“The gooey drink looks a lot like Slimfast, or Ensure, the geriatric nutrition shake. But in its philosophy and customer base, Soylent, the controversial meal-replacement drink, has as much in common with older products as an iPad to a gramophone.
Soylent does not market itself as a dietary supplement or weight-loss aid. Instead, it promotes its fortified powder (with an added oil blend) as a healthy alternative to normal food – a technological advancement that allows users to transcend a basic biological need. With the slogan “free your body,” Soylent urges people to imagine what they could accomplish if they stopped cooking, chewing and cleaning up after meals, and “never had to worry about food again.”
… Dr. Gwen Chapman, a professor of food, nutrition and health at the University of British Columbia, said she isn’t surprised that men seem drawn to Soylent. “Food is very gendered,” she said. Outside the male-dominated fine-dining scene, everyday menu planning, food shopping and meal preparation continue to be a largely women’s domain, “so this reductionist science-and-numbers approach – I can see it appealing more to men,” she said.
Chapman acknowledged that the makers of Soylent had done their research on the recommended daily allowances of the essential nutrients. But she noted that human nutrition is an evolving science, and much remains unknown. Studies looking at whether specific vitamin and mineral supplements may lower disease risk have failed to show significant benefits, she pointed out. The evidence suggests that other components in foods may be vitally important, “or it’s the combination of nutrients” in whole foods that matters, Chapman said.”