Thursday, June 5, 2014

Could Soylent High-Tech Meal Replacement Do Away With Food?

It started last year as a Kickstarter campaign, and now is available to the general public.  The brainchild of 25-year-old Silicon Valley inventor Robert Rhinehart, Soylent, a blend of oat flour, maltodextrin and 30 other ingredients, is meant to provide the white-noise version of eating, basic nutrition stripped of taste and pleasure. Users have reported weight loss over the first weeks of consuming nothing but the slightly gritty beige blender drink, though that's not surprising.  Perhaps it could provide a "cold turkey" intervention for emotional overeaters, and give them a base level of nutrition completely divorced from any component of delight or reward.

Interested consumers can order starter kits or more substantial 12- or 16-week supplies of the Soylent food replacement, and apparently sales are so brisk that shipments are just now catching up with orders.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "I just spent more than a week experiencing Soylent, the most joyless new technology to hit the world since we first laid eyes on MS-DOS.

Soylent is a drink mix invented by a group of engineers who harbor ambitions of shaking up the global food business. Robert Rhinehart, the 25-year-old co-founder and chief executive of the firm selling the drink, hit upon the idea when he found himself spending too much time and money searching for nutritious meals while he was working on a wireless-tech start-up in San Francisco. Using a process Mr. Rhinehart calls 'scientific,' the firm claims to have mixed a cornucopia of supplements to form a technologically novel food that offers the complete set of nutrients the human body needs for survival.

You can live on Soylent alone, Mr. Rhinehart claims, though in practice he said customers would most likely use it to replace just their 'staple meals,' by which he meant most of the junk you eat every day to fill yourself up. Mr. Rhinehart argued that Soylent, which costs about $3 per serving, is cheaper, easier to prepare and more nutritious than much of the food that makes up the typical American officer worker’s diet today.

About a week and a half ago, I began drinking Soylent every day. I can’t recommend that you do the same. For a purported breakthrough with such grand plans for reshaping the food industry, I found Soylent to be a punishingly boring, joyless product. From the plain white packaging to the purposefully bland, barely sweet flavor to the motel-carpet beige hue of the drink itself, everything about Soylent screams function, not fun. It may offer complete nourishment, but only at the expense of the aesthetic and emotional pleasures many of us crave in food.

And although the drink is tastier than its horror sci-fi name implies, the whole idea of replacing lots of your meals with the same stuff day after day is a nightmarish prospect. It suggests that Soylent’s creators have forgotten a basic ingredient found in successful tech products, not to mention in most good foods. That ingredient is delight."

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