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Eliminating food from diet?

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I'm making this thread after reading these two blog posts:





Assuming the posts are accurate, then the person who wrote them, Rob Rhinehart, seems to have replaced food with a mixture he calls 'Soylent', with no known ill effects after one month.


I'd be wary of consuming Soylent sent to me by him, but I'm very interested in whether this or similar meal replacement (partial or, as in this case, total) is plausible and whether it has any probable decisive drawbacks. To a first approximation, I would expect this idea to be worth testing, but I don't know much about nutrition and biology, so I'm asking here as a sanity check before looking any further into making something like this for myself.


I'm mainly looking for thoughts (positive, negative, or otherwise) on this type of thing as a general approach, not so much on this guy's story or formula in particular.


Some of my own thoughts:


1) That meal replacements have in some cases been followed by fat loss and no knwn adverse effects and have been used as a substitute for a fraction of meals by some for convenience or nutrient density (e.g. athletes) does not mean that more-or-less total meal replacement is viable in other situations.


2) It might be a good idea to transition gradually to meal replacement.


3) It might be a good idea to keep some fractions of meals 'normal' to maintain digestive muscles/gut flora/production of digestive enzymes/etc.


Some (made up) examples of useful responses:


"This would lead to potentially fatal atrophy of digestive muscles as evidenced by cases X, Y, and Z."


"People have tried this before in cases X, Y, and Z. It has always backfired with the following ill effects that could not be remdied except by return to normal food: [list of ill effects with citation]."


"This looks like it would work in principle, but the following nutrients should be added because in cases X, Y, and Z where they were lacking in the diet, bad things happened."


Some (made up) examples of less useful responses:


"This particular guy's story is suspect/a scam/malicious/a social experiment so all meal replacement is bad."

"This particular guy overestimates the potential socioeconomic or biological benefits so all meal replacement is bad."

"This particular guy is correct that meal replacement will create paradise on Earth the moment it touches anyone's lips tries it so I approve of meal replacement."

"The idea of not eating food/whoever thought of that idea is weird so all meal replacement is bad."

"I like making/eating food so all meal replacement is bad."

"This hasn't been tried before so there are probably bad unknown unkowns (black swans) so no-one should try it."

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Yes, Soylent Green... :D :D

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I'll answer this with a simplistic answer of while being plausable, our understanding of nutrition is still fairly poor. Just look at the amount of conflicting evidence and studies all around the world. Add to that, that a lot of people's requirments actually vary quite widly for optimal function and performance (as an athlete that is what you are looking for), as well as the fact that certian minerals and vitamins counter act with one anotherm, and going long term on this stuff, as an athlete, will most likely not yield optimal results.

On the other hand this is interesting stuff and I hope some longer term studies are conducted on the people that do this long term.

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Joshua Naterman


Yes, Soylent Green... :D :D

Well played, sir, well played.

  • Upvote 1

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