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For fast-paced techies and disinterested food-is-fuel millennials, Soylent seemed like the perfect answer to combat hunger in their busy lives. But recent developments, regarding reported gastrointestinal issues associated with their new nutrition bar, prove that this meal replacement might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
A quick background recap for those who are unfamiliar: Soylent was developed by a small group of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. They had been given a small grant from an incubator company to create the next big thing in tech, and after a half-baked plan to create cheaper cellphone towers failed, the guys were low on cash and growing desperate.
The hopeful businessmen began cutting down costs in their daily lives in order to make their loan stretch a bit further, but there was one inconvenience that was a necessary part of being alive that one simply can’t go without: eating.
Rob Rhinehart, one of the dudes, began to dread his meals. It seemed like he was just throwing money down the toilet! And wasting time while he was at it. Plus, the mental energy that it takes to choose what you want to eat, then purchase or prepare it--who wants to deal with that?
Rhinehart told The New Yorker “Food was such a large burden...it was also the time and the hassle.” After ruminating on this simple fact, it hit him: what if there was a way to eliminate both a large amount of the cost associated with food, and the annoyance of organizing well-balanced meals.
Of course, meal replacement was already a product on the market. But Rhinehart figured out that if he broke down the formula of meal replacement into some sort of engineering issue, than he could figure out the most efficient way to provide the body with all of the nutrients that it needs. He studied biochemistry, and he began to see food as “a system that’s too complex and too expensive and too fragile.”
He mixed up his first batch of liquid-nutrient-rich-shake-juice, kicked food altogether for thirty days, and posted his experience online. The response was extremely enthusiastic. People wanted to find out how they could incorporate this life-hack into their routines, and streamline their lives. Thus: Soylent was born.
All has been going pretty swimmingly for the company, with some saying that the advent precludes the need for meals altogether; meaning that for the non-culinarily-inclined amongst us could build a life completely void of food.
However, a recent hiccup regarding the digestibility of Soylent nutrition bars has left many grabbing their stomachs--and, presumably, wondering why they didn’t just reach for a grilled cheese like the rest of us!
After multiple reports, the company posted on its blog: “We are going to continue to look into this further and share our findings with the FDA so that they can do their own evaluation.” They have also promised to reformulate the product, and ideally roll out an updated version by the new year.
In the meantime, just eat some goddamn pizza guys.