Soylent, the beige, one-size-fits-all nutrient powder whose name recalls a movie about eating people, just upgraded its formula to version 1.1 a few days ago. Conveniently, the order I placed back in May — before my month-long experiment — just arrived yesterday, so I wanted to give the upgrade a quick test. Is it better? Is it easier on the stomach?
Actually, Soylent 1.1 involves a few changes, so let's go through them one by one:
- Smaller shipping containers: I can attest that they are indeed significantly smaller — each box, a week's supply, is roughly half the size of the old one. It might not make a difference if you're living in a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch, but it's a welcome change in my shoebox of a Manhattan apartment.
- Redesigned oil bottles: You need to dump a little bottle of oil into each pitcher of Soylent that you prepare, and the old bottles — they looked like travel shampoos — could get a little messy. I had a couple leak just enough to coat the outside with a thin, slippery film. The new bottles are shorter and look more robust, but we'll see if any eventually leak.
- "Powder-resistant" zippers: I don't know what Soylent is talking about here. Each bag of powder, one day's worth of Soylent, has a tearable top with a resealable zipper underneath. That's not new, and it's not any cleaner than before. I tore the package open last night and Soylent dust spilled all over my sink.
And then there's the powder itself, which has two major changes. First, they've halved the sucralose, which makes it less sweet (Soylent says the idea is to make it easier to adapt to different recipes). Plain, prepared Soylent 1.1 is definitely noticeably less sweet than 1.0, but not by much. I was worried it would require me to add an extra step to the nightly preparation by throwing a packet of sweetener in the batch, but it's really not enough of a change to matter.
Mmm, digestive enzymes
Finally, let's talk about the biggest change: the addition of "a blend of digestive enzymes" designed to combat intestinal discomfort and gas that many original Soylent drinkers complained about. I'm now two servings into 1.1, and I feel like a champion, so I guess they're working — then again, I never had severe problems with the old formula, so your mileage may vary.
And that's it. It's still a fairly strange-tasting product and concept that most people probably won't be into. For current Soylent users, you'll be just fine with 1.1. And if you're curious and considering taking the plunge, know that it's slightly easier to use than it used to be.