Nutritionally Complete Beverages: Alternatives to Soylent

Um, well actually this article’s not about coffee. Photo credit: Prairie Kitten / Flickr.

Nutritionally complete beverages and foods gained significant traction over the last few years, and there are several factors you’ll want to consider if you’re looking into an alternative to Soylent or just trying out a wholesome beverage for the first time.

Diet experts generally recommend a macronutrient ratio of 45–65% carbohydrates, 10–35% protein, 20–35% fat based on caloric intake. Major sustained deviations from these ratios can put a burden on the human body and are not the healthiest way to achieve nutritional goals.

The following beverages are made or marketed in the United States. Macronutrient ratios are listed as percentages of carb/protein/fat.

Schmilk | $15/day | 45/20/35 | The cost goes down to $6/day plus the cost of milk when mixed with the recommended amount of milk since it is intended to be a powder for milkshakes. The mixture is essentially oat flour mixed with a vitamin blend. Components of the oat flour may not be soluble.

Joylent | $6.08/day | 50/25/25 | Beware of indefinitely long shipping times to the United States (upwards of a month or two) from the Netherlands. Relatively simple blend with low solubility in water, weak flavor, and granular texture.

Orgain Organic | $17.06/day | 50/25/25 | These organic nutrition shakes come in several flavors and have a wide variety of natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables. Although its dietary fiber content doesn’t fully satisfy daily needs, it’s higher than most alternatives. The brand is available on Amazon.

Mana Mark 3 | $7.01/day | 35/20/45 | Low carbohydrate and protein content. The primary ingredient is maltodextrin, which is a poor source of carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. Solubility is likely good. Vitamins and minerals are precisely balanced.

Soylent | $9.15/day | 35/20/45 | Soylent is the father of most of the other drinks now on the market. It has a low carbohydrate, fiber, and protein content, but micronutrients are precisely balanced. Algal oil, the source of fat, is an unusual ingredient that carries a high price tag compared to olive oil or canola oil. There is also a substantial amount of maltodextrin which is known for its high glycemic index.

JouleFuel | $10.91/day | 41/23/36 | Good macronutrient ratio with normal ingredients, including oat flour, brown rice flour, and almond flour. The blend is nearly as simple as you can get, although the cost to make this at home would be significantly lower. No organic option offered.

Ambronite | $39.60/day | 44/24/32 |Mostly organic ingredients with many fruits and vegetables that contribute to the vitamin content. Unlike most mixtures, Ambronite does not use a pre-made vitamin blend.

Solubility of a drink powder in water is something to watch out for because several mixtures will leave a sediment residue on the bottom of your glass — it won’t be the easiest thing to drink. Poor mixing properties might be improved through the addition of xanthan gum or an emulsifying agent such as soy lecithin.

Keto Chow was not included since it is better categorized as a protein shake.