Would you willingly give up fresh fruit salad, a juicy burger topped with all your favorites and a heaping ice cream sundae for a grayish, sometimes chunky, but admittedly delicious, liquid meal? Soylent, a controversial Silicon Valley operation, is hoping you’ll give it a try. Their team is singlehandedly trying to replace traditional food with a powder-turned-liquid that delivers all the nutrients the human body needs. Unsurprisingly, there has been massive backlash about the product, and the questions about its effectiveness are never-ending. First of all, meal-replacement powders aren’t new—they were pioneered by Scott Connelly in the 90s and copycats have been trying to create a successful version ever since—so what makes Soylent different? Another point of debate is how truly universal this type of diet can be. One size does not fit all when it comes to food, so how can Soylent say it works for everyone? Think about diabetics and others with pre-existing medical conditions that restrict diet? Also, how can the creators of Soylent purport to know every single nutrient the human body needs to survive? Do they know something the rest of us don’t?
One Business Insider employee decided to delay his judgment on Soylent until he did a proper experiment and gave it a whirl himself–he cut out meals and food and replaced them with heaping glasses full of Soylent morning, noon and night for two weeks. His results? It works…really well. The pros were never-ending: it is affordable (only $4.04/meal), it tastes like a vanilla milkshake, it makes you more alert, and it saves you time (because making a Soylent meal takes 5 minutes to get ingredients, assemble and consume). The cons? Digestive-related results will vary. He was able to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet on Soylent alone, and also achieved success mixing normal, food-based meals in with the purely liquid-based Soylent meals. In the end, Soylent proved its value as a quick, healthy and inexpensive meal-option for increasingly busy people.