Tuesday, June 25, 2013

REPOST: Soylent: Is the ‘Food of the Future’ Really a Nutrition Solution?

This article from Time.com sheds light on Soylent, which is advertised to be the future of nutrition. Read about it here:

Image Source: healthland.time.com

For the past five months, Rob Rhinehart has lived off Soylent, a milky mixture of vitamins and minerals he developed. He says it contains all the human body needs to be completely satiated and nutritionally balanced — and he believes it will change the way we eat.

“It started as a personal need for myself,” says Rhinehart, a 24-year-old software engineer based in San Francisco. “My diet before was pretty poor. I ate mainly convenient cheap foods because I wasn’t really that into food.”

For about a month, Rhinehart researched exactly what the body needs to survive, down to the biochemical level. His mixture is composed of lots of vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. Check out the full ingredient mixture here. He started testing Soylent on himself, and found it gave him more energy, he lost weight and always felt full. On a trip home to Atlanta, Rhinehart says he came across an elderly neighbor, who had become gaunt with age as he grew too old to continue properly cooking. He realized Soylent might have benefits for other people too.

“It seemed ridiculous that things have gotten so efficient and streamlined and we have come so far, but we haven’t figure out how to get healthy food to everyone,” says Rhinehart. “In San Francisco, the food and health differences between the poorer and more affluent areas are so clear. It’s not that people don’t know what things are healthy and unhealthy. They don’t have the means.”

Some of Rhinehart’s arguments for the adoption of Soylent won’t appeal to everyone. He argues current eating behaviors are inconvenient. “I think people’s relationship with food would be a lot healthier if it was more of an option. People should be working on their education and their career and their passion. If cooking is one’s passion then that’s great, but for a lot of people it’s not,” he says. Besides a few meals on the weekend, Rhinehart only subsists on Soylent.

But when I asked him about whether he sees any potential for Soylent to play a role in public health and combating hunger, he was well versed in the issues of food insecurity and how Soylent could be a part of a greater change. “I think diet has a lot to do with one’s overall health,” he says. “I think it has a lot to do with health care expenditure. I think this could really help preventative care by allowing a lot of the body’s natural mechanisms to keep up and [maintain] the energy it needs to make it a healthy system.” Soylent doesn’t spoil; all the mixture needs is water. So it could not only cut down on food waste but could be easily transported.

Although Soylent sounds like an elixir for good health, dietitians have serious concerns about the lack of evidence to support it.

“The claims he is making are not scientifically substantiated,” says Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian and an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokeswoman. “The composition of what he has made is not going to be nutritionally adequate. He has made a lot of assumptions, and it is not going to be sustainable by any means for a certain population or even for an individual.”

Nor is Soylent the yummiest thing around, notes Dubost. Many people who’ve tried it have not been fond of the tasteless drink. Taking the pleasurable experience out of eating is counterintuitive because savoring a meal helps release hormones that regulate satiety and suppression of appetite. “If you’re not enjoying your food, chances are, you are going to overeat or undereat,” says Dubost. “I think, in the long run, this isn’t setting someone up to be healthy.”

Watch Rhinehart and his colleagues explain the benefits of Soylent:

Video Source: youtube.com

Satori World Medical is a San Diego-based medical travel services provider. Follow this Twitter page for more interesting news on what’s going on in the healthcare industry.

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