Soylent is a shake mix developed by some tech guys and initially funded via a Kickstarter program. After some difficulties and delays, the company finally seems up and running in a such a way that the formula both works, and can now be ordered without weeks of delay. I went ahead and tried out Soylent and was pleasantly surprised. Now, I’m using Soylent for losing weight, even though, strictly speaking, that isn’t really what it is about.
What Is Soylent?
Using Soylent for weight loss is pretty easy because of how the product was developed and shipped. First off, Soylent is a joke name based upon the 1960s Charlton Heston movie titled, Soylent Green. If you are into old sci-fi, give it a watch. If not, read a summary that includes the ending, and you’re in on the joke.
Soylent is a shake mix that seeks to replace regular meals. As I write this, the company is on version 1.4 of Soylent. The main improvement is that earlier versions of Soylent required you to mix in some liquid oil. This was a mess, and a pain. As of version 1.4, the bottles of oil are no longer necessary. It’s all incorporated instead. Each bag of mix contains enough for four 500 calorie shakes. That works out to 2,000 calories per day, which is a number from the FDA.
Right about now, is when someone complains about the idea of Soylent replacing food. They’ll say something about micro-nutrients, or macrobiotics, or something about culture and human nature. Here is the deal. If you are typically eating a hand roasted kale and quinoa salad that you harvested with your 88-year old grandmother from a garden tended by nine generations of your family, then by all means, keep doing that. If, like me, you frequently look up and notice it’s already 1:30 pm and if you don’t eat you’re going to get a headache and feel crappy, but have neither the time nor desire to make anything, so you microwave the first can or frozen meal you find, then Soylent isn’t going to give you any less nutrition or human significance.
How To Lose Weight With Soylent
Soylent can make losing weight easy.
Normally, you would have to check the label for how many calories are in that bagel. Then, you have to remember to count the butter. Even if you do remember to count the butter, you need to make sure you got the right portion of butter to get the number right. Then, all through the day, you have to remember things like cream and sugar, a slightly bigger portion of chicken breast, and so on. Even if you get the number of calories right, you still might not lose weight if you aren’t getting enough protein, or the right kind of fat, and so on. Getting all of your food to add up to the right amount of nutrition, and kind of nutrition, while also getting the calories right, can be hard.
So, the genius about losing weight with Soylent is that it finally can eliminate all of the little mistakes you make that normally sabotage diets. The Atkins diet worked for so many people for the same reason. Soylent may be the first practical way to get pretty much exactly 1,500 calories per day. You either make one full pitcher and drink 3/4 of it each day, or you use a scoop and make your shakes 500 calories at a time. That’s it.
Now, the bad news is that Soylent is not magic. It won’t make you crave hot wings any less. If won’t make you fuller, or less hungry at bedtime (if that happens to you). But, the difference is that if you have the willpower, you have a guaranteed way to make sure you are getting the right numbers. With most diets, even if you have the willpower, you might still accidentally be getting it wrong.
Tips for Dieting With Soylent
Dieting and losing weight sucks, even with Soylent. These tips can make it less painful.
- Drink water – Lots of it. Seriously, you get a lot of water from the food you eat. You aren’t eating food anymore, so you’ll need to replace that water. Drinking water also helps you feel fuller.
- Flavors – Soylent isn’t flavored. That’s good. Flavor usually adds calories, or artificial sweeteners. Your mouth will get bored. Use flavored drinks without calories. (There is some evidence that diet sodas are problematic, so limit those when you can.) Coffee (black only) and tea (no added sweeteners) are good choices. Load up on caffeine free herbal teas like the Celestial Seasonings ones so that you can drink them in the evening when your snacking desires hit.
- Space – Depending upon who you are, 1,500 calories might be too few. Good. Keep it that way, then you have a little space for a beer, or one Hersey’s kiss, or whatever.
- Reality – You aren’t going to eat nothing but shakes for 6 weeks. (Well, maybe you can. If so, go for it.) Throw in a meal every now and then. Make it a good one. There are plenty of healthy cookbooks and recipes out there. Having a good, tasty meal, every few days is better than trying to get back into The Matrix because you miss the taste of food so much.
Finally, a word of caution. Soylent probably isn’t the way to lose weight if you weight 380 lbs. Soylent is really more for the 10 or 20 pound crowd. Always check with your doctor if anything seems out of sorts.
Also, realize that nothing works for everyone. For some reason, Soylent does a number on my wife’s digestive system, so she can’t really drink it. If that happens to you, try some probiotics. But, the reality is, if you are kind of a sensitive eater in the first place, you might be sensitive to this too.