It isn’t always easy to find time to prepare meals for yourself and your loved ones, let alone put together something that’s genuinely healthy. This leads many families to rely on fast food to fill their bellies, which adds up quickly, contributing to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and more.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can get a meal’s worth of calories and nutrients into your body when you’re significantly pressed for time. Soylent boasts a handful of these alternatives, with enough flavors to please just about anybody.
But Soylent has multiple products designed as meal replacements, energy boosters, protein supplements, and snacks. Are all of their formulas genuinely healthy? We dive into the science behind Soylent’s best-selling products to reveal everything you need to know.
- Extremely convenient options
- Powder and pre-mixed drinks available
- Vegan-friendly formulas
- Products are gluten-free
- Subscriptions available to save money
- Three tasty bar options
- Products contain few to no added sugars
- Discounts for veterans, teachers, and medical professionals
- Take 10% off your order with promo code: INNERBODY10
- Soy is neither organic nor non-GMO
- No options for those with soy allergies
- Powders don’t mix well without a blender
Soylent is an outstanding choice for meal replacements if you’re a busy person without an aversion to soy products. Their flavors are excellent, and their nutritional profiles are well-balanced, even if the sources of their macronutrients aren’t among the favorite foods of some nutritionists.
Soylent offers convenient soy meal replacement options like pre-mixed drinks, mixable powders, and bars.
Soylent products are vegan-friendly, gluten free, and have few to no added sugars. It’s a perfect healthy option for those on the go. Take 10% off your order with code INNERBODY10.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.
We extensively test each health service or product we review. Our content provides you, our readers, with an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality and the latest medical evidence and health standards. We ask ourselves two simple questions: Would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job? Would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Soylent is a nutrition and wellness company that offers meal replacements in pre-mixed drinks, mixable powders, and bars. The cornerstone of their recipes is soy protein isolate, which allows them to blend vegan-friendly formulas high in protein.
The company’s name is a self-aware reference to a food product in the dystopian science fiction film Soylent Green. In that film — spoiler alert — soylent green turned out to be made of people. Soylent meal replacement products are far less sinister.
Soylent is ideal for people who might describe themselves as those who eat to live but don’t necessarily live to eat. They also make an excellent protein source for vegans and vegetarians, and they serve as relatively healthy meal replacements for people with little or no free time.
People with soy allergies or those who are strict about consuming organic foods might want to look elsewhere.
Soylent self-identifies as a technology company. They received some of their earliest major financing from the investment arm of Alphabet, Inc., Google’s parent company. As such, their focus is on providing nutrients in their meal replacements using modern technology like genetic modification. Soylent’s lack of organic options and use of genetically modified soy will be a dealbreaker for some. For others, it won’t impact their interest in the product.
Here’s what the science says about some of Soylent’s potentially controversial ingredients:
Soy (GMO, inorganic)
This is likely the most controversial ingredient in Soylent, as soy gets a bad rap for its role in estrogen production. Several studies have also linked inorganic, GMO soy and its common pesticides and herbicides to various health disorders. However, no study exists that provides direct causation, and most of the correlations that study authors use are speculative at best. Most global regulatory agencies have found inorganic soy and its most common pesticides and herbicides safe for human consumption.
Studies in rats have reported a link between canola oil consumption and increased rates of obesity and cognitive decline, with an implication that it might accelerate the onset of Alzheimer’s. But human research shows mostly positive effects, including cholesterol maintenance, especially compared to more highly saturated fats.
An artificial sweetener, sucralose appears to pose some health risks, at least according to specific studies. In some cases, researchers found it to be mutagenic, and in others, it altered the balance of gut bacteria for the worse. For many, its taste is unappealing despite its sweetness, but it is the least abundant ingredient in almost every formula that includes it. Soylent’s primary sweetener is allulose, a much tastier, more natural option.
Insider Tip: Refrigerate unfinished Soylent immediately or discard what you don’t intend to finish. Unfinished Soylent develops an unpleasant smell when left out for many hours.
Soylent’s product range has grown steadily since the company’s inception in 2013, adding new products and flavors and making adjustments to their formulas to improve taste and minimize the potential for gastrointestinal discomfort. Most products are available with a subscription that can save you anywhere from 10-23% with renewal options for 15-, 30-, 45-, and 60-day delivery.
Soylent products are also available in stores and on Amazon. Still, with low subscription costs and a fast shipping turnaround (approximately five days in testing), our testers found the Soylent website to be the best place to buy. Also, the company somewhat regularly updates and enhances its formulas, and there’s no guarantee that an independent seller on Amazon has the most recent formula in stock.
Here’s a quick look at their current product lineup:
|Price||Price per meal||Price with subscription||Price per meal with subscription|
|Soylent Drink (any one flavor)||$42||$3.50||$37.05||$3.09|
|Soylent Variety 12-packs (any flavor combo)||$46||$3.83||$40.79||$3.40|
|Soylent Complete Energy (12-pack)||$33||$2.75||$29.70||$2.48|
|Soylent Complete Protein (12-pack)||$33||$2.75||$29.70||$2.48|
|Soylent Powder 15.8 oz., case of 7||$67||$1.91||$55||$1.57|
|Soylent Single-Serve Powder Packets, case of 10||$15||$1.50||$13.50||$1.35|
|Soylent Squared Meal Bars, case of 24||$25||$1.04||$22.50||$0.94|
Soylent offers discounts on nearly all of their products for certain professionals. Discounts don’t apply to sampler packs or non-food merchandise, and they can’t be applied to subscriptions. You can receive a discount from Soylent if you fall into any of the following categories:
- Veterans and active-duty military
- Medical professionals
- Hospital employees
- First responders
Soylent Drinks are the cornerstone of the company’s product lineup. They fall into three categories:
- Complete Meal
- Complete Protein
- Complete Energy
You might find that one or more of these drink types best suits your needs. For example, most of our testers found that the Complete Energy Drinks and the two Complete Meals that contain caffeine were ideal for morning consumption.
Complete Meal Drinks
The original Soylent falls under the Complete Meal umbrella. These drinks offer balanced macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) and a mix of vitamins and minerals that should effectively replace the average person’s meal. Their taste is excellent, and our testers found the consistency to resemble a thin milkshake — thick enough to make you feel full but not too thick to drink with ease.
One of the hallmarks of Soylent’s Complete Meal Drinks is that they contain very few added sugars. Instead, the company uses allulose and sucralose as sweeteners. Allulose is far more abundant in their formulas than sucralose.
If you’re unfamiliar with allulose, it’s a naturally occurring monosaccharide that looks, tastes, and performs almost identically to table sugar. It can cause some mild stomach upset for those with FODMAP sensitivities, but it’s a phenomenal sugar alternative for most people.
Complete Meal Drinks have evolved through the years to include eight flavors.
- Creamy chocolate
- Mint chocolate
- Cafe mocha
- Cafe chai
The original flavor isn’t quite plain; our testers found it tasted like milk that had previously contained some cereal.
Flavoring in Soylent Drinks comes from natural flavors, and the ingredient lists are nearly identical for each iteration:
- Filtered water
- Soy protein isolate
- High oleic sunflower oil
- Canola oil
- Vitamin and mineral pre-mix
- Soluble corn fiber
- Soy lecithin
- Natural flavors
- Gellan gum
Certain flavors contain additional ingredients like the cocoa powder in the chocolate flavor or the coffee powder in the cafe varieties. Cafe flavors also contain theanine to help take the edge off the included caffeine. The original flavor is the only one to contain modified food starch.
Complete Protein Drink
Soylent’s Complete Protein Drink has ten more grams of protein than the company’s standard flavors. It also has far fewer carbs and fats. This drink is ideal for vegans and vegetarians who want to use Soylent as a supplementary source of protein.
The Complete Protein Drink is currently only available in a chocolate flavor. Our testers found that the protein drink’s flavor paled in comparison to the creamy chocolate Complete Meal Drink.
Complete Energy Drink
Soylent’s Complete Energy Drink contains 100mg of caffeine per bottle. Interestingly, the company’s Cafe Mocha Complete Meal Drink contains 150mg of caffeine per bottle. But the Complete Meal Drink has more than twice the calories and carbs of the energy drink.
Ultimately, if you’re only looking for energy and not a complete meal replacement, Soylent’s Complete Energy Drink is a great option. But if you’re looking for a caffeine boost in the morning to accompany your complete breakfast replacement, we recommend the cafe mocha Complete Meal over the Complete Energy Drink.
The Complete Energy drink is only available in a chocolate flavor.
Soylent Powder is a more economical option to access the company’s meal replacements than their pre-mixed drinks. The powders’ ingredient profiles differ slightly from pre-mixes, with filtered water being the most obvious exclusion. You can add water or mix the powder into any drink of your choice to get the flavor and texture that works best for you.
Soylent Powders come in original and cacao flavors. The cacao flavor is the only drink in Soylent’s lineup with artificial flavors. We recommend the original flavor or a pre-mixed drink if you want to avoid those.
You can get Soylent Powder in large pouches or as individually packed servings. Those individual servings are great if you need to travel with some powder, but as you can see in the chart above, the larger pouches save you a lot more money.
Our testing team found that the powders had an excellent flavor but would only thoroughly blend with water, milk, or a milk substitute with the help of a blender. Stirring, whisking, and using the Soylent shaker cup didn’t quite do the trick, and our testers often found clumps of dried powder in their drinks.
Given that Soylent’s most appealing feature is convenience, we think it’s worth the extra cost to invest in the pre-mixed drinks whenever possible.
Soylent Squared Bars aren’t quite the total meal replacements you can get with the company’s drinks. They’re more snacks than anything else, with just 100 calories per square. Still, they offer the same great balance of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals you get with those drinks.
Soylent Squared Bars come in chocolate brownie and peanut butter chocolate chip flavors. The ingredient lists for each flavor are nearly identical, with the order of ingredients proving the only significant difference. They include:
- Soy protein isolate
- Canola oil
- Whole oat flour
- Soluble corn fiber
- Cocoa powder
- Tapioca syrup
- Rice syrup
- Vitamin and mineral pre-mix
- Natural flavors
- Tapioca starch
- Filtered water
- Soy lecithin
- Modified food starch
- Mono & diglyceride
Soylent also sells a limited edition Soylent Green bar. The ingredients are also more or less identical to the list above, but the flavor is rather different. The company intends for that flavor to be something of a secret, but our testers found they tasted a little like green apple-flavored candy.
Soylent accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and AmazonPay. Soylent also partners with a no-interest financing company, Afterpay, which you can use to spread your payments to Soylent over a set period.
Shipping is free on all US orders $25 and up. That covers nearly every edible product on their site except for single cases of individual powder packs.
In most cases, Soylent products are not eligible for return for food safety reasons. The company will work with you if a package contains the wrong contents or arrives damaged. However, you must notify Soylent within 14 days in such a case, and their return policy does not apply to purchases through third-party sellers.
Is Soylent good for you?
Compared to products with a similar level of convenience, Soylent is great for you. Compared to a well-prepared meal full of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, Soylent is significantly less good for you. It’s important to remember that Soylent is a meal replacement, not a whole diet replacement.
Can you drink Soylent every day?
Soylent is safe to consume daily, as long as the rest of your diet contains variety. Technically, you could eat Soylent for every meal for at least a little while and not suffer too many adverse effects. Over time, certain imbalances and deficiencies — notably fiber — would emerge that you’d need supplements or other foods to regulate. Our testers consumed one to two Soylent products daily for an extended period and noticed no problems.
Insider Tip: If you want to replace multiple daily meals with Soylent, we recommend blending it with fibrous fruits and vegetables. The original flavor blended with apples tastes similar to Apple Jacks cereal, and the cafe mocha flavor is strong enough to conceal the flavor of spinach.
Is Soylent a good recovery drink?
Given its macronutrient profile, Soylent can make a good recovery drink after certain types of exercise. If you want to build muscle or lose weight, their Complete Protein Drink is a good choice. To maximize recovery and maintain muscle mass after intense cardio, the Complete Meal Drinks offer a superior way to replenish spent glycogen stores while providing good protein and fats.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service or product. In general, we have five broad evaluation areas, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) or product(s)? How is advanced technology used for accuracy and safety? What evidence of effectiveness exists to justify the company’s approach? Are manufacturing standards of high quality?
User-friendliness: How intuitive and convenient is the service or product? To what degree is the company interface helpful and understandable?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, is it stored securely? Are payments secure? Does the company market your information?
Customer support: With personalized products and services, how well does the company address your individual needs? If a product or service does not work for you, are there satisfaction guarantees or return policies that protect you?