Joylent review: 10 days of eating nutritionally-balanced powdered food for #HealthAndFitnessWeek

You might have heard of Soylent, the nutritionally-balanced, complete food for humans that’s been making a bit of a stir in the US. Opinions vary from “this is the future of food” to “you’ve ruined everything that’s good about being alive,” and like everyone else, we were intrigued.

So for 10 days, Editor Holly and intern Sadie will be attempting to eat only Joylent, the EU equivalent of Soylent (because it’s not available here). We’ll add all the posts here as we go along, and there’s more info below so you know what the Joylent review project is all about.

Note: this isn’t a sponsored review, we’re just interested. 

Trip reports:

Days 1-3
Days 4-6
Days 7-9
Holly’s conclusions
Sadie’s conclusions

What is Joylent/Soylent/whatever?

You know those complete foods for cats, that promise to give all the nutrients they need in one convenient bag of kibble? Well, it’s basically that, but for humans. Despite the name Soylent, it’s not made of people – ingredients vary depending on the supplier, but Joylent contains:

– Oat flour, soy flour, whey, maltodextrin, ground flaxseed, vitamins/mineral mix

In theory, this should provide 100% of your daily requirements of everything (in fact, that’s Joylent’s slogan). You should still drink water, obviously, but in theory if you live on just Joylent, you’ll be fully nourished.

Joylent comes as a powder that you mix with water in a shaker to make a milkshake type thing. Other, similar products including Soylent and Queal require adding oil, but Joylent say they’ve managed to make a version where it’s not required. We’re happy about that, because the oil bit seems like a faff.

Can you eat other stuff too?

Absolutely. This is the number one misconception we’ve come across while eating Joylent – that you can’t eat anything else. It’s just a meal replacement, a way to make sure that one meal is 100% nutritionally complete. You could have it for breakfast, then eat normal food for the rest of the day. You could have it once a week. You could keep it in the basement in case of apocalypse. It’s just another type of food, not a regime.

Is it for losing weight?

It’s not designed to be, but some people eating Soylent and similar have found themselves losing weight because they’re not eating fatty foods as much, or at all. One bag of Joylent is designed to be a day’s food, providing 2119 calories. However, you should customise how much you eat according to your calorie needs (there are loads of websites to help you work this out).

Holly eats 1300 calories a day usually (which helps her slowly lose weight) and Sadie doesn’t count calories, so Holly will stick to 1300 calories of Joylent and Sadie’s going to do a full 2119 calorie bag per day.

So what’s the benefit?

There are lots of benefits! It’s much cheaper than proper food (30 Euros or £23 for 15 meals, or 5 days’ worth if you eat nothing else), keeps for 6 months without spoiling, and gives you every nutrient you need to run at full speed. Not many of us have ever experienced being completely, fully nourished, and we’re looking forward to finding out what it’s like.

You also don’t have to cook, wash up, or go out to find lunch when you’ve got a 2pm deadline.

And the downsides?

Well, every time you eat Joylent, you don’t get to eat food. And everyone likes food. Also, it’s possible we’ll get bored with the flavours (Joylent comes in vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and banana, whereas Queal has some fancier ones like apple pie and chocolate peanut), won’t feel full up, or will experience side effects (some people report getting a bit windy in the first week!).

In theory, though, we’ll be hyper-nourished super-people before long.

What are the rules for your 10-day challenge?

We’re going to try and stick to just Joylent for 10 days, for all 3 meals. We’ll still drink cups of tea and suchlike, and we’ll more than likely eat snacks and other food at some point too. But we’ll do our best to stay strong!

Who’s participating?

Holly Brockwell, 29, ShinyShiny Editor

Health: Not bad. My kidneys are quite rubbish sometimes and I was born with half a thyroid, but I have medicine for that (love you, NHS). My BMI is normal and my blood pressure’s good, apparently!
Usually eats: I’m pretty strict with MyFitnessPal, keeping to 1300-ish calories most days. On a typical day, I’ll have a cereal bar for breakfast, jacket potato with veggies and cheese for lunch, and then something like pumpkin ravioli for dinner.
How she feels about doing Joylent: Really excited! I’ve been dying to try Soylent but couldn’t get hold of any. If food pills existed, I’d be first in the queue. I love food, but some days, it would be really handy if I could just nourish myself without having to cook or go out and get food.
Barack Obama says he wears the same clothes every day because it frees him up to think about more important things. I’m hoping Joylent will do the same for me.

Sadie Hale, 22, ShinyShiny’s favourite ever intern

Health: Pretty good (blood pressure, BMI etc all healthy)
Usually eats: Loads of carbs (bread), lots of chocolate, not enough fruit and veg!
How she feels about doing Joylent: I’m intrigued more than anything. This product seems relatively unheard-of in the UK, so it’s great to be testing it out first hand. I’m hoping it’ll make me feel more energised – I get really bad lulls around 3pm, especially if I’ve eaten something sweet at lunch, so I’m interested to see if eating Joylent instead makes a difference. I’m apprehensive about having to eat the same thing every day though. Takes the fun right out of eating…

Progress reports:

Days 1-3
Days 4-6
Days 7-9
Holly’s conclusions
Sadie’s conclusions

It’s #HealthAndFitnessWeek on ShinyShiny! We’re here to help you keep running, swimming, and nourishing your way to the healthier, happier self you imagined when you wrote your new year’s resolutions. See all the posts here

Holly Brockwell

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