Hi there. Firstly, I completely understand if you aren’t interested in the product, but I saw your post and would like to take the opportunity to explain to you why we have made the choices we have.
A) I’m unsure how familiar you are with the various different soylent products around the world, but if you know of any of the ketogenic offerings from the US, you’ll know that the ketogenic offerings fall into one of two styles: ones which contain all of your daily Calories, either via the addition of nuts or by sending oil bottles with the products that you add yourself; and those that contain only the vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein and any applicable prebiotics.
Now on the face of things, I can understand why you may consider an option that contains all of the Calories and fats a better option, as it is simpler and seems to include more. However, there are several reasons we opted for a version where you add your own fats:
- This allows greater Caloric intake customisation, whilst still ensuring that you get all of your required vitamins and minerals for a day. Whilst we know some nutrients scale with Caloric intake, we also know that not all of them do, and that the scaling is not linear. As a result, our decision was that it would be better to include the required amounts in such a way that anyone could get at least 100% of everything, regardless of their desired Caloric intake. As ketosis is frequently used for weight loss, it seems reasonable people would consume less than a full 2000 Calories per day, and as such, would frequently lose out on nutrients if we chose to do it that way.
- By not including the fats in the form of nuts, we significantly cut down on either omega 6 (which has been shown to promote inflammation in anything more than modest quantities) or price (macadamia nuts, the only nuts high in monounsaturated fat but low in omega 6, are very expensive). As a new company, we also don’t have the facilities to bottle up oil bottles. As olive oil can be obtained cheaply (and for these shakes, light olive oil or pure olive oil - the cheaper forms - are preferred to virgin or extra-virgin due to the taste), we deemed this to be the better option.
- Simply put, the US companies that favour an ‘add-your-own fats’ approach are more popular than those that don’t. One of the primary reasons we started production in the first place was because I personally saw many threads on both the Soylent and the keto subreddits asking if there was an EU equivalent of Ketochow. Ketochow is one of the US options that requires you to add either your own fat or double cream for the Calories.
I should probably explain now why the addition of fats in large quantities is impossible without the use of nuts or people adding their own oil (be it pre-bottled and sent along or not) whilst non-keto companies manage fine. The reason for this is carbs. What a lot of companies (eg Joylent, Soylent, Queal etc) do to provide their fats is they mix it with maltodextrin to make an oil powder. Maltodextrin is a carbohydrate (and a high GI one at that) and therefore simply can not be used for ketosis. Judging by Huel’s recipe, most of the fat is obtained from either MCTs (from coconut) or flaxseed. The problem with using coconut for us is that it a) contains a lot of carbs for the amount required, and b) would not mix well with many of our flavours (our flavour selection is one of the things we are proud of). The problem with flaxseed is that there would be a great deal of omega 3 if we were to reach required carbohydrate targets, and omega 3 in high quantities can also lead to inflammation instead of preventing it. As such, none of the traditional methods for including fats in our product were open to us, so we had to choose between raising costs via the addition of expensive nuts and losing customisability, or keeping the Calories low and customisable, but requiring consumers to add their own fats. Based on the above I think we made the right choice, but if you think we should have gone the other way, I would be interested to hear, because we are working on further product releases, and can add a macadamia nut version if this is something you would like to see.
B) Regarding a crushed multivitamin and protein powder, there are a few things I’d like to respond with. Firstly, we are waiting on the release of an optimal micronutrient mix, which will be far better than a crushed multivitamin like we are currently using. We initially weren’t going to open for business until we had access to this mix and could use it straight away, but unfortunately due to delays, this is now not going to be available until mid-November (we were initially quoted early- to mid-August). We opened for business early, with v0.9, because people on our mailing list asked us to launch as they had been waiting for a ketogenic option in Europe for a long time. Additionally, there is more to our mix than just the protein and the multivitamin, though this may not be too clear currently. We include a fibre source that, whilst being low in net-carbs, is extremely high in fibre, to help with bowel and gastrointestinal health. This fibre source also adds to the flavour of the products, whilst also having prebiotic effects. In addition to that, we add electrolytes (which generally aren’t found in multivitamins, and when they are they are in low qualities and not very bioavailable forms) in quantities sufficient to entirely avoid ‘keto flu’ which a lot of people starting a ketogenic diet experience viciously in the first 3-7 days of starting - quantities higher than normal soylent products that don’t have to worry about stuff like keto flu.
I hope this goes some way to understanding our product choices and design, and if you have any questions, please let me know and I’d be happy to answer.