Soylent: Goodbye Food?


Photo from

Would you give up food for Soylent?

Melody Ra, Editor-In-Chief

In order to sustain life, the human body requires the two basic necessities: food and water. However, as the adage states, “moderation is key.” Living in a society encircled with the omnipresence of “junk foods,” the American diet dramatically exceeds its minimal requirements, making it difficult to pursue a healthy lifestyle. The lack of balance and healthy choices that encompass the American diet inevitably contribute to an unfortunate revelation: the United States is the most obese country in the world.
Now, what if there was one food that could combat America’s (or global) obesity? Could such a panacea exist? According to Robert Rhinehart, the creator of Soylent, this food alternative is the answer.
What is Soylent? The Food and Drugs Administration classifies is as a “food” to be utilized as the fundamental diet for people. In order to fulfill the daily nutritional requirements, the Soylent mixture is a combination of raw chemical components. More than thirty ingredients comprise the substance, but the majority contains oat flour and maltodextrin. Other ingredients include protein (from brown rice), and fatty acids (from canola and fish oils). Its supplements contain vitamin C, zinc, potassium, calcium, copper, and iodine. As for the flavor, Soylent is devoid of an acrid taste, for Rhinehart believes that “if it had an overly specific flavor, it would be grueling to eat as often as I do.”
One of Soylent’s benefits is its convenience and effortless preparation. According to a 2011 study, people devote 39 minutes a day eating, in addition to 34 minutes cooking, equating to about ten days solely dedicated to food per year. Rather than ado about the onus of food in their lives, people can obtain the body’s necessary nutrition all condensed into one food—Soylent. Preparing Soylent takes a couple of minutes, as one would only need to pour the sealed packages into a container, add water, and shake it until the mixture becomes a wholly brown.
Furthermore, Soylent is an economical substitute to food, costing less than $4 per serving, and less than $10 for an entire day’s worth of food.
Although Soylent may deem itself as a cure-all for the “onus” of food, it may also present doubt. Its recommended serving size based on age groups seem to overlook other factors such as the amount of activity in one’s life, whether it be active or sedentary. Obviously, different people have different nutritional requirements. Additionally, its whey protein would be rapidly replenished, overwhelming the kidneys. Since Soylent is consumed by drinking, obviously, one would not be chewing; consequently, one would not produce leptin (a hormone that resists obesity). Furthermore, its overall syntheticity would inhibit the proper absorption of the vital vitamins—minerals that should be derived from actual food rather than synthetic chemicals.
Now, is society willing to substitute real food from their diet with Soylent? Is society ready to commence such a task? Food is one of life’s natural joys, and deeming it an onus seems a bit presumptuous, for food is fuel. Real fuel, not chemically enhanced “fuel.” Humans are natural beings, not robots. So, why should it be fueled with chemicals? Furthermore, is Soylent not essentially enslaving its customers to its bland, monotonous, synthetic nature? In that sense, the Soylent slogan “free your body” may be somewhat ironic. Perhaps it is not the “onus” of food people should attempt to combat, but rather the ignorance pertaining to proper nutrition.