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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Soylent Review: Is It Really Nutritious Enough?

Soylent Review: Is It Really Nutritious Enough?

HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
15 min read 839 Views 0 Reviews
clock 15 eye 839 comments 0

Interested in Soylent but wondering if it’s actually good for your health? Read my thoughts on this meal replacement drink to find out.

Soylent Review

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

Whether you have a busy work schedule or a hectic family life, living a healthy lifestyle can often take a back seat. It can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to eat, let alone shop for and cook nutritious meals.

If you’re one of those people who struggle to maintain a balanced diet, there are several meal replacement products on the market. The meal replacement range by Soylent is one such option, but is it really good for you? 

In this article, I will provide an in-depth examination of the nutritional value, taste, and overall experience of the Soylent meal replacement shake.

What Is Soylent?

Soylent logo
Our rating:
4.3
stars
  • Contains 39 essential vitamins and minerals
  • Complete meal on its own
  • Can aid in weight loss
Visit Soylent
Pros
  • checkmark
    Plant-based
  • checkmark
    Gluten-free
  • checkmark
    Variety of flavors
  • checkmark
    FDA-approved ingredients
Cons
  • checkmark
    May cause gastrointestinal side effects
  • checkmark
    Not suitable for those with a soy allergy

Soylent is an American brand that offers a wide range of meal replacement products, including protein powders, bars, and drinks. 

The products were originally developed as a result of an experiment when the company’s software engineer founders blended 35 different ingredients and consumed them exclusively for 30 days.

They claim that they experienced several benefits from this experiment, including improved health, reduced food costs, and less time spent preparing meals. 

According to Soylent, the idea behind their products is “maximum nutrition with minimal effort.” The company also claims that you can replace your regular food with their drinks and snacks because they’re designed for use as a “complete meal,” not a supplement.

At first glance, what I liked most about these products is that they’re made with vegan-friendly and gluten-free ingredients. This means that people following a green diet or those with gluten sensitivity can use them.

⭐ Rating

4.3
stars

🧪 Key ingredients

Plant-based protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals

🛒 Where to get it?

Soylent.com

❌ Not suitable for

People with soy allergies

🍎Calories per serving

400

💰Price

From $3.54 per meal/bottle

Soylent Product Range

Soylent offers 3 different types of products, including meal replacement powders, squared snack bars, and ready-to-use drinks. In my opinion, this diversity is a good thing because it provides people with different tastes and preferences with the flexibility to choose the desired product.

Drinks

Soylent’s Complete Meal range of ready-to-drink shakes comes in 14oz bottles, each containing 39 essential nutrients. These drinks are available in three different types (and multiple flavors), including meal replacement shakes, energy shakes, and protein shakes.

  • Meal replacement shakes: Available in chocolate, original (vanilla-like), mint chocolate, banana, vanilla, and strawberry flavors.
  • Energy shakes: Available in cafe mocha, cafe chai, and cafe latte flavors.
  • High protein shakes: Available in chocolate and vanilla flavors.

Powders

Along with the meal replacement drinks, Soylent also offers a powder that you can mix with water to create a “Complete Meal” in liquid form. You can also add it to a green smoothie to give it an extra boost of nutrients.

  • Available flavors: Cacao, original, strawberry, peanut butter, matcha, and caramel

Important note: As the company’s first released product, Soylent powder comes in a pouch that contains enough for 7 drinks and is available in original or cocoa flavors. There is also a powder tub option (12 meals).

Bars

If you’re looking for a quick on-the-go snack rather than a whole meal, Soylent Squared protein bars can be a good choice. Each bar contains just 100 calories yet packs in 6 grams of protein and only 1 gram of sugar.

  • Available flavors: Caramel, chocolate brownie, and peanut butter

Is Soylent Good for Weight Loss?

Soylent meal replacement products can actually help people lose weight by suppressing their appetite and restricting their calorie intake. However, it’s important to note that it shouldn’t be used as a weight-loss food option.

As a medical professional, I can tell you restricting your calories for a long time can lead to weight loss, but it’s not a suitable option for your overall well-being. That’s because it can lead to several issues like slow metabolism, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, reduced immunity, and even weak bones.

Additionally, it’s also not a sustainable option because it doesn’t work for long-term weight management. I’ve attended many people in my professional career who lost a whole lot of weight by restricting their calories but gained it all back once they went back to their regular diet pattern.

Therefore, I recommend not considering Soylent a weight loss food option because it can negatively affect your overall health. The best way to lose weight you can sustain in the long run is to combine nutritious food with a well-thought-out exercise plan.

If you find it difficult to plan out a healthy diet plan, you can consider using nutrition apps. They can help you create personalized plans that suit your unique needs.

What Does Soylent Taste Like?

The Soylent meal replacement shake sampler package we received at Health Reporter contained 12 bottles/meals with 6 different flavors (with two bottles of each flavor). I tried these meals with my colleagues, and here’s what I had to say about them.

  • Creamy Chocolate: It had a traditional chocolate taste, with a creamy and smooth texture.
Creamy Chocolate
Health Reporter image
  • Strawberry: For me, this was the best Soylent flavor, with excellent first impressions and an enjoyable aftertaste.
Soylent Strawberry
Health Reporter image
  • Vanilla: Although I have tried better vanilla flavors, it wasn’t bad at all. One of my colleagues found it to be the best.
Soylent Vanilla
Health Reporter image
  • Mint Chocolate: To be honest, it didn’t really feel like chocolate because the mint flavor was overwhelming. Sure, there were hints of cocoa, but the overall balance leaned heavily toward the mint aspect.
Soylent Mint Chocolate
Health Reporter image
  • Banana: I guess this just wasn’t for me. It was a bit too chalky and sweet. While my colleagues found this flavor to be decent, I couldn’t enjoy it.
Soylent Banana
Health Reporter image
  • Cafe Mocha: If you like coffee, you’ll enjoy Soylent’s Cafe Mocha flavor, an option that also gives you a jolt of caffeine. We have a diehard coffee fan in our office, and she liked it the most.
Soylent Cafe Mocha
Health Reporter image

So, I can say that my overall experience in terms of taste was pretty good, except for the banana flavor.

Soylent Creamy Chocolate Drink Nutrition Breakdown

Soylent claims that its drinks offer all of the essential macro and micronutrients that you need in a convenient and affordable format.

To determine whether or not this is true, take a look at the nutrition breakdown per 414ml (1 bottle) of Soylent Creamy Chocolate Drink below:

PropertiesAmounts per bottle (414ml)
Calories402kcal
Protein20g
Total fat24g
Carbohydrates36g
Fiber2.9g
Total sugars0.994g

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2462700/nutrients

What Is Soylent Made of?

Nutrition Facts
Health Reporter image

Each bottle of Soylent meal replacement shake contains a wide range of ingredients, offering 39 essential nutrients.

  • Soy
  • Filtered water
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Maltodextrin
  • High oleic sunflower oil
  • Allulose
  • Canola oil
  • Cellulose
  • Vitamin and mineral premix
  • Natural flavors
  • Soluble corn fiber
  • Soy lecithin
  • Salt
  • Gellan gum
  • Sucralose
  • Cocoa powder processed with alkali (in chocolate and cafe flavors)
  • Coffee powder, L-theanine, and caffeine (150mg) (in cafe flavors)

In my opinion, the most important ingredient in this list is vitamin and mineral premix. These nutrients are essential for several bodily functions, such as regulating hormones, strengthening bones, healing wounds, and fighting infections.

According to the official Soylent website, one bottle of their meal replacement shake allows you to consume 15–20% of the DRI (Daily Recommended Intake) of several minerals and vitamins. It means if you consume 5 of these bottles a day, you’ll get 100% DRI of these nutrients.

Another important nutrient in the formula that I would like to discuss is cellulose. It’s actually fiber that can promote your health in multiple ways. It encourages healthy digestion, prevents gut inflammation, and can reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart problems and gastric cancer.

Other ingredients, such as soluble corn fiber, canola oil, and high oleic sunflower oil, are also good for your health. According to research, soluble corn fiber supports gut health, lowers cholesterol, prevents cancer, and can even help you with weight loss.

Studies also show that canola oil and high oleic sunflower oil can reduce heart disease risks and blood LDL cholesterol levels.

While the addition of these ingredients is great, I’m concerned about some other parts as well. For example, the formula is soy-based, which means no one with soy allergies can consume it.

Additionally, it contains maltodextrin, which is a highly processed ingredient. While it’s generally considered safe for most people, it can lead to health issues in some individuals. Research shows that it can affect intestinal mucus release, increasing the risk of colitis and Crohn’s disease.

A Word From an MD

Expert image border Dr. Donika Vata
Donika Vata, MD
Medical advisor for Health Reporter

Meal replacement products are increasing in popularity because of their convenience. They undoubtedly make for a time-effective way to consume essential micro and macronutrients, which is appealing to people who are on the go.

While consuming these products occasionally is acceptable, you must not rely on them completely. It means that they shouldn’t be the only thing on your diet, as they can’t offer all the nutrients your body needs.

Additionally, eating the same thing again and again can increase the amount of certain nutrients in your body, which can affect your health negatively. For example, the Soylent meal replacements contain multiple additives, including maltodextrin, allulose, and lecithin, and excess consumption of these ingredients can be harmful to your health.

Therefore, if you’re interested in trying meal replacement drinks, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and pair it with a regular exercise routine.

What I Liked

Now that you understand what Soylent meal replacement shakes are made of, let me explain the potential benefits they offer.

#1 Convenient way to get vitamins and minerals

The meal replacement shakes by Soylent make for an excellent source of minerals and vitamins that you can consume on the go. Plus, it’s also possible to meet the RDI of these nutrients just by drinking these shakes.

As I’ve mentioned already, vitamins and minerals are important for your body to perform many essential functions. So, whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, you should consume a sufficient amount of them on a regular basis.

#2 Good source of protein

Each bottle of Soylent drink is packed with 20g of plant-based soy protein, which contains all 9 essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own.

These amino acids perform several important functions in the body, including regulating your sleep and appetite, forming muscle and skin tissues, and maintaining a healthy immune system.

They also help repair muscle tissues that may have been broken through exercise, which speeds up recovery time and helps muscles grow in size and strength.

So, I would say that Soylent can also be used as a supplement if you want to build muscle or improve your performance in the gym.

#3 Suitable for vegans

I’ve reviewed many meal replacements that contain proteins derived from animal sources, such as whey or casein. But that’s not the case with Soylent, as it is made from soy protein isolate, which is a 100% plant-based protein produced from soybeans. 

This means that all of their products can be consumed by those on a vegan diet.

#4 Can help with weight management

Switching out your usual breakfast or lunch for a Soylent drink can be useful if you’re trying to maintain your weight but don’t feel like eating. It can also be a good way to stay nourished for people who can’t eat solid food after some medical procedures.

Additionally, I think that Soylent drinks can also be a great choice for people who are trying to gain weight. That’s because it’s an extremely easy way to consume more calories, especially when you’re tired of eating.

Cons and Side Effects of Soylent

Soylent, pretty much like any other product, comes with its own set of cons, and I consider it my responsibility to explain them to my readers.

#1 Stomach-related issues

Soylent products are FDA-approved, which means that they’re generally considered safe for most adults. However, I’ve read some online reviews mentioning that they have caused certain stomach issues, such as bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

It’s not something that I or any of my colleagues experienced after testing the product. But I thought I should mention it since some users of Soylent have reported experiencing these issues.

This may be due to the drink’s low levels of insoluble fiber, which is an important macronutrient for encouraging frequent and healthy bowel movements. Therefore, you may benefit from adding a fiber supplement to your diet.

#2 Contains soy

Another disadvantage of Soylent meal replacements is that they contain soy, which means that people who are allergic to this ingredient cannot use these products. Although soy allergy is most common in infants and children, anyone can be affected.

#3 High caffeine in cafe flavor

One bottle of the Soylent meal replacement shake is marketed as a complete meal, and the one that comes in cafe flavor contains 150mg of caffeine. It means that even if you drink just 3 bottles a day, your daily caffeine intake will exceed what’s considered safe (400mg).

Plus, if you already drink coffee, then it can become very dangerous. So, you’ll need to be extra careful with the cafe flavor.

What Do Online Reviews Say About Soylent?

One of the most important steps of the review process that I follow is to read online reviews. Not only does it allow me to determine if the product is worth my time and money, but it also helps me build my expectations appropriately.

I did the same with Soylent, even though I already had the product in my hand. Here’s what I found.

It’s Really Good
Screenshot from Amazon.com
It’s Really Good
Screenshot from Amazon.com

There are three important points that Sonia mentioned, including “vegan-friendly product,” “meal replacement,” and “keeping the user satiated for a longer period.” I strongly agree with the first and last point but not completely with the second one.

The product can certainly work as a meal replacement from time to time, but you must not rely solely on it for a long time.

A life changer
Screenshot from Amazon.com
A life changer
Screenshot from Amazon.com

Paulino seems like another satisfied user of Soylent. I agree that these shakes are an excellent option to consume calories, vitamins, and minerals for those who can’t find time to eat solid food during the day.

Tastes Great, May Cause Bloating
Screenshot from Amazon.com
Tastes Great, May Cause Bloating
Screenshot from Amazon.com

This user is also satisfied with the product, but one issue they experienced is bloating. As they say, it’s also possible that the potential cause of it is inactivity since it can lead to bloating and an upset stomach.

How Much Does Soylent Cost?

Soylent meal replacement products are available in three different forms and come with the following price tags.

  • Meal replacement shakes: $3.54 to $4.17 per bottle (depending on the bundle)
  • Protein shakes: $2.85 to $3.25 per bottle (depending on the bundle)
  • Energy shakes: $4.00 per bottle
  • Squared snack bars: $26.50 per bar

Meal replacement powders:

  • $80.00 per bundle (of 35 meals)
  • $35.50 per tub (of 12 meals)
  • $10.00 per package (of 12 packets)

Important note: The company also offers a monthly subscription plan that allows you to save a couple of bucks.

Soylent vs. Alternatives

While Soylent is a very popular brand that offers meal replacement products, it’s not the only player in the market. There are many other options to choose from, and I’ve selected the best ones for you.

Comparison Winner: Soylent
4.3
stars
4.2
stars
4.1
stars
Brand
Soylent
Huel
Ka’chava
Pros

Plant-based

Gluten-free

Variety of flavors

Only costs $3.25 per bottle

FDA-approved

Good source of protein and B vitamins for a vegan diet

Contains no soy

Made from whole foods only

5 flavors to choose from

Subscription service available

Vegan and gluten-free

Cons

May cause gastrointestinal side effects

Not suitable for those with a soy allergy

High fiber content can cause stomach pains

More expensive than other meal replacement programs

Relatively expensive

May cause abdominal discomfort

Heavily processed ingredients

FAQs

What does Soylent taste like?

Soylent drinks have a sweet yet non-artificial flavor with a smooth and creamy texture. The range has flavors to suit everyone, from chocolate for those with a sweet tooth to latte for those who prefer something slightly more bitter.

How much caffeine is in Soylent Cafe Mocha?

Each bottle of Soylent Cafe Mocha comes with 150mg of caffeine. So, you need to be very careful with this product, especially if you’re a coffee lover, to make sure that you don’t consume more caffeine than what’s considered safe.

Can Soylent cause an upset stomach?

As a result of the sudden switch to a liquid diet, there have been some complaints from customers getting an upset stomach after consuming Soylent. This includes reports of diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and excessive gas.

Is Soylent healthy?

Due to the fact that Soylent contains all 39 essential nutrients needed by the body, it can be a healthy food option. The drinks are high in protein, healthy fats, and slow-release carbohydrates that help to keep you fuller for longer. However, you must not rely on these products completely for a long time.

Where to buy Soylent?

Soylent products can be purchased on their website, Amazon, and may be available in your local grocery store.

How I Tested

When it comes to reviewing meal replacement products, it’s important to thoroughly test them. To help you determine whether or not Soylent is worth the purchase, I tested it in terms of the following four factors.

Quality 9/10

There’s no doubt that Soylent offers top-end products made of high-quality ingredients. They come in a wide range of flavors (and bundles), and their packaging and presentation are also up to the mark. So, there’s not much to fault in this category.

Effectiveness 8/10

The effectiveness of Soylent products depends on the goals you are trying to achieve. If you’re looking for something that will keep you feeling full for a long time and can be easily consumed to save time, then you can definitely go with these products.

Whereas, if your goal is to lose weight that you can sustain, then Soylent products won’t be the best choice. Overall, the product checks every box in terms of what it’s made for, which is to offer a convenient way to consume micro and macronutrients.

Price 7/10

At around $4 per bottle, Soylent is a good value for money when compared to similar products in the meal replacement industry. The brand also offers promotions, where you can subscribe to receive a recurring delivery and save money.

However, I must mention that you will typically be paying more for Soylent products than if you were to purchase whole foods. Additionally, spending over $4 for a single bottle of a product that you’ll be consuming daily isn’t something that everyone can do.

Nonetheless, it’s a good option for people who are always on the go and can’t find enough time to eat solid food.

Brand reputation 9/10

Soylent has been serving the community with its meal replacement products since 2013. In a decade, it has established itself as a well-trusted and reputable brand. It has also won the award of the best meal replacement product in the USA for 2023.

Soylent
Health Reporter image

Soylent: The Final Verdict

Soylent powders, bars, and shakes make for a great choice for people who are always on the go or have busy daily schedules to consume essential nutrients conveniently. They can keep you feeling full for a long period, which can also support weight loss.

However, you should avoid Soylent’s products if you have a soy allergy. Plus, be aware that you may encounter side effects such as bloating and constipation.

Lastly, if your main purpose is to lose weight, then it’s not a meal replacement product that you need. You’ll need to opt for a specialized product designed for weight loss after consulting with your doctor.

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HR_author_photo_Edna
Written by Edna Skopljak, MD
Dr. Donika Vata
Fact checked by Donika Vata, MD
Last update: January 3, 2024
15 min read 839 Views 0 Reviews
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