.

  • Andrew

    Yes! Kickstarter! Can't wait to see this in action. 

  • Pierre Fenoll


    Typo: That's Gregory Berns instead of Gregory Bems. (note the r.n.)

    I'm interested in what you were reading for quoting him?

  • Katie Oswell

    Anybody else reminded somewhat of the film Limitless… can't wait until this stuff gets out there, good luck!!! 

  • Fishy

    Good luck with the kickstarter idea, or at least that you find somewhere else to go with it for funding. 

  • Peter

    Just a note on oat powder, since I've been following your progress mainly because of a possible solution for people with celiac disease on the go (when often times it's very hard to eat healthy).

    Almost all oat grown in the world is polluted with other grains which sadly makes it non gluten free and thus not suitable for celiacs. There's only a handful of companies wich take specific measures to prevent any other grains from growing on their oat fields.

  • Rose

    You've made quite a number of changes to your recipe – could you please post an updated list of ingredients?

  • hass

    Several comments:

    1.  Starting points for every individual in terms of health, nutrition is different.   Young body has different requirements than aged, diseased body.  It is from this perspective that I think your vitamin c input is low.  I had a heart disease, and am around 50.  see orthomolecular medicine for vitamin c requirements.

    2.  For your basic formulation, you did not mention, on how you can get all these nutrients, minerals from a simple garden.  This will be a lot of help, for various categories of population.

    3.  I also liked your wave article.   Have you read or studied Meyl's unified field theory??

    Great job, and keep up.

  • David Hunter

    Rob, I can't wait for the Kickstarter campaign too! I just saw you on the Doctor's yesterday and I was mesmerized with your idea. 

    There was one statement  in your blog that took me by surprise – "No one in the United States plows fields or hammers steel. It has all been automated."

    There are thousands upon thousands of underpaid people who toil hard working the fields and factories in the U.S. I have seen people lose body parts and not go to the hospital for fear of deportation. You can watch Frontline or Indepedent Lens to see what goes on in the underbelly of our country. You are an intellegent man and have had the good fortune to be on the better side of life. Not everyone is in your position and we should always be mindful of those people less fortunate than ourselves. Cheers and good luck. 

  • Emma

    I started sporadically following your blog because I was curious about what you were doing. From what I've read I can't help but wonder if your Soylent would help me with my digestive issues – currently diagnosed as having IBS and working with the low-FODMAP eating plan. If you have addressed this in a previous post, I apologise.

  • H. Milner

    Nice to read you’re doing well. I’ve been trying something similar to your diet.
    Since I don’t have access to raw form nutrients, I am using what I can get my hands on, which is whey and soy protein powders(the ones they sell to body builders), fiber powder, oils(olive for unsaturated, coconut for saturated and flax for omega 3) and salts.
    I used ground oatmeal before you did since I’m diabetic (type 1) and glucose would have probably killed my hbA1c levels(or killed me outright). I keep my “meals” in powder form since they don’t need refrigeration that way and take a LOT less space, not to mention carrying those gallons of water around. I use common vitamin pills for all other deficiencies (iron, calcium, magnesium etc…).

    Feeling good and besides the flatulance I’m in great shape. Hope the funding succeed and this thing works out!

  • Koen

    Great project, and looking forward to your kickstarter (or equivalent).

    I saw two things in the recent post that reminded me of some thing I found interesting a while ago. You where discussing the problem of flavour and the new take on the glycemic index. I don't know if its true, but it is said that cinnamon plays a role in both. for example talks about this.

    Might be interesting to look into putting a bit in the mix. Good luck! I hope to join soon.

  • Michael

    Rob, are you alive? We are worried that this stuff could have killed you! 😀

  • Alexis

    I am extremely interested in this diet. As soon as I found out about the experiment through Dnews I was interested. This seems like such a simple idea that no one ever thought of it before. I'd like to try it for at least a month, however, as a 15 year old girl, I know I will have to talk to someone in the medical field before I try to take this on. Hopefully I can get my family behind me if my doctor allows it… Do you guys think it would be a good idea for a young girl to try this? I'd like to see what results I get.

  • Annika

    Just to let you know that oats are often contaminated with wheat and barley, unless they are specifically grown, prcessed and harvested.

    Please refer to the Canadian Celiac Association.

    Thank you.

  • Shubb

    After some detective work, I found Rob on the internet and posting about Soylent, in the past few hours. He is not dead.

    He is however apparantly radio silent. My guess is that he wants to finalize crowd funding arrangements before writing something firm. From his internet chatter it appears to be progressing but not without resistance.

  • David Hunter

    Rob, I have a sincere question: How is this powder different or even better for you than multi-vitamins? I use Nutrilite Double X. They are among the best vitamins for you though they give me stomach pains when I take them.

  • matt

    cant wait for the kickstarter!

  • jonathan

    Rob, for Sulfur repletion try adding Acetylcysteine.  Oats are already rich in cysteines however the raw form is far more potent.

  • Erbert

    I look forward for Soylent to replace a few meals a weeks.

    Cant wait till kickstarter! 

    ps: will this help lower my body fat? 

  • David Hunter

    Is Acetylcysteine on the element chart? 

  • Michael

    This is great.  I'm just hoping you'll make a dairy-free version for those of us who are allergic (not lactose intolerant).  They already sell complete nutritional shakes that are based on supplemented dairy products.

  • Kate

    "Oat powder is quite nutritious, and … should be fine for celiacs"

    As I'm sure others have pointed out, this may well not be the case. Oat gluten is a problem for many coeliacs and gluten intolerants, and furthermore, oats are generally highly contaminated with wheat gluten, as they're usually milled in the same environment. Every coeliac knows that oats are not safe unless the packet specifically say 'gluten free'.

    I'm really looking forward to Soylent being generally available, and I'm gluten intolerant – do please look into this carefully!

    • Christen

      I agree with Kate and the post above from Michael; please look carefully at the inclusion of oat powder as well as whey isolate.  I'm coeliac, allergic to any member of the grass family (therefore cannot tolerate any form) as well as dairy (the protein not the sugar).  I'm totally excited about Soylent as it originally eliminated those things.  Are there multiple formulations available for not just different body types but also those with these intolerances and/or allergies?

  • Paul

    Please please please launch your crowdfunding project with the option to ship overseas. Well, at least to the United Kingdom where I am. :)

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  • Angela Stewart

    Hey, just clarifying an error in your post about oat powder and celiac.

    First, while oat powder is an inherently gluten free product, contamination is widespread. This had led to the initial belief that oats were unsafe for celiacs. Only certified gluten-free oat powder (<20 ppm in Canada or the US) should be used to claim it's safe for celiacs.

    However, these contamination levels are based on CFIA and US studies based on the average intake of celiac patients. Assuming you used soylent to replace 100% of your meals, the contamination levels may not be appropriate. While this may be okay for labelling purposes, it may indeed be unsafe for celiacs to ingest. Just a thought 

  • david

    Oat meal contains up to 2.4% phytic acid.  Phytic acid is a phosphorus storage molecule in plants.  It is not digestable to non-ruminante animals.  Grainfed non-ruminate livestock have elevated P in the manure because they lack the phytase enzyme.  Excreting phosphorus is not ideal, as it is both a valuable nurtrient/resource and causes enviromental harm to surface waters becase humans like to put terrestrial organisms poop in water.

    Another consideration is that many important multivalent cations Ca Mg Fe Zn form precipatates with phytic acid.  If deficencies of these species are observed the phytic acid may be the culprit.

  • GH

    HCN is WAYYYYY more deadly than H2S.  You need a real chemist.

    overall, I think you're doing a pretty good job though.  

    I think that's actually way more sulfur than you need.  Cysteine and Methionine should provide a decent amount.

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  • Abby

    I have struggled for years now with an intense eating disorder, flip flopping back and forth between periods of lapse and relapse. I continue to struggle getting my daily/weekly nutrients and remain heavily anemic, but i see hope in this powder/supplement! I think Soylent would be especially helpful to people suffering from eating disorders and vitamin/iron deficencies. I would love to continue to hear/read updates and hope this gets Health Department approved! Keep up the incredible work!

    • Andrew

      It has been, please go check out to see how you can get some (estimated to ship in August, I can't wait!).

  • Jeff

    "No one in the United States plows fields or hammers steel."


    This is incredibly wrong and an example of the bubble world that people in Silicon Valley live in.


    • Guest

      You may be in your own bubble world, I know several metal smiths that earn a living through it and know several organic farmers that plow their fields with donkey power. The world is bits of everyone.

    • Fanatoli Guyoff

      Mexicans don’t count

  • http://none Auch Da

    Have you ever heard about the MORINGA plant (tree). Maybe if you inform yourself about, you want to add that in your drink. It is called a miracle plant. In the Philippines they  name it Malunggay.
    Just a hint for adequate nutrition from an amateur like me.

  • http://none Auch Da

    Also TURMERIC (a spice) is a wonder to this world. I suffered recently more than two months from a staph infection with boils all over my skin. I'm a enemy of antibiotics and I also knew that they can't even fight this sickness seriously with even a cocktail of them at all, as the bakteria are mostly resistent. So I first tried garlic, what didn't help. But as I got known to turmeric, I gave it a try and after about one month it was all healed like a wonder… and I had it really serious up to that point.. I couldn't even count anymore the boils i had all over my body before. People go back to nature and it's power to heal… pharmaindustrie won't tell you, because they can't earn from it.

  • http://none Auch Da

    Last tip for now is the "Master Cleanse". A detox diet with lemons for your overall health, known since many years already. It last's 10 days and will remove many or almost all poisons from your body that you accumulated over years. Just google for it, there's a lot of information in internet. But buy only BIO lemons as the others have so much poison in their peel that you can't even get rid of, when washing them.

  • define

    Reading this, a lot of people seem to be extremely upset, as if their regular food is going to be outlawed by 2022.  This implies that they either watch too many movies or have a vested interest in the status quo.  Keep it up, Rob!

  • Ryan D

    Does anybody know of research done on developing food intolerance through repetitively eating the same food?  For example, I went a few months where I ate about 1-2 cups of raw broccoli per day.  I developed a food intolerance to broccoli since then and I can no longer consume this. 

    Friends have done this same thing with other foods. What are the risks and statistics on developing food intolerances from the Soylent ingredients?

  • David Hunter

    ^^^ Wow. That is a good question. I wonder if it is possible to develop a food intolerance. Also, I am wondering if anyone will be doing any independent analysis of the quality of the ingredients. 

  • Eugenia Castro recipes

    If you miss sinking your teeth over a delicious slice of banana bread,
    you can even examine out these applying for grants learning to make the healthy version of the bread.
    We commonly know them as sweetened loaves with fruit or nuts, anywhere between yeast breads and cakes in texture
    and sweetness. It comes with an impossible to resist sweet taste and flavour that make
    folks want for doing this. Add the eggs and liquid after creaming, beating
    these in at low speed. What’s more unlike normal bread, banana bread is baked from batter rather than dough.

    • matt

      I think calling banana bread, bread is being generous.  It closer to cake than bread.

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  • ullrich fischer

    Did you consider psyllium husks for fiber?  They have zero useable calories but are pure fibre.

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  • Karl

    Hey Rob,

    You wrote "I underestimated the importance of fiber in a diet, and went from consuming 1.2g / day to 40g / day."

    Would you be able to explain why and how it is important, and what beneficial changes adding the fiber has? I am not saying you are wrong, I am asking because it must have been something very important to increase the amount you eat by over 30 times. :)

    • Stirling

      Quite simple. Our bodies can’t digest fibre. It is not present for nutritional purposes. Fibre stimulates the intestines and increases mucus secretion and nutrient absorbtion. By doing this it allows the nutrients in Soylent to be taken in instead of passed. The advantage of this diet is that the only poop that comes out is simply the moist fiber that went in. Just over 40g of poop per day.

  • Jay

    This is fascinating. Congratulations on pushing our thinking, The Soylent project really is "food for thought".  Reading your blog you've commented on the many tests you've been undertaking – and other web posts talk to changes in bodily output.  Is it worth getting some reproductive tests done because if Soylent is to succeed users would want to know there is no chemical change going on that could interefere with healty conception??

  • Junita Veliz

    Many thanks a lot this publish, it is definitely wonderful!

  • Brenna Roether

    FYI. Celiacs respond negatively to maltodextrins and dextrins. Causes a lot of gastrointestinal upset and celiac symptoms no matter what source the dextrin is made from. Please do not recommend for celiacs or gluten intolerant people.

  • Joseph M Cutcher III

    Great concept, i would live to try this Soylent but only if a few things are considered:

    1)Having a proffesional nutritionalist look for obvious / critical flaws and work with you to iron them out
    2)have options for different body types/needs
    3)could you post what the PH scale is of this bottle? ive been trying to watch that i make sure that’s balanced

    would love your thoughts on these 3 things, and an update on current health with revision 7

  • nhr215

    This is the dumbest thing ever. Classic example of idiotic millenial solving “problem” for other idiot millenials. I hope you go bankgrupt you get-rich-quick doucehebag.

    • Zachary Keel

      TL;DR: Trololol fuk u for makin soylent dutchbag

  • Ashley

    I noticed in this post you talk about adding Sulfur, CoQ10, and creatinine. However, on Soylent’s ordering page i don’t see those on the nutritional information at all. Has the main webpage not been updated or is it the product that has not yet been mass updated? If the product is just a base to add to then it may be helpful to have a page suggesting additional supplements to take if one starts to feel so and so symptoms.

  • Harry

    “but everything can be improved once seen as the sum of its parts.” Not necessarily. The whole is in various cases different than its parts.