I am a big advocate for the meal replacement drink, Soylent. It has made our life easier and less hectic. I am glad that I got to know what Soylent is and learned over time how convenient life can be with it.
However, it does not mean that Soylent is an ultimate meal replacement for everyone.
Some of my friends who tried Soylent told me that they just couldn’t continue drinking. For them, it was at best just a fun thing to drink for a short period of time.
In fact, I am currently also on a Soylent-free diet temporarily.
As much as Soylent gives us many benefits, I have to admit that it is not always welcome in all circumstances.
Soylent drink gained its popularity from Silicon Valley, where the time you spend is so valuable that they would prefer a meal replacement drink to keep the nutrition balanced while working days and nights.
Additionally, Soylent gives a benefit of simplifying life by reducing concerns on meal prep or eating out. Eating out too often also increases concerns about overtaking unhealthy food.
For these concerns, I do believe that Soylent can be a solution to simplify your life and worry less about your meals.
Nevertheless, Soylent cannot satisfy everyone nor can it become an ultimate solution.
There are many videos or blog posts out there claiming that “I drank Soylent for 30 days and nothing else.” Out of curiosity, we would like to know whether it is safe to drink only Soylent.
We wonder if Soylent is a perfect meal replacement.
So, is it?
I do believe so. I don’t recall myself drinking only Soylent for that long, but there were a few months where I only drank Soylent during the weekdays at least.
Was there any issue? Absolutely not! Whenever I want to eat out or make food, I would. The rest of the time, I would drink Soylent.
Knowing that I am taking balanced nutrition makes me feel accomplished. Having extra time to rest and/or work makes me feel like I have an efficient life.
However, one thing that you should not underestimate about the Soylent drink is that, whatever the nutrition fact on a Soylent bottle tells you, it is a highly PROCESSED FOOD – Well, a processed drink, technically.
Processed food is a food that is altered during preparation. Sometimes, they are chemically altered.
Wherever the ingredients came from, they eventually went through an alteration process in order to become a meal replacement drink.
Now, if you are already alerted by the thought of drinking a “heavily processed” Soylent, you know where I am going. You would probably not be so fond of this Soylent drink already.
Soylent is a highly processed food
you have been trying to eat more whole food and less processed food, Soylent is far from a wholesome diet you might be pursuing.
No matter what the nutrition fact tells you, if you have been avoiding processed food, you should avoid Soylent as well.
But not everyone avoids processed food. Let’s say that you like to eat healthily, but you may not limit your diet by restricting any processed food. You also might think this is too extreme.
I believe quite many of us actually are in this category.
In this case, you won’t have to worry too much. My husband also thinks like that. (Well, I do, too, except that I am currently going through severe arthritis pain and I want to make sure I am eating really, really healthy with almost only raw ingredients.)
When you hear or read about people drinking Soylent for months, most of them experience not much change or a difference. Some might experience weight loss depending on what their eating habits used to be before drinking Soylent.
For me, none of this news was astonishing. It’s hard to tell Soylent’s effect unless other variables are all controlled.
Also, one thing you might be missing from these reviews is, if they experienced any difference when they went back to their original diet.
Let me tell you what I experienced when I quit Soylent and started eating more whole food.
As Soylent drink has very specific calories, it was easy to track how many calories I took every day.
I usually drank 3 bottles of 400 kcal Soylent a day with no extra snacks or whatsoever. So, my daily intake would be in total 1,200 kcals/day.
As a petite size woman, this is still, of course, not enough.
Why did I not drink more then? Well… just because, and maybe, I was hoping that by limiting my intake, I could lose some weights.
Soylent and weight loss
For months where my 80% food source came from Soylent, I kept wondering why I wasn’t losing any weight. 1,200 kcals were far lower than the 2,000 kcals that an average woman should be taking every day.
I wasn’t gaining any weights or losing any either.
Why wasn’t I losing any weight?
The mystery I carried was finally solved one day when I quit Soylent.
I decided to quit Soylent as I was influenced by a few YouTubers who shared some wholesome recipes. I was simply inspired by the healthy wholesome food – nothing against Soylent.
I started eating brown rice and veggies daily instead of Soylent. What about nutrition balance? I didn’t really care much.
I am sure my new diet had more calories from carbs.
A week after I switched my diet to more raw ingredients, I was clearly seeing that I was losing weight.
After a couple of weeks, I was at least 3 pounds less than what I used to be (shh).
At first, I was confused.
I was eating more carbs and the total calories I took were also more than 1200 kcals that I would take from Soylent.
Apparently, Soylent is quick to digest than unprocessed whole foods. And our body doesn’t need much energy to digest.
My new diet has more wholesome food with only limited processed ingredients. So even if I was taking more calories, my body simply needed to consume more calories to digest the brown rice and veggies.
That’s how I was losing weight after changing the diet.
Since then, I don’t try to go on a 100% Soylent diet. I understand that it’s doable, but I would mix and match some other unprocessed, or, at least, with less processed food.
Is Soylent appropriate for you?
It depends on what you value the most.
- If you want the cost-efficient time-saving meal replacement, yes, you would love it.
- If you prefer meals with wholesome ingredients only, probably Soylent won’t give you pleasure or satisfaction.
If you plan on losing weight, well, now it becomes tricky.
Focus on why you want to control the food you eat. If your eating habit (i.e. eating out too many times) is the cause, moving to a Soylent diet will help you limit the calories you gain and therefore help you lose weight. If you are debating between wholesome lunch prep and Soylent drinks for your weight loss, however, you shouldn’t choose Soylent over the wholesome diet. So, if you are thinking of losing weight more sustainably, I wouldn’t really suggest drinking Soylent.
Yes, Soylent controls your calories and helps you have balanced nutrition, and yes, it helps you to have a simpler lifestyle if your every day tends to be so hectic.
However, if you are working toward a wholesome food diet, or if you plan on finding good ways to lose weight sustainably, Soylent wouldn’t be your first choice.
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