Soylent Review -Brand | The brand that started it all
Science for simpler, quicker and more affordable nutrition
Opinion | Products | Nutrition | FAQ | Extra Info
Soylent started as a huge success in kickstarter. It was soon bought by Rosa Labs, evolved through different iterations of Soylent Powder and released multiple products to various degrees of success. From the shameful Soylent Bar (taken out of market) to the Soylent Drink available in 8,000 7-Elevens. The good, the bad and the ugly. All in this in-depth Soylent review.
- Enviro Friendliness
- Product Range
We encourage you to try any of the Soylent meal replacement products; as they will be scientifically engineered to offer you all your nutrient needs, at an affordable price and a provide fully satisfactory customer experience, from start to end.
What We like
- Great Community that will answer all your questions.
- 400kcal will fit most people.
- Easy to buy, easy to consume.
Soylent was the pioneer in the industry and as such they have a big social media community, a very active reddit community for enthusiasts and beginners alike and a well documented story of sales and customer satisfaction. We find very easy to find answers to our questions in the community and we have discovered a few gems.
Similarly, we enjoyed navigating through their website, clean, easy to surf around and with the adequate info in the right places.
Nutritionally, we are not very fond of Soylent (too much fat for our liking), but the origin and nutritional balance of the fats is very healthy, high in oleic and very low in saturates. We find the serving size adequate for most people, 400kcal, which can be used for meals or snacks. For those who are nutrition enthusiasts, such as us, we appreciate that Soylent has readily available nutritional info and regular updates.
What We dislike
- Flavour range and product range is quite small.
- Fiber and omega-3 shortcomings.
- First in the market but yet to expand beyond the US.
- Reliability issues with their products.
The do offer quite a few different flavours for Soylent Drink (4) and Soylent Cafe (4), their two RTDs; plus they recently released a second flavour for their powder. However, when you compared this to Saturo (named European Soylent), company which started in 2017, already offering more than 8 flavours in their RTD range and 2 in Saturo powder; it just does not seem enough. Furtermore, Saturo also offers a Cocoa bar, which Soylent does not. I feel that the product offering should be bigger.
Nutritionally, we find Soylent too fat heavy (above the recommended limits) and too low in carbs and proteins. We believe that if keeping an active lifestyle and healthy diet, more of your energy needs should come from complex carbs, since they are the primary source of medium term energy.
Pioneer or not, we are sadly surprised to see that Soylent has not expanded its market beyond USA and Canada, and that many customers need to obtain it through resellers. Similarly, we find the subscription discount (5%) unsatisfactory (this applies to the liquid goods) and they do not offer bulk discounts. They have only recently expanded to the UK, but only through Amazon.
As a last thought, we are mildly concerned about the reliability issues that they have had with their products, having withdrawn a couple of their meal replacement goods.
- International shipping for the biggest brand out there is a MUST.
- Wider range of flavours.
- Bigger subscription savings and better customer loyalty rewards.
First and foremost, we would like to see international shipping from Soylent. Once everyone has the opportunity to enjoy their great products, it would be interesting to see a wider range of flavours (specially in the powder version).
Similarly, an expansion in their nutritional offers, i.e. products with higher carb and protein quantities, tailored to more active profiles would be something we look forward to. Not only that, but a meal replacement bar that will replace Soylent bar is well due. They have the funding to do so.
In order to round up for an excellent customer experience, we would look for bulk discounts or bigger subscription deductions, in order to reward customer fidelity.
What PRODUCTS does Soylent offer
Soylent has a varied range of products: liquid, powder and solid bars. The Soylent bar was, unfortunately, discontinued after reports of gastrointestinal problems after consumption, and we are unaware of when it will be released again. But do not be scared or thrown away! Soylent products have been extremely successful since 2014, and the formulas are continuously improved on regular basis.
The ready to drink version comes in three flavours, Cacao, Nectar and Original and offers 400 kcal per serving (414ml). They are very handy, well balanced and tasty on the go alternatives for those who prefer not to use the powder alternatives. The users really like the fruity flavour of Nectar, while other users praise the cacao version (reminds them of hot chocolate). If you do not fancy either, the original offers minimal, non-specific flavour that has surprised many.
For those who struggle to wake up and need some caffeine before being fully awake, such as ourselves, we recommend having a look to Soylent Cafe, nutritionally similar to Soylent Drink, but with a nice taste of coffee, and L-theanine boost (green tea constituent synergistic with caffeine to boost your mood and cognition).
Soylent powder comes in a single flavour with a suggested 400kcal per meal serving. It is the cheapest option in the range costing just over $1.5 per meal. We believe this makes it one of the best options if you’re looking for a cheap, but quality meal replacement.
All Soylent products aim to offer a fifth of your nutritional needs (based in 2,000kcal) per serving. Soylent’s nutritional profile is one high in fats (very low in saturates, though!) and relatively low in protein and carbs; 47/20/33 fat-protein-carb ratio on average (Soylent Drink). Soylent products also contain 20% of all necessary vitamins and minerals.
As mentioned, 47% of the energy provided by Soylent products come from fats. Unfortunately, this is ten points higher than the upper limit of the acceptable macronutrient range for fats set by the EFSA and USDA (35%). Does this mean is bad? Not really.
Their main fat sources is canola creamer, high in oleic content (this is, mostly monounsaturated fats) and extremely low in saturated fats (even having 5 servings would only provide you less than half the upper limit). Thus, you would be getting the necessary essential fatty acids and right balance of omega-3 and -6 fats, necessary for fundamental living functions.
While we would not recommend it for the general population, some high fat diets (ketogenic for instance) provide up to 75% of your daily energy from fats and have helped some people to lose weight and reduced risk of diabetes.
Soylent products are vegan friendly, and as such, their protein has plant origin. In this instance, they use soy protein to provide 20g per serving and 20% of the daily energy comes from protein. Is this enough protein? For the average population, with sedentary or moderate lifestyles, yes. If you fit a more active profile, like we do, we would recommend you to supplement your diet with high protein foods, such as meat, dairy, legumes or fish; or if not, use protein supplements (food > supplements, wherever possible).
While soy protein had been suggested to have negative effects on muscle growth and recovery, the latest studies suggest the opposite; soy protein contains a full amino acid profile and is now being considered as a top notch source.
The main sources of carbs are isomaltulose (sugar composed by glucose and fructose), maltodextrin and oat fiber (just for fiber). On average, 35% of the energy provided by Soylent meals comes from carbohydrates, ten points lower that the lowest amount recommended (45%).
However, even if the carb profile is low, Soylent drinks are still high on added sugar. This is due isomaltulose, a sugar with low glycemic index, because it takes longer for it to get broken down. On the contrary, maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate that has a high GI (85) and it is rapidly converted into glucose. This two carbohydrates in combination are becoming very popular in the industry (particularly RTD), because they provide less flavour than oats and a smoother texture.
Despite this, we would like to see more complex carbs in Soylent, to balance the nutritional profile and also increase the fiber content, which falls below that recommended by the health organizations.
Nevertheless, because of the high fat content, the overall GI of Soylent products is a little above 40 (considered medium-low).
The main issue with Soylent is that is really low in fiber, with only 3g per 400kcal serving. Most brands will offer more than double this amount (7-8g per 400kcal) on average (Huel, Saturo, Queal…). Fiber is often lacking in Western diets, even though it is benefitial for satiety, hunger management and bowel control.
Soylent is vegan friendly. The only allergens reported is Soy.
More about Soylent
Science, innovation and quality nutrition are the pillars of Soylent. They aim to develop a system, which will offer cheap and quality food to anyone. In order to do so, aside from further developing Soylent, they support local food banks and the World Food Program USA. A worthy task, indeed.
Soylent is a huge advocate for engineered food. In fact, they believe that scientific advancements and increased knowledge of nutrition can lead us to create the ideal complete food, which will enable us to substitute ‘real food’. As such, they are big believers of GMO. A point that perhaps is of controversy for some.
The company was founded after the CEO and founder, Rob Rhinehart, shared his 30-day experiment with his own food replacement. From there, they managed to develop the dream into reality thanks to crowdfunding and venture capitalist financial investments. Within a year, they achieved to ship $2.6 million worth of Soylent.
Ever since, there have been 9 versions of the powder product, the launch of ready-to-drink alternatives and a failed attempt to create a solid alternative (currently being re-developed). The drive to improve the product has been driven by scientific research, one of the pillars of the company.
While their will to improve their product and the rate at which they update it is commendable, we cannot say the same about their market expansion. Unlike much of the competition, sales are only limited to the USA and Canada, currently. Sadly, the European Soylent enthusiasts need to rely on resellers.
One of the strong points of Soylent is their community and social media interaction. Soylent’s reddit community is the biggest one in meal replacements and one of the most active ones. Definitely, a place worth visiting in case of doubts or if you want to share your experience. Their facebook and instagram are vibrant and very interesting, too.
Soylent offers a 30 day with 5% discount for all their products. We would like to see improvements in the subscription discounts for the ready-to-go products and more rewards for Soylent enthusiasts. 5% discount is the lowest offering in the market, below of what other big companies like Huel or Jimmyjoy or Queal offer.
Regarding the website, it is rather easy to navigate and quite user friendly. Any queries like cancelling your subscription, ordering products or looking extra information can be done through it, too.
How much Soylent a day?
Short answer 4-4.5 for average female, 5 for average male and 6 for active people.
Long answer: It will depend on your needs. If you are taller, heavier or a sporty person (or all the above); you will need more than 2,000kcal. Thus you will need more than 5 servings a day. For those who are not as active or women, we recommend somewhere between 1,600 and 1,800 kcal; so up to 4.5 servings.
Extra: If you meant if it safe to consume more than one Soylent serving a day, absolutely. But read the answer to the question below first.
Can I live off Soylent only?
Yes, there are many people who have reported using Soylent as their main food source (read reddit posts). However, almost everyone has said that the adaptation needs to be gradual to allow the body to adapt. If not, people have nausea, stomachal problems and poop problems.
Following with the topic. Funnily enough one of the topics that is most common in the forums. People claim that their flow and consistency changes. Often for the worst. The easiest way to fix it is extra fiber on your diet.
Soylent used to ship and sell their products in Canada. However, this was put into a halt when the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stated that Soylent failed to meet all the criteria required to be labelled as “meal replacement”. As for when it will be back, it is yet to be known. All we know that Canadian authorities are tough. You can read the updates here.
How do I start with Soylent?
It is as easy as clicking the Buy Now button below. Or pop up to the nearest 7-Eleven. Or use your Amazon Prime account to order some.
Jokes aside, honestly it is as easy as that. We would recommend doing a rough estimation of your daily calorie intake and needs (you can find tools for that here). Then swap the meal that you struggle the most with with a Soylent product. Breakfast? Then use Soylent Cafe. Lunch? Probably, Soylent Drink will be best. Dinner? Soylent Drink or Soylent Powder (for the budget).
There are some variety packs in Amazon, if you want to try the different flavours.