At a Glance | Our opinion | Nutrition | More about | Solimo Nutritional Drink vs | Conclusion | Verdict
Amazon is the biggest online retailer and one of the most influential brands. From books, to electronics and entertainment, they sell and now produce an infinite array of items. In this array, their Solimo sub-brand offers household items like freezing bags, shampoos, but also food and supplements. The last addition to this wild offering is a Solimo Nutritional Drink. What exactly is a nutritional drink? Is it a complete food? Something you can replace your meals with. The short answer is NO, and here is why.
Solimo Nutritional Drink Review
Flavours: Vanilla and Chocolate.
Ingrediens: Water, maltodextrin, sugar, milk protein concentrate, soybean oil, soy protein isolate, natural and artificial flavour, contains 0.5% or less of: canola oil, potassium citrate, corn oil, magnesium phosphate, calcium phosphate, salt, soy lecithin, magnesium chloride, ascorbic acid, carrageenan, choline chloride, sodium citrate, ferric pyrophoshate, alpha-tocopheryl acetate, potassium chloride, zinc sulphate, sucralose, vitamin A palmitate, niacinamide, manganese sulfate, calcium pantothenate, copper sulfate, vitamin D3, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine hydrochloride, acesulfame-potassium, riboflavin, folic acid, biotin, potassium iodide, sodium molybdate, chromium chloride, sodium selenite, phylloquinone, cyanocobalamin.
Macronutrients per serving (g)
% of Energy from each macronutrient
% of Recommended Intake per serving
- RI based on 2,000kcal
- RI based on 2,500kcal
I have divided this opinion section a little bit more differently. Firstly, I analyse the pros and cons of this drink and then I have a little rant about this product.
What We like
- 25% of daily micronutrient needs in 220kcal.
- Amazon shipping terms (free and next day).
What We dislike
- Not a real meal replacement.
- Really high in sugars.
- Virtually no fiber.
- Choice of ingredients (particularly carbohydrates).
- High GI
- Add Fiber.
- Use oats instead of maltodextrin to lower the GI.
- Add more protein.
- Reduce the amount of added sugars.
Why Solimo Nutritional Drink should be renamed to Solimo Sugary Drink.
For me this is another Vitamin water case, where it was advertised as healthy drink with vitamins, but in the end was just another sugary drink. That is the reality of Solimo. Yes, it has some protein (less than it should); yes it comes with 25% of vitamins and minerals; yes, the fats seem “healthy” at a glance; but no this drink is not nutritional. At least not nutritionally balanced.
Maltodextrin is practically a simple sugar (the body digests it at a similar rate), and to that you need to add 15g of added sugars per serving (220kcal). This means that you are drinking 32 of sugar per cartoon. What is the difference between this and Hershey’s Chocolate milk, besides some added on vitamins and minerals?
Thus, I believe that this is “nothing” but a glorified chocolate/vanilla shake.
Solimo does little favour to meal replacements, but should not even be considered one.
Perhaps the foundation of the article is completely wrong, since this reviews are always made from a complete food perspective, aka I judge the products expecting them to be fully fledged meal replacements. I understand that not all nutritional products needs to be so, and that people are allowed to sell protein shakes, milkshakes or coffee drinks that do not need to be nutritionally balanced or complete.
Solimo Nutritional Drink falls in that category. By no means should be considered a meal replacement, but another drink that you can add to your diet, just like milk (but extremely high in sugars). Thus, if you can work out a way to fit within a balanced diet (the same way sport drinks have a niche), by all means consume it. I just want to spread the awareness about the content of this drink.
An example of how to use it could be adding it to some protein powder and use it as a pre-workout drink.
What does this mean for the rest of meal replacements?
I think that absolutely nothing. This product is just another subpar food source, that when people start becoming aware of the benefits of complete foods it will be tossed aside. Perhaps, it will help some people start thinking about the concept of meal replacements and will help very few make the jump to other products with better nutritional foundations.
However, if Amazon wants to make a serious bet for the industry, it will have to market their product more aggressively, create a brand new shake and spread awareness in other circles (which I doubt it doing it currently with Solimo Nutritional Drink).
Solimo Nutritional Drink is like a boosted milk replacement, but not a meal replacement nutritionally speaking. Why is this? Because even if it is high in micronutrients (25% of daily recommended allowance per serving) and could provide you with the necessary energy; it lacks certain essential nutrients (fats) and provides too much sugar.
The main ingredients seem to be maltodextrin, sugar (both carb sources); milk protein concentrate and soy protein isolate (protein sources); and soybean oil (fat). Some of this ingredients are likely to be GMO and they are definitely not organic.
The first hint to this not being a complete food or meal replacement is the energy provided per serving. With only 220kcal (11% of DV) per cartoon, this is not enough to replace a full meal (you would be ideally looking from 350-700).
Most of the energy comes from carbohydrates (60%), more noticeably from sugars (27%). This is a lot more than the recommended 10% of the total energy coming from sugars (by the US Health department). The rest comes from fats, 24%, and protein, 16%; both which fall under the acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges.
- Total Carbs: 32g, 21.9% of RI.
- Sugars: 15g, 30% of RI (US GOV guidelines).
- Fiber: <1g, 1% of RI.
Maltodextrin and sugar are the main sources of carbohydrates. This immediately raises red flags, since both have very high impact in blood sugar (high glycemic index, or GI). Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate manufactured from corn (often GMO) that behaves like a simple sugar, since it is rapidly broken down in the body into glucose. Thus, it is passed to the blood rapidly, which caused a big insulin response.
Usually, matodextrin is paired with isomaltulose (a low GI sugar) and plenty of fat to lower the overall GI of the product. Examples of this include Queal (50/50 mix) with a GI of 50, Saturo or Soylent (GI 40-50). However, as it is not the case, I expect the GI of Solimo Nutritional Drink to be really high.
Why are high food sugars and high GI foods seemed as bad?
The US Health department limits the sugar intake to 50g a day, while the American Heart Association further reduces the amount to 37.5g for men and 25g for women. Why? Because high sugar diets are linked to higher obesity rates, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer (all these are often interlinked).
While the exact mechanisms and intricacies of how and to which extent sugar affects human health are yet to be determined; diets low in sugars have been related to lower body mass (together with lower calorie intake) and low glycemic index foods within a high carbohydrate beneficial for type 2 diabetes patients.
Solimo Nutritional Drink has no fiber at all
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate essential for proper bowel movement, hunger regulation and blood sugar management. The current recommendations for the US are about 25-30g a day, which many fail to reach (the average intake is 15g!). Thus, a good meal replacement should have plenty of fiber, which Solimo Nutritional Drink does not (less than 1g per serving).
- Total Fats: 6g, 9% of RI.
- Saturated Fats: 1g, 5% of RI.
- Monounsaturated: 2g, 8% of the energy per serving.
- Polyunsaturated: 3g, 12% of the energy per serving.
The main source of fats in Solimo Nutritional Drink is soybean oil. This type of oil is high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (about 50%), and lower in omega-3 (7%). This puts the omega-3 to -6 ratio highly towards omega-6, roughly around 1/8. A ratio closer to 1/1-1/4 is considered optimal to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases and inflammation.
Solimo Nutritional Drink is really low in protein. With only 9g per serving, you would get 50g of protein per 2,000kcal (day). 50g would be short for anyone weighting above 60kg (132lbs) if we follow the 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight recommendation. Furthermore, this recommendation is the minimum not to suffer muscle mass loss, and often more protein is recommended for hunger management and weight management purposes.
If on top of that you are an active individual, 50g will not be even half of what you would need a day, since protein intake of 1.6g/kg of bodyweight is recommended to build lean muscle mass.
Regarding the protein sources, interestingly Solimo uses both soy protein isolate and milk protein (mostly whey protein). I do not know to which extent each is used, but both are easily absorbed by the body. In my opinion whey protein is superior to soy, particularly when engaging muscle building activities.
For all the deficiencies Solimo Nutritional Drink might have in the macronutrient department, it provides with plenty of vitamins and minerals per serving. While each serving only provides 11% of the daily energy requirements, it is packed with at least 25% of all micronutrients we require. Thus, it could be use to boost your micronutrient intake.
Nutrition in short
Did not bother reading all? Here is a quick summary:
- Solimo Nutritional Drink provides 220kcal per serving (11% of RI) with a 60C/16P/24F energy split.
- Each serving provides 15g of sugar, which is too high; and zero fibers, even if this are essential for any healthy diet. The main source of carbohydrate is maltodextrin, thus practically all 32g per serving are sugar.
- Soybean oil is the main fat source, and even if it is low in saturated fats, it might also be too low in omega-3.
- Both milk protein concentrate and soy protein isolate are used as protein sources, but it falls short in quantity. You will need more protein.
- You will get 25% of all vitamins and minerals, which is a lot (good thing) for such a small serving (energetically).
- Solimo Nutritional Drink IS NOT a meal replacement and should be used in moderation. Consider it like a milkshake with some vitamins and minerals.
More about Solimo Nutritional Drink
Solimo Nutritional Drink is currently only available at Amazon.com. I am unsure if the online giant will make it available in other countries, but to do so it might have to change the recipe (like Soylent had to do to move from the US to the UK).
They currently sell them in boxes of 28 cartons (of 8oz or 237ml each). These cartons seem pretty small and in fact, most meal replacements opt for 400kcal + servings. Then again, it might is not marketed as one, and it is most likely not trying to be one.
Each box costs $27.99, but you can enjoy a 5% discount if you subscribe (automatically will be bought once a month) or up to 15% if you buy 5 boxes a month. While $1 per carton might seem like a good deal, when taking into account that each serving only provides 220kcal, it becomes average. Plenty of other meal replacements are cheaper than that, including Plenny Shake, Huel or Soylent powder (true none of them are already made, but powder products.
Shipping is free and you will be able to get the product next day in most places in the US.
Text with title
Ok, so I have been throwing around “is not a meal replacement” and “complete food” around a lot; but what does being a meal replacement mean? A meal replacement or complete food is a nutritional product that can cover for all the nutritional (macronutrient, micronutrient, phytonutrient) needs an average human can have. They are based on the current scientific understanding of human needs and food guidelines set by governmental agencies (EFSA, WHO, USHH) based on that research.
In short, you should be able to live off meal replacements alone (a broad generalised statement) and have no health issues.
Solimo Nutritional Drink does not aim to do so and thus, fails to meet some of the guidelines. Let’s see how it compares with some “real” complete food products (which are also available in the US).
Solimo Nutritional Drink vs Soylent Drink
Soylent Drink is the main meal replacement product from Soylent, the main US brand. They specialised in soy based ready-to-drink (RTD) meals. Soylent also produces Soylent Cafe, nutritionally identical to Soylen Drink but with caffeine on it.
Using Daily Values instead of RI.
Soylent is the main US brand and Soylent is available in stores (Kruger, Walmart, Target, 7-Eleven…), their website and in Amazon. Soylent offers a meal very heavy in fats (above the recommended guidelines) but low in saturated fats, and free of cholesterol and trans-fats. I would consider, Soylent to be lacking in fiber, thus the low values. However, once again, Soylent is really low in added sugars when compared to Solimo. Thus, the Amazon shake is not a real Soylent alternative.
Solimo Nutritional Drink vs Plenny Shake
Plenny Shake is the king of budget meal replacements offering by Jimmyjoy. There are multiple iterations, including a caffeinated versions and a sport version, all which are the cheapest in the market. Good taste, OK nutrition and nice range of flavours to choose from.
|Allergen||Soy, Gluten||Soy, Milk|
*This is done using Recommended Intakes with values from Europe. This values are slightly different to the Daily Values used in the US (see sugars).
Both products offer 25% of the required micronutrients. Plenny Shake is also another product with really low protein.While some of the macros are similar, the diffence in sugars and fiber content is obvious.
Solimo Nutritional Drink vs Huel Powder
Huel is one of the best (if not the best) meal replacement brand. Every aspect of their nutrition is carefully researched and displayed in their website. It is also the brand that is growing the fastest. Quality nutrition at a very affordable price.
Huel offers extremely high protein meal replacements, with plenty of micronutrients and phytonutrients (compounds that while not essential help you, like antioxidants). Huel’s carbohydrates are from oats and are almost entirely complex carbohydrates (see how low sugars are), and also provide plenty of fiber.
Who is Solimo Nutritional Drink for?
Are you looking for a chocolate of vanilla shake, but you also want some extra vitamins and minerals? Then, Solimo Nutritional Drink is the right fit for you.
Otherwise, it can work very well as a pre- or post-workout meal when added to some extra protein. Solimo Nutritional Drink is not something you should drink regularly and more than once a day, particularly if you live a sedentary lifestyle.
Does it taste good?
Most reviewers in Amazon agree that both flavours taste fairly good, with a creamy consistency. This is not to be surprised after seeing the high sugar content, and probably tastes like a sweet sugary shake.
Will I get all the nutrients I need?
No. You will get a fair bit of micronutrients for the energy you are getting, but you will be short in protein and fiber. Most likely you will also fall short in essential fatty acids like omega-3.
I want to buy it. How much will it cost me?
It is currently available at Amazon at $28 per 28 cartoon box, and available for 5% and 15% subscription discounts.
You are telling me that it is perfect?
Perhaps it is the perfect milkshake, but by no means it the perfect meal replacement (or one at all). To the protein and fiber deficiencies we need to add the excessive sugar content. On top of that, the “complex carbohydrate” is maltodextrin, so this product will spike your blood sugar levels almost as quickly as just sugar would do.
Solimo Nutritional drink is not a meal replacement. Think about it as a milkshake with extra vitamins and minerals, and you will be closer to get an idea of what the real nutritional value of this product is. Not zero, but low. Thus, I would strongly suggest to limit the consumption of this product and consider it like a treat. If you are looking for US meal replacement I strongly suggest Huel, Plenny Shake, Saturo and Soylent.