Eating a balanced and healthy diet can be a challenge, especially for individuals who work from 9 to 5 and still have a lot on their plate. Plus, preparing healthy food is time-consuming since it takes a lot of planning and preparation. There’s also cooking skills and income to take note of, so this is where meal replacement drinks come in handy. One such drink is Soylent.
According to its manufacturers, Soylent provides you with all the nutrients your body needs in an easy and cheap formula. Rather than take all the time preparing a healthy meal, grab a Soylent meal replacement drink instead.
Every drink offers fiber, protein, carbs, and fat. Moreover, it contains a variety of micronutrients and approximately 400 calories. This meal replacement drink is available in three varieties, namely café, powder, and drink.
The drink version is pre-mixed and is around 14 ounces. It is meant to substitute one meal, and it comes in two flavors, cacao and original. On the other hand, the powder version is meant to be combined with water. One pouch can create up to five drinks. Lastly, the café is similar to the pre-mixed version. However, it contains L-carnitine and caffeine. Plus, it comes in three flavors, namely chai, vanilla, and coffiest.
Consuming at least five of these meal replacement drinks in a day results in at least 2,000 calories, 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vital micronutrients, and 15 grams of fiber.
What’s In It?
Given its nutritional content, what exactly makes up a Soylent drink? Below is a detailed look into the contents of this meal replacement drink.
1. Soy Protein
Protein that is purely derived from soybeans is referred to as soy protein isolate. In the food industry, soy protein is quite cheap. It not only improves the texture of food, but it is also a digestible protein source, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
Soy protein is one example of a complete protein, which means it provides all nine of the essential amino acids that the body requires to effectively function. For every 400-calories of this meal replacement drink, it offers 20 grams of protein.
Glucose and fructose are two sugars that makeup isomaltulose. While it is naturally sourced from honey, isomaltulose can be commercially produced from beet sugar. It is often a replacement for sucrose or table sugar. Unlike regular sugar that causes blood glucose levels to rise fast, isomaltulose does the opposite.
Soylent is creamier all thanks to a thickener referred to as maltodextrin. It is a food additive that is sourced from starchy food. These include wheat, rice, potato, and corn.
4. High Oleic Sunflower Oil
Much of the fat contained in this meal replacement drink is all thanks to high oleic sunflower oil. Unlike sunflower oil that is significantly packed in polyunsaturated fats, the high oleic version contains monounsaturated fat. This type of fat is free of trans fat, which is harmful.
5. Minerals and Vitamins
The required minerals and vitamins vital for one’s health are added to the meal replacement drink. Plus, it contains at least 20 percent of the recommended daily amount for each nutrient in every serving.
The nutritional content of this meal replacement drink varies per type. It is as follows.
The café version, as mentioned, contains L-theanine, L-carnitine, and caffeine. Given its L-theanine and caffeine content, the Soylent café increase focus and alertness.
In every 14-ounce, pre-made drink, it offers the following nutrients.
|Biotin: 20% of the RDI||Carbohydrates: 36 grams|
|Calories: 400||Calcium: 200 mg|
|Copper: 20% of the RDI||Chromium: 20% of the RDI|
|Chromium: 20% of the RDI||Iodine: 20% of the RDI|
|Fat: 21 grams||Riboflavin: 20% of the RDI|
|Fiber: 3 grams||Selenium: 20 percent of the RDI|
|Folic Acid: 20% of the RDI||Thiamine: 20% of the RDI|
|Magnesium: 20% of the RDI||Zinc: 20% of the RDI|
|Molybdenum: 20% of the RDI||Vitamin A: 20% of the RDI|
|Manganese: 20% of the RDI||Vitamin B6: 20% of the RDI|
|Niacin: 20% of the RDI||Vitamin B12: 20% of the RDI|
|Protein: 20 grams||Vitamin C: 20% of the RDI|
|Pantothenic Acid: 20% of the RDI||Vitamin D: 2 mcg|
|Potassium: 700 mg||Vitamin E: 20% of the RDI|
|Iron: 4 mg||Vitamin K: 20% of the RDI|
For every serving of the powder variant, it offers 400 calories, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat, and 5 grams of fiber. As for the micronutrient content, the powder variant offers the same amount as that of the pre-made version.
Bottom Line: Are Meal Replacements Healthy?
While it is meant to replace a meal, a meal replacement drink such as Soylent might not be the best solution in the long run. Healthy eating and maintaining weight loss goals require a long-term lifestyle change, which a meal replacement drink isn’t likely to solve. Plus, even if these drinks offer the recommended daily intake of vital nutrients, it is nothing compared to the nutrients found in whole foods.
Even if meal replacement drinks are deemed safe and well-tolerated by some individuals, it may also likely result in an allergic reaction, specifically for individuals allergic to soy. Other users have claimed to experience side effects such as bloating and excessive gas.
Also, some claim that due to the absence of insoluble fiber in the drink, it has led to a marked decrease in the frequency of bowel movement. However, take note that these are user feedbacks, which have yet to be studied in a clinical setting.
Further concerns have been raised regarding the lead content of the meal replacement drink. Nonetheless, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States claims that the levels of lead in the drink are deemed safe and is unlikely to cause a health hazard.