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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Opinion

New product Soylent promises healthy living minus hassle of eating


There is a new crowd-funded product on the market. It’s called Soylent, and it promises to solve all of your health problems.

The powdered health drink mix is a vitamin concoction that claims to possess everything humans need nutritionally. The company aims to eliminate the need for eating food, which it deems “a hassle.”

Soylent is also purported to be cheaper than eating food, but at $65 for a one-week supply it seems comparable to an average grocery trip.

Soylent may seem like an odd name choice considering the classic Charlton Heston science fiction movie “Soylent Green,” but Soylent is definitely not made of people. The full ingredient breakdown includes an extensive mix of vitamins, minerals and proteins. The powder is combined with water at mealtimes and creates a virtually tasteless but nutritionally complete meal.

However, if the benefits that Soylent promises are true, it may be well worth the pain of giving up cheese forever. Its creators prescribe Soylent to “anyone who struggles with allergies, heartburn, acid reflux or digestion, has trouble controlling weight or cholesterol, or simply doesn’t have the means to eat well.”

The project recently obtained $1 million in funding from a Kickstarter-like site, but orders won’t ship until December. With a week’s supply being the minimum order, it’s a hefty investment to blindly make. Nobody but the company’s beta-testers have even seen this stuff. Their reviews, of course, are glowing, but not unlike those you would read on the website of any diet pill on the market.

That being said, one note on Soylent’s website can’t be claimed by any diet pill: “Soylent will be produced in an NSF-approved facility with FDA-approved components with strict regulatory controls ensuring safety.” Any sort of FDA approval on a non-prescription nutritional supplement is essentially unheard of. Perhaps Soylent is the real deal, after all.

Only time will tell. Thus far, 450,000 meals have been pre-ordered, and the company is already struggling to meet demand. It’s surprising that so many people would be willing to forgo food altogether, but in today’s health-conscious society, consumers will buy into anything with less calories than the alternative.

As a commodity so nutrient-rich, relatively cost-effective and essentially non-perishable, Soylent may have more of a shot at solving world hunger than becoming the sustenance choice of everyday people. Think of the possibilities in war-torn countries, and how much more effective than the spoils of a canned food drive Soylent could be against malnutrition.

Though not without its allure, Soylent has a way to go before converting the masses.

Opinion columnist Katie Wian is an English junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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