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Will the Soylent Diet Be the End of Food As We Know It?

PureWow

Here at PureWow, we love our food. But a bunch of Silicon Valley tech geeks think we’re wasting our time—and our money. Enter: Soylent, a new high-calorie liquid gruel intended to replace every single one of your meals. Here’s the deal:

Wait, what the hell is this? It’s a powder and an oil that you mix together to make a 500-calorie, 16-ounce beverage, that you drink three times a day (or as often as you like). If that sounds complicated, fear not: The company is taking preorders for a new, pre-mixed version.

And what does it taste like? Descriptions range from “thin pancake batter” to “slightly better than the stuff you get before a colonoscopy.”

It sounds unappealing. Why has it gotten so much attention? Besides its ironic name, Soylent has a great origin story. The inventor, Rob Rhinehart, was a 22-year-old Silicon Valley app developer who resented spending so much money on food, so reversed-engineered a chemical slurry that would give him a whole day’s nutrition for the price of takeout (about $9 a day).

Is anybody actually subsisting on it? Mr. Rhinehart claims to have lived on it for 2 years and counting.

What does it do to your body? On the plus side, users report feeling energized. On the minus side, there’s lots of bloating and farting the first week.

What do doctors say? There’s some controversy about humans needing phytochemicals (nutritional stuff from plants) which Soylent doesn’t have. Other critics have noted it’s not that much different from liquid food supplements like Slimfast and Nutren.

So, what’s the verdict? No thanks. We’ll stick to chewing.

This article originally appeared as The New Food Substitute Everyone’s Talking About on PureWow.

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