Soylent Drink Review | Is the Old King still ruling the market?

The original meal replacement is still one of the most known and readily available.

At a glance | Nutrition | Conclusion | Verdict

Soylent Drink is a great option to substitute one of your meals with. Soylent has evolved during the past 5 years to perfect its formula; from the homemade mix to the kickstarter hit drink and through the various iterations to reach this point. The improvements have certainly been noticeable. While the product is still not perfect, if you are in a hurry or you are struggling to eat one of your meals or you need a healthy snack; grab one at your local store and give it a try. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

If you are browsing from EU, Soylent Drink is only available in the UK. Check out Saturo instead. Full comparison included in the review.

Soylent Drink at a glance

Flavours: Original, Cacao, Strawberry and Vanilla.

Ingredients include: Filtered Water, Maltodextrin, Soy Protein Isolate, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Isomaltulose, Canola Oil, Modified Food Starch, Oat Fiber, Isomaltooligosaccharide, Soy Lecithin, Natural and Artificial Flavours, Salt, Gellan Gum, Sucralose and Vitamin & Mineral Premix: Potassium Chloride, Magnesium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Dipotassium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dl-alpha-tocopheryl Acetate, Niacinamide, Ferrous Bisglycinate Chelate, Zinc Oxide D-calcium Pantothenate, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin a Palmitate, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Manganese Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Folic Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin K1, Cyanocobalamin, Ergocalciferol.

Nutritional breakdown

Macronutrients per serving (g)
  • Protein(g)
  • Carbs(g)
  • Fiber(g)
  • Fats(g)
% of Energy from each macronutrient
Carbs 35%
Prot 19%
Fats 46%
% of Recommended Intake per serving
  • RI based on 2,000kcal
  • RI based on 2,500kcal

Nutrition Overview

Soylent Drink is a vegan ready to drink shake that provides with a fifth of the daily required nutrients. It is fairly high in fats and low in carbohydrates. It is noteworthy that Soylent supports genetically modified food, and thus, they may use them as prime ingrediets.

Soylent Drink Nutrition
Soylent Drink Original nutrition label. The nutrients change slightly with each variation.For the nutrition labels of all check here.

Energy

As mentioned above, most of the energy comes from fats (46%). Only 35% of the total calories come for carbohydrates. This figure is 10 points less than the lowest value established in many nutritional guidelines (USDA and EFSA).
Low carbohydrate values are usually a trademark of ketogenic diets, but Soylent’s ready-to-drink product has too many to allow the body enteric a ketogenic state. While most of the consumers have no problems with feeling fatigued or depleted, it could be a point of concern for some.

Carbs

Soylent’s already made shake provides with 36g of carbs per serving (180g a day) and 9g of added sugars. The latter is quite curious, since the same serving of Soylent Powder only provides with 3g of sugar. Anyhow, both are low values according to the recommended intakes (at least 260g of carbs and up to 90g of sugar a day).

The main carbohydrate sources are maltodextrin and isomaltulose. Soylent glycemic index is under 50. Probably, helped by the fact that the drink is almost 50% fats (which slows down the digestive process). Usually, this is synonym of slower energy relase and smaller blood glucose fluctuations.

What we find disappointing, and so have many users, is the amount of fiber in Soylent drink. While the oppinions are mixed in the community, we do find that it provides less than many of the counterparts and might cause problems. The solution could be to supplement your diet with high fiber snacks or psyllium husk capsules.

Fats

The main source of fats is sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is usually around 59% linoleic acid, 30% oleic acid, 6% stearic an 5% palmitic. However, many GMO strains have been engineered where the proportions of each are changed and some of the native vitamins are stripped away (except Vit E usually).

Soylent uses a high-oleic version; rich in monounsaturated fats. An issue with sunflower oil is the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. Usually a ratio closer to 1 is recommended. Omega-6 is up to 70 times more common in sunflower oil and fairly deficient in omega-3. Thus, we would recommend supplementing your omega-3 intake by eating foods rich in omega-3 (salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts).

On the plus side, Soylent Drink’s mix contains no trans-fats, or hydrogenated fatty acids. Also contains some canola oil, which is rich in omega-3s.

Protein

As a vegan meal replacement, Soylent Drink faces the same issues as many others: how to replace whey protein, the king of protein sources. Soylent’s replacement of choice is soy protein isolate.

Soy protein isolate is a highly purified version of soy protein, with up to 90% protein content. It also contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesis on its own. However, the branched-amino acid profile might be inferior to that of whey for people looking to build muscle (less Leucine and Lysine). We find this to be a small nuisance, non-important for the majority of the population.

Allergens

This product has Soy. Unfortunately, all Soylent products have the same allergens. Look at other brands (e.g. Huel) if you are looking for alternatives.

Conclusion

Who is Soylent Drink for?

Anyone who is willing to pay extra for the comodity of just having to open a bottle and no more to enjoy a meal. We think it is a great product that can substitute many (if all) meals in your diet, but see the powder version a better bang for the buck. If this does not worry you, by all means Soylent Drink is a tasty and as convenient as it can get. Hell, you can even buy them in many 7-Eleven stores! It is without a doubt the most easy access meal replacement in the US.
If you live outside the US you will have to look for other alternatives, like Mana, Huel, Saturo, Feed…

Does it taste good?

Most people like it. The Nectar version is often one of the most praised, but the cacao one is pretty good too. I am a suc*er for chocolate. So you know my choice.

Will I get all the nutrients I need?

Yes. In fact, there are many Soylent consumers that have fully (or almost fully) switch their diet to Soylent products. For us, that is a bit excessive. If you are planning on doing so, please do your blood test before and a month after. However, we see little nutritional concerns, aside from fiber and omega-3 which you might need some extra of.

I want to buy it. How much will it cost me?

This is one of the downsides. You need to pay extra for the comodity and it cost $3.25/bottle without the subscription and $3.09/bottle with it (5% off). In stores, it can go as high as $5. So if you are planning on living of them, we recommed buying it of Soylent. They can be stored at room temperature.

Wait a moment, is it perfect?

No, it is not. The texture and the flavour is not for everyone. Furthermore, people who have gone in full Soylent diets have reported problems adapting. The general solution for this is a more steady transition. We would also like a higher omega-3 quantities and perhaps an alternative to Soy protein, such as, pea protein. It is also more expensive than many of its competitors.
And it is not available outside of the US. Sad times for the Europeans, Aussies, New Zeelanders and the rest.

Verdict

Soylent Drink is one of the most popular (vegan) meal replacements, not only because it was the first, but also because what it offers. While we think it has fallen behind in some aspects like flavour and perhaps nutrition diversity, we cannot think of an easier shake to get our hands on. A must try if you are a meal replacement connoisseur.

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