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2014 In Review: Best Food and Drink Inventions That Prove The Future is Here

2014 In Review: Best Food and Drink Inventions That Prove The Future is Here


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The future of how we eat and drink is changing. After all, to satiate world hunger, we must increase our food production by 70 percent through the next four decades, so we have to keep up with demands. Increasingly, we rely on artificial intelligence technology like the electronic tongue, which can taste the quality of the food before you do, or 3D printers that create unique new foods at the push of a button. At some point you may not even have to eat food anymore, if the guy who invented Soylent, a beige milkshake with all the nutrients you need for one day, gets his way.

The Daily Meal has rounded up some of the coolest and most useful innovations in the food technology sphere, some of which you can buy right now, and others of which are still being developed in labs.

Levitating Cocktails: “A British scientist has invented a machine called the Levitron, which is capable of creating floating, glassless cocktails that you can sip on mid-air. The Levitron uses ultrasonic sound waves to create a small levitating field that suspends tiny drops of alcohol, which drinkers can imbibe on while the droplets float around in front of you.”

IBM’s Watson Has Turned Chef: Watson is now a master chef after “learning” thousands of recipes from Bon Appétit, and creating endless unique recipes via its new Chef Watson smartphone app. Chef Watson asks you for ingredients you would like to use, the type of dish you would like to make, and the styles you would like to try. Then it will pull up a list of 100 recipes for you, listed in order from classic to experimental with step-by-step instructions.”

A Drinkable Book: An innovative device from the nonprofit organization Water is Life, that looks (and even reads) like a regular book that details the importance of clean water. But this book also acts as a water filtration system, purifying the water in many places like undeveloped countries in Asia and Africa, where the water can be toxic.”

Color-Changing and Glow in the Dark Ice Cream: These are two separate inventions, but they both take ice cream way beyond cookies and cream. Scientist Michael Linares has created an ice cream he called Xamaleón, which changes in color from lavender to magenta, when you lick it. That’s not the only bright idea in ice cream. British food inventor Charlie Henry has now invented the world’s first glow in the dark ice cream, which is made with synthetically-engineered jellyfish luminescence.”

Soylent Food Alternative: This Soylent is not made from people; it’s a beige-colored, milkshake-like food substitute that supposedly contains all of the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals that any human needs to survive… Inventor Rob Rhinehart, over the course of years, has tinkered with the ingredients, and now lives almost entirely off of the food substitute.

Electronic Tongue: Researchers are developing a device that can electronically “taste” or scan food and water for bacterial contamination and toxicity. The electronic tongue works in much the same way as a human or animal tongue, with tiny sensors that detect substances in a sample and send signals to a computer for processing just as taste buds sense and transmit flavor messages to the brain.

3d-Printed Food: The idea of 3D printers has been kicking around for quite a while, but finally, 3D-printed food is being close to being a commercial reality. Put in the necessary ingredients and out pops a meal, made in whatever form or shape you want. One of the most innovative 3D-printed food ideas is softer food for the elderly: “The Smoothfood concept uses new 3-D printer technology called seneoPro that prints out food with the shape and flavor of regular food, but is soft and can be swallowed without chewing.”


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Soylent: 'Future of Food' or Nutritionist's Nightmare?

This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:

It's a product that seems unassuming enough: a thick, beige, bland liquid reminiscent of pancake batter. But, in fact, the aspirations of Soylent -- a product billed as a complete meal replacement -- befit its birthplace, the Bay Area of San Francisco, home to countless tech startups founded to conquer the world.

But don't expect the stuff to win over many nutritionists any time soon.

"I'm all about enjoyment and fun, and drinking sludge just doesn't fit in," said Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, in an email. "We have teeth, people. Let's use them and not drink all of our nutrition."

Ayoob was one of several nutritionists who spoke with MedPage Today about Soylent and what it means for human health. They expressed bafflement that people would want to go without normal food and reiterated that nutritional science is limited by many unknowns.

Created by engineer and entrepreneur Rob Rhinehart, Soylent started shipping earlier this year after a period of experimentation with help from a committed do-it-yourself group of followers. So as to dispel any doubt about the intent of Soylent, visitors to the company's website are greeted with the words "What if you never had to worry about food again?"

Its name comes from a 1973 sci-fi film starring Charlton Heston, Soylent Green, in which humanity subsists on artificial food pills that (spoiler alert) turn out to be made from human flesh -- if nothing else, suggesting that Rhinehart is no ordinary marketer.

Rhinehart says the Soylent formula (which, for the record, includes no human flesh) fulfills all human nutritional requirements, such that a person can live on it exclusively. Though some do -- Rhinehart himself ate nothing but Soylent for 5 months -- many use it as a supplement along with some normal food. And the DIY ethos still prevails -- there are more than 2,500 recipes posted by users to make similar products.

Why? In Rhinehart's case, it was because he didn't like anything about regular food, be it haricots verts or Hot Pockets.

"In my own life I resented the time, money, and effort the purchase, preparation, consumption, and clean-up of food was consuming," he said in a popular post last year "How I Stopped Eating Food." Soylent has since garnered reviews and philosophical analyses on technology websites including Mashable, Ars Technica, and The Verge.

The taste of Soylent has been described as similar to a mild pancake batter or Cream of Wheat, a little sweet and a little salty. The goal was to make it as bland and inoffensive as possible.

But for many nutritionists, taste should be a central part of eating.

Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, is a professor of nutrition at New York University and author of the popular blog Food Politics. "Food is one of life's great pleasures," she said in an email to MedPage Today. "The only explanation I can think of for trying to survive on what is basically a hospital enteral supplement is that Soylent's inventor is not a foodie."

"When it comes to good health, nothing is going to beat mother nature," said Joan Blake, RD, from Boston University. "You should never lose sight of the fact that good food should be delicious and good for your long-term health."

"Food is pleasurable. I favor loving food that loves us back -- getting pleasure from both good food and good health," said David Katz, MD, MPH at the Yale University School of Medicine. "Soylent is about sustenance and survival, not the experience of eating."

The nutritionists also pointed out that there's much we don't know about nutrition, and this could prove detrimental when consuming only Soylent.

Tom Brenna, PhD, a professor of nutrition at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., declined to comment on Soylent in particular -- "I get asked about a lot of nutrition fads that come and go" -- but did respond in general terms. Most of our understanding of nutritional deficiencies was worked out with animal studies in the first part of the 20th century, he said.

"But human interventional studies (e.g., giving a particular diet) intended to test whether humans actually live longer on a particular diet require multiple human lifetimes to conduct," he said in an email.

"Any particular formula that maintains humans without deficiency symptoms maybe well be healthful, but the evidence for long-term safety and efficacy over many generations is not there, so it requires each person's best judgment with imperfect data."

Blake, from Boston University, said it's difficult to come up with a solution that contains all of our nutritional needs.

"We don't have a thorough understanding of how these nutrients and plants and food items interact with one another," she said.

"There's no particular reason why a compound couldn't include everything essential for human sustenance," said Katz at Yale University. "The only problem is we may not yet know what that inventory is in its entirety."

"This formula contains what we know we need but not what we might need and don't know how to measure or quantify yet," said Ayoob, at Albert Einstein. "There are hundreds of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, for example, that we're still learning about."

Ayoob also said there are other products that act as a meal replacement.

"It appears to meet the average person's nutrient needs, but that's all. There are many available nutraceutical drinks that already do that," he said.

Karl Nadolsky, DO, an endocrinology fellow at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., said a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition might not be best.

"He based these on the very basic Institute of Medicine recommendations, and a lot of those are really just based on minimal requirements, so it doesn't take any individualization or personal context into account," he said. Nadolsky is also part of Leaner Living, which sells protein shakes and meal replacements.

"Basically it's not that far off from the concept of meal replacements, except it's very high in the form of refined carbs," he said.

But all of this criticism may be missing the point for Rhinehart. For him, food is an inconvenience and, like all such modern inconveniences, can be fixed with technology.

He's managed to remove the burden of food, but eating is one inconvenience that nutritionists, at least, are loath to give up.


Watch the video: Как устроена IT-столица мира. Russian Silicon Valley English subs (June 2022).


Comments:

  1. Kigagor

    Sorry to interfere, I would also like to express my opinion.

  2. Danel

    I am sorry, that has interfered... I here recently.But this theme is very close to me. Is ready to help.

  3. Meshakar

    I fully share your opinion. There is something about that, and it's a good idea. I am ready to support you.

  4. Sazahn

    these are the pictures it would be high time !!!!



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