We're Eating Nothing But Bottled Soylent For A Week

Image: Lifehacker

Over the next five days, myself and Kotaku editor Mark Serrels will be replacing all meals with bottled Aussielent; a liquid substance that contains all the nutrients and minerals needed to sustain life. This means no solid meals, no snacks and — horrifyingly — no coffee or porridge for a whole week. Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies...

Aussielent is a local version of the open source meal-replacement beverage "Soylent". Originally only available in powdered form, the company now offers ready-made, single-serve bottles for roughly $4 a pop (12 for $49).

Aussielent meets all the nutritional requirements for an average adult with one bottle roughly equaling a staple meal. A single serve contains 1989kJ of energy, 25g of protein, 40g of low-GI carbohydrates, 25% recommended daily intake (RDI) of 27 vitamins and minerals and the recommended intakes of omegas 3 & 6.

Here's a full breakdown of what's inside each bottle:

Aussielent Nutritional Information

Servings per package:1 Serving size:450ml Per Serve % RDI: (Carbs: 33%, Protein: 20%, Fat: 47%)

Content Av Qty Per Serve Av Qty Per 100ml
Energy 1989kJ 442kJ
Protein 25g 5.56g
Fat Total 23.7g 5.26g
- Saturated 0.2g 0.05g
Carbohydrate 40.5g 9.0g
- Sugars 11.2g 2.49g
Vitamins Per Serve % RDI * Av Qty Per Serve
Vitamin A 25% 225ug
Vitamin B6 25% 0.325mg
Vitamin B12 25% 0.6ug
Vitamin C 25% 11.25mg
Vitamin D 25% 1.25ug
Vitamin E 49% 7.3g
Vitamin K 25%^ 17.5ug
Thiamin 25% 0.3mg
Riboflavin 25%^ 0.325mg
Niacin 25% 4mg
Folate 25% 100ug
Biotin 25%^ 7.5mg
Pantothenic Acid 25%^ 1.5mg
Choline 25% 137.5mg
Minerals Per Serve % RDI * Av Qty Per Serve
Calcium 25% 250mg
Chromium 25%^ 8.75ug
Copper 34%^ 0.57mg
Iodine 25% 37.5mg
Iron 35% 2.78mg
Magnesium 25% 100mg
Manganese 25%^ 1.38mg
Molybdenum 25%^ 11.25mg
Phosphorus 25% 250mg
Potassium 25% 950mg
Folate 25% 100ug
Selenium 25%^ 17.5ug
Sodium 35% 312mg
Zinc 25% 3.5mg

While it isn’t recommended by health experts, it would be technically possible to live off nothing but four bottles of Aussielent per day — which is exactly what we're doing for the next week.

We'll be reporting back each day to let you know how we're faring, but to kick things off, here are our initial thoughts about the impending challenge:

Chris:

You're looking at my final caffeine injection for the next five days. This is my chief concern about this soylent challenge. On average, I put back away three cans of V and one cup of coffee per day. At noon, I'll be going cold turkey. Eep.

Otherwise, I'm not particularly fussed about the whole "no solid food" thing: As documented elsewhere on Lifehacker, I generally skip breakfast on weekdays and sometimes don't eat anything at all until well after 2pm. Hunger pangs have never really bothered me.

With that said, I'm definitely going to miss my late afternoon snacks. Like an idiot, I purchased my usual selection of sugar-and-sodium laden goodies on Friday for the week ahead, completely forgetting about this stupid challenge. They're sitting on my desk right now, taunting me. Somehow, I suspect a bottle of lightly flavoured "liquid nutrition" isn't going to cut it.

Mark:

I'm actually a little bit nervous about this.

Which is weird, because I've done way worse . I've done week-long juice diets, where one endures an awkward, aching emptiness in your stomach. I've done insane sleep deprivation experiments that literally drove me to hallucinations. Soylent should be a piece of piss compared to those.

But I just don't know about this. I have reservations. Serious reservations.

The first is my own relationship to food. I'm super into rock climbing, a sport that relies heavily to strength-to-weight ratio. Because of that I'm almost always trying to eat at a calorie deficit. I'm almost always trying to eat less carbs, eat a bit more protein. I'm always experimenting with my diet.

Here's a list of what I generally do and don't eat.

  • I don't eat any dairy. At all. No milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter.
  • I don't eat processed sugar at all, although I will use honey.
  • Porridge in the morning in my main source of carbs. I don't eat bread or pasta.
  • I eat a shit ton of eggs, lean chicken and turkey.
  • I eat loads of veggies: carrots, zucchini, celery, onions, etc.

I usually sit at around 65-66kgs, which is my prime climbing weight. After a three-week holiday where I totally cut loose and went off the rails, I'm currently sitting at 68kgs. This is a place I don't want to be and I'm in the process of getting back into climbing shape. This involves a lot of exercise and a lot of watching what I eat.

Will soylent provide my body with the nutrients it needs? I kind of doubt it. Will it hold me back? Will I be getting enough protein? I have a lot of questions.

So yes — again — I'm a little bit nervous about this.


Comments

    All the best. My early predictions....Mark will do just fine. And Chris, condolences to your wife.
    Seriously caffeine withdraws, I've heard aren't awesome but sounds like you will be getting a great dose of nutritional requirements which your body lacks during the day.

    My work mate and I are doing the same thing, well not the pre-bottled ones but the bags. My mate is on the chocolate and I am on the vegan.

    My breakfast one kept me full until midday and I have just finished my first lunch one. Next will be a top up at 2:30.

    Last edited 08/08/16 2:12 pm

    Hi - Mark - I would be nervous too :)

    There was an excellent ABC catalyst episode where the presenter went on a limited diet too.
    Main side effects were headaches and some dizziness. Of course its not the same diet, but it could be in the same ballpark, so may be of interest.
    Story in full at : http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4485468.htm

    In summary (as quoted from the ABC's web page given above) the diet was similar to;
    ........ the description of the fasting mimicking diet in their published journal paper lists a composition of "at least 9-10% proteins, 34-47% carbohydrates (plant based) and 44-56% fats (no animal fats). The amount of calories in total was around 700 - 800 per day. Unlimited herbal teas - no dairy, advised to drink lots of water.

      That sounds like a keto diet, designed to force your body to metabolize fat stores by deliberately loading it with protein and fat and very low calories. Makes you feel like crap for a week or two and you have to stick to it rigidly because a single meal off it will ruin the ketosis and you have to suffer through that initial period again.

      The big difference I can see between that and the Soylent thing that Mark & Chris are doing is the calories. 2000kj is around 450 kCal, so if they're drinking four a day you're talking 1800 kCal which is more than double the caloric intake in the story you're linking.

    I bet by the third day both of you will be beyond regular as in no.2s.

    Here’s a full breakdown of what’s inside each bottle:But what percentage is people?

    There's no fibre in those things? And you're cutting out caffeine. Have fun not pooping!

      It doesn't say above but there is about 50% of your RDI of fiber in the bottle and about 95% of fiber in the bags over the whole day.

      There are links to the nutritional information here: http://aussiesoylent.com.au/faq/

    Please Chris, Mark… a daily blog would be great :-)

    Do you drink 3 or 4 of these each day?

      While it isn’t recommended by health experts, it would be technically possible to live off nothing but four bottles of Aussielent per day — which is exactly what we’re doing for the next week.

    I'm surprised one bottle is almost 2000kj. I guess it's logical given these are meal replacements, but don't most people drink these to lose a bit of weight?

      The original intent of soylent was something that you could consume without needing to put time into food preparation. It's intended to be energy neutral overall, so not exactly intended for weight loss (although if you were originally on a diet >8000 kj you would likely lose some weight over time

    I can't wait to see how this goes for you. I have had 2 boxes now and have just ordered 2 more. The powder is pretty crap and always end up "gritty" but the bottles are great. Smooth.
    I wouldn't use it as a complete replacement for long periods but it's good for when I miss a meal.. I see it more as a supplement but have used it once or twice for both breakfast and lunch on the same day.
    I am seriously regular when I am on this stuff.
    I might try adding honey or vanilla essence but I am pretty okay with its flavour. It is like Up and Go without the flavouring.
    Good luck!

    I did this for a week. Used light Milk with it instead of water. Farts were terrible. Didnt feel any different.

    Yikes. Good luck, fellas! I live vicariously through your experimentative exploits.

    Will either of you talk about this on Static? I'm especially interested to hear Mark describe how he goes.

    Last edited 09/08/16 9:15 am

    Good news Chris, there's now a Syolent with Coffee - Coffiest.

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