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Does Soylent Free Us From Food?

If you haven’t heard of Soylent yet, there’s a good chance you will in the near future. Soylent is a new food product backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest investors. The buzz around it has already resulted in a 2 to 3 month delay for orders. So what is it exactly? Calling it a meal replacement would be an understatement—it’s not meant to just replace individual meals, but to replace all meals. Soylent consists of a powder and an oil blend; when mixed together, they supposedly deliver all of the calories and nutrients one needs for the day (roughly 2,000 calories—50% from carbs, 20% from protein, and 30% from fat). The creator of Soylent, software engineer Rob Rhinehart, conceived of the idea after becoming increasingly frustrated by having to constantly source and prepare meals. He dreamed of a day when eating would be as simple as, well, blending a powder and an oil together. And while it’s tempting to think that his dream may have come true, there are a few concerns raised by only consuming Soylent and nothing else:

  • A balanced diet will supply hundreds, if not thousands, of known and unknown chemical compounds. Reducing one’s intake to the dozens of ingredients contained in Soylent would probably mean missing out on key nutrients that are necessary to sustain optimal health.
  • In fact, it appears that most of the calories from the powder come from just a few ingredients—maltodextrin, rice protein, and oat flour.
  • Soylent is not organic. It contains artificial flavors, sweeteners, and even some GMO ingredients.
  • As a concept, Soylent ignores the cultural and social significance of preparing and eating food. Humans have historically used food to bond, and to mark special occasions. It’s doubtful that a powder and oil blend could replace these important food-centric experiences.

Source: The Washington Post

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