This article takes a look at the best Soylent alternatives. For a more comprehensive look at the best Soylent alternatives, check out our article on the top 5 best meal replacement shakes.
Soylent is one of the (if not the) most popular meal replacement shakes in America, but it is by no means the only one around. In fact, if you live outside of the US or Canada, you are unlikely to be able to get your hands on it at all. So, what are the best Soylent alternatives out there?
In this article, we will be taking a look at what Soylent is, why it is popular, why it perhaps shouldn’t be popular, and what makes its competitors so much better?
What is Soylent?
Yes, that joke will never get old, no matter how often we talk about Soylent.
Soylent is a meal replacement shake made from soy and a few other ingredients. It is an inexpensive source of calories, and it contains a high amount of protein, fibre, and nutrients.
Soylent has been in operation since 2013, and at one point it was the biggest name in meal replacement shakes. But as part of the vanguard, Soylent was also exposed to a lot of the media and fitness community backlash. Something that newer (and better) companies have managed to avoid.
There are a number of Soylent products out there, all using soy protein isolate as their protein source. You have Soylent powder, Soylent drink, and a Soylent bar. The Soylent ready to drink product is particularly popular in America. But their soy meal replacement shakes are what they are best known for.
Soylent at a Glance
· 400 calories per serving
· 20 grams of protein
· 20 grams of fat
· 41 grams of carbohydrates
· 6 grams fibre
· $1.91 per serving
· Only available in US & Canada
Soylent Macro Review
You may be tempted to consider Soylent a high-protein meal, but this isn’t actually representative of the macronutrient ratios in Soylent. Sure, it contains 20 grams of protein, which is a lot compared to many meals. However, it contains 20 grams of fat!
Remember, protein contains 4 calories per gram, while fat contains 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates also contain 4 calories per gram, and there are 41 grams of carbohydrates. So, let’s take a look at the calorie makeup of Soylent:
· 80 calories from protein (18.86%)
· 180 calories from fat (42.45%)
· 164 calories from carbohydrates (38.68%)
· 424 calories total
You may be wondering why our calculation comes to 424 calories while Soylent claims to have 400. The most likely explanation is that they count the fibre differently. There are 6 grams of fibre per serving which means 24 calories fewer.
However you calculate it, the main macronutrient is fat with 42.45% of calories coming from it. If you are wondering, yes, this is a ridiculously high-fat content for a meal replacement shake.
There are a number of ingredients contained in Soylent, but many of them are of little interest. There isn’t much to be said about xanthan gum or natural and artificial flavours. Soylent uses sucralose as its artificial sweetener. It uses a vitamin & mineral premix. The cacao flavour has cocoa powder.
The main ingredient is obviously soy. They use soy protein isolate for their protein source, soy lecithin as a fat source and emulsifier, it uses isomaltulose, maltodextrin, modified food starch, and soluble corn fibre for its carbohydrates. Canola oil makes up the majority of the fats.
If you are thinking that these ingredients sound a little unnatural, you are not alone. Many of the ingredients are genetically modified (not that there is anything wrong with that per se), and you would struggle to find any of them in a market or store.
Best Soylent Alternative Meal Replacement
As you can see from our review so far, we are not big fans of Soylent. Too high in fat, not much fibre, a lack of real-food ingredients, and only available in two countries.
It’s such a shame that Soylent gets so much attention when there are other meal replacements that are significantly better. Here are our top five best Soylent alternatives.
Alternative #1 Rootana (Editor’s Choice)
With Rootana, it feels like they looked at everything Soylent did, step by step, and then purposefully did the opposite in an attempt to avoid making the same mistakes. Considering how Soylent turned out, we believe that this was an incredibly intelligent move.
Rootana uses real food ingredients to make its shakes. It avoids artificial sweeteners and artificial colourings and instead uses natural sweeteners such as coconut sugars. It uses oat flour, pea protein, flaxseed, sunflower seed oil, and sunflower lecithin as its emulsifier.
One similarity is that Rootana only has three flavours (Soylent offers two): cacao, natural, and vanilla. Unlike Soylent, which contains a massive 20 grams of fat per serving, Rootana only contains 13-16 grams (vanilla 13, cacao 14, original 16). The carbs and the protein content are basically the same, but obviously, the ratio is much more favourable.
Rootana is our pick for the best alternative to Soylent, based on its use of real-food ingredients, having an excellent macronutrient ratio, and avoiding the use of artificial sweeteners and colourings. It also contains all the essential nutrients required for a healthy life.
Alternative #2 Instant Knockout Complete (Best for Weight Loss)
Instant Knockout Complete is another meal replacement shake that prioritises real-food ingredients. The biggest difference is in the protein and fibre content, with 35 grams per serving as well as 13 grams of fibre. These changes make it ideal for weight loss.
The fibre and protein will help to increase satiety, making you feel full for longer after your meal, while the protein can also help to preserve muscle mass.
The macronutrient ratio for Instant Knockout Complete is orders of magnitude better than Soylent’s. While it also contains 400 calories per serving, the ratio of protein to calories is much healthier:
· 140 calories from protein (35%)
· 117 calories from fat (30%)
· 140 calories from carbohydrates (35%)
The ingredients used in Instant Knockout Complete are also much higher in quality than those used in Soylent. There is a variety of plant-based protein, golden flaxseed, oat protein, MCT oils, organic brown rice protein, and chia seeds.
While the cost per serving is higher for Instant Knockout Complete, this is a reflection of the much higher quality of the ingredients and the better ratio of protein and fibre. If your aim is to lose weight, then Instant Knockout Complete is the product for you. Check out our article on Instant Knockout Complete for a closer look at this remarkable product.
Alternative #3 Huel (Best for Variety)
While Rootana, Instant Knockout Complete, and Soylent only offer a couple of variations, Huel is the undisputed king of options. Huel Powder provides 10 different flavours, plus a higher protein version (Huel Black), it also offers savoury meals, bars, and ready-made drinks (Huel ready to drink is a great product). They are ideal if you want a healthy snack.
Huel may not be able to compete with Instant Knockout Complete when it comes to weight loss, and it can’t offer the artificial-sweetener free benefits of Rootana, but it is nevertheless a good meal replacement shake company.
When you compare it to Soylent, Huel wipes the floor with it. Using real food ingredients, providing more protein per serving, and having a more sensible ratio of healthy fats.
If you like a lot of variety in your life, and the health benefits to match, then Huel is a great option for a meal replacement shake and is certainly a better option than Soylent! You can find out more about Huel in our Huel review article.
Alternative #4 Abnormal (Best Soy-Free Option)
Abnormal is a new meal replacement company brought to you by some of the same team that worked with The Protein Works. What makes Abnormal different is the fact that it tailors the product to your specific nutritional needs.
This is the exact opposite of what Soylent does. Now, Abnormal is by no means perfect, while the range of options available may seem endless, it’s actually quite small. But the idea behind Abnormal is really cool, and it could improve over time.
Another advantage is that Abnormal offers a whey protein version, which is a good soy-free soylent alternative.
Alternative #5 Jimmy Joy (Best Soy Protein Isolate Product)
Jimmy Joy was originally called Joylent and was created to be a copy of Soylent, which didn’t sell in Europe. After a polite request from Soylent, Joylent changed its name to Jimmy Joy. It is an obvious choice for Soylent alternatives because that is what it was designed for.
But Jimmy Joy is not a replica of Soylent, in many ways, it is a much better choice. It uses better ingredients, has more variety, and is priced similarly. It still uses soy protein isolate for its main protein source, and it has many other similarities to Soylent.
It can’t compete with Rootana or Instant Knockout, but it is a better meal replacement than Soylent, and therefore justifies its place in our list of the top five alternatives to Soylent. Check out our article on Jimmy Joy for a more in-depth look.
Final Thoughts on the Best Soylent Alternatives
Soylent may be one of the most recognisable names in the meal replacement industry, but it is by no means the best. The lack of availability globally is embarrassing and considering the size of the company it is also baffling.
But the product just isn’t that good. It cuts corners at every opportunity and delivers a high-fat meal replacement with little nutritional value and a whole host of unidentifiable ingredients. Is it really so hard to use oats, plant-based protein, MCT oils, and seeds?
If you are looking for a high-quality meal replacement, then Rootana, Instant Knockout Complete, or Huel are better choices. Or you could try Abnormal or Jimmy Joy, which are also useful alternatives in their own right. Our best meal replacements article discusses the top five alternatives and can help you find your perfect shake.