Rob Rhinehart wanted to change the way he ate.
The 24-year-old, who has difficulty finding time to shop and cook as a software engineer in Atlanta, researched what nutrients his body actually needed to get from food. He then created Soylent, which, according to Fox News, is a "drink mixture of vitamins and minerals which includes calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K."
Rhinehart began swapping his daily meals for his Soylent formula. We caught up with Rhinehart to talk about his new diet.
Rhinehart admitted that he was surprised at the results. "I did not expect to get so much healthier. I was just trying to survive. It was kind of weird to suddenly be able to run for miles without getting tired, sleep better and feel mentally sharper."
He was also saving time and money. "I save about two hours a day and $350 per month, not to mention avoiding the stress involved with shopping, cooking and cleaning dishes."
Rhinehart now consumes Soylent for 90 percent of his meals, and he thinks the formula could be the ideal replacement for unhealthy fast food. If it seems odd that someone could exist for months without actually eating, consider Rhinehart's explanation in an interview with Vice that "we need carbs, not bread. Amino acids, not milk. It's still fine to eat these whenever you want, but not everyone can afford them or has the desire to eat them."
Rhinehart wrote on his blog that he assumed he would get tired of the taste, but hasn't yet. Not only does he continue to like the taste of Soylent, but he no longer craves the foods he once did. "I kind of lost a taste for the pizza and cheeseburgers I craved before. My favorite food now is sushi."
We wanted to know what Rhinehart's friends and family think of his new diet. He admitted that "initially, they thought it was weird." However after watching him become healthier, "they're now on it as well."
Soylent could have exciting implications for the world's hunger problem. The formula would be cheap to buy (about $100 a month if produced at scale) and Rhinehart wants it to be as easy to get as a cup of coffee.
"I want everyone to have the means for a healthy diet," Rhinehart explains. "I don't want anyone to have to worry about food or nutrition, and still enjoy the fun, social aspects of food when desired. I am also optimistic about food security and aid prospects."
Sonali Ruder, D.O., sees a formula like Soylent being useful as a source of nutrition for people who are pressed for time, and admits, "it's a much better alternative to many other quick meal options such as fast food."
However, Dr. Ruder believes that this type of diet is unrealistic for most people and would not be filling. "There is evidence that the act of chewing sets off a reaction in our bodies that induces the feeling of satiety," she explains. "After we eat or drink, stretch receptors in the stomach send signals to our brain that make us feel full. However, liquids are emptied out of the stomach faster than solids, so we tend to get hungry again faster after drinking rather than eating."
Check out the slideshow above for more on what is really in Soylent.
Wondering if drinking your meals is actually healthy? Read this report on the downfall of drinking your calories.
Images courtesy of Soylent.