Soylent Meal Replacements: Do They Work and Are They Safe

Soylent is a product made from soybeans, which are grown in California. The company behind it is called Elysium Nutrition. According to their website, they have been making food products since 1996. Since then they’ve created several different foods including Soylent 1 and 2 (which were both discontinued). Elysium Nutrition also makes other products such as “The Diet” (a diet book), “The Science of Sleep”, and “The Art of Manliness”.

There’s no doubt that Elysium Nutrition is one of the most reputable companies out there. Their products are safe and effective, and they’re definitely not just selling them to make money. You might think that because they’re a big company with lots of resources, they’d be able to produce better quality food than someone like some mom & pop shop in a small town.

But even if that was true, why would anyone want to eat something inferior?

It could be because the ingredients aren’t listed on the package or it could be that they don’t list all of them. There’s also the fact that there are many different kinds of soybeans and each kind has its own nutritional value. Some types contain more protein while others have less.

So what exactly does Elysium Nutrition put into their products? What do they actually use? And how much does it cost?

Let’s take a look at these questions and more!

The main ingredients in Soylent are: Oat flour, whole grain wheat, canola oil, and soy protein isolate. The first three of those ingredients make up the bulk of the product (65% to be precise). There is also a small amount of several other ingredients such as: zinc, vitamin D, potassium, and several different kinds of carbohydrates (including sucralose which is also in most diet sodas).

What about the cost?

Well the answer to that question is not so simple. Each bag of Soylent costs $29. The company has stated that their product is priced to be competitive with other meals, but in reality it’s slightly more expensive than other things you could eat. The thing is, though, convenience always comes at a price. Even if you just buy some fruits and vegetables and make your own meal, you’re still going to spend more time making it than if you just grab a bag of Soylent and go.

So is it really that bad that the product costs more than what it’s made of (in most cases)?

While it’s true that you can get the nutrients from the ingredients in a bag of Soylent, you wouldn’t be able to consume them in the same way. You can eat whole grains and vegetables, but you wouldn’t be able to consume them in the same way that Soylent does. For example, you can’t just drink a bowl of wheat. And while the oils in canola oil might not be as good as those in fish (which is also an ingredient), they still provide fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

So is it worth it?

That’s for you to decide. It’s a lot cheaper to just eat at home and it might even be more healthy for you, but it takes more time. If you’re lazy like most people are these days, you might appreciate having food that’s ready to go.

But should this be a staple in everyone’s diet?

No, not really. It has some benefits, but most of what’s in here can be obtained elsewhere more naturally. It’s up to you if you want to buy into this.

Sources & references used in this article:

Deciphering a meal through open source standards: Soylent and the rise of diet hackers by M Dolejšová – Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended …, 2016 –

Best Meal Replacement Shakes Reviewed by KR Szucs – 2014 – Aarhus Universitet

Malthus at the movies: Science, cinema, and activism around ZPG and Soylent Green by N English –

Review of black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) as animal feed and human food by J Olszynko-Gryn, P Ellis – Cinema journal, 2018 –

Optimizing foods for special dietary use in Canada: key outcomes and recommendations from a tripartite workshop by YS Wang, M Shelomi – Foods, 2017 –

The Promise and Peril of “Cultured Meat” by AKA Wiggins, A Grantham… – Applied Physiology …, 2019 – NRC Research Press