In short, ‘lents are meal replacements. However, as a general rule, they differ to other, more traditional meal replacements such as Ensure, Boost, etc in a few ways. Lents generally have less sugar, but more fibre and Calories per serving than other meal replacements. They are designed so that you could but do not necessarily have to use them as your sole source of nutrition and not suffer any deficiencies or find yourself malnourished. Trying to do this with other meal replacements would either not provide enough Calories, or would provide a dangerous excess of some vitamins. Ensure and Boost are designed to replace the occasional meal, often for those who are sick or trying to lose weight. Whilst ‘lents can be used for that purpose, they can also replace any meal you choose, and are more a tool of convenience that can be used to replace a meal when you don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing food, or money buying an expensive sandwich from a shop near your work. Though the concept of liquid nutrition is foreign to many people, ‘lents are just food, and should be thought of as such. Though it is possible to consume solely lent products, this is by no means a requirement, and certainly isn’t the norm.
From hereon in the guide, I will be assuming that you are familiar with the concept of lent products, and have decided you want to try one, but want some help deciding which. If you don’t want to read through the guide, feel very free to just pick and choose various options available to you and try them. This guide is primarily written for the purpose of helping those who are interested in the health and science aspects of lent products, those who want to design their own lent product (which is known as DIY soylent), or those who are just generally interested in nutrition and want to learn more.
For those new to meal replacements, the sheer amount of choice available can be overwhelming. Many people may see the potential of the industry, but may not have the time (or the interest) to research extensively enough to find the best product for them. Others may be confused by the amount of conflicting information online, or be unaware of recent news regarding nutritional science.
For those people, and for those who are just interested in nutrition and want to learn a little more about the topic, I have decided to create a series of blog posts aiming to help you with your choices. For the most part, these will make no specific references to brands or products available in order to remain as objective as possible. Additionally, the contents of this guide will focus more on what the healthiest (from my reasonably extensive research) choices are, as opposed to the cheapest. Additionally, there will be certain sections that will not apply to every person’s chosen diet for example, I’m intending to include a section on carbohydrates this, naturally, will not be particularly applicable to those wishing to follow a ketogenic diet. I will, however, be giving some ideas in these posts about the best ingredients for someone to purchase if wanting to make a DIY soylent.
In the interests of full disclosure, and before I release more of these guides, the following points are important:
1) I am the head of Genesis Food Solutions, a lent company. Currently we only offer a ketogenic product and a phytonutrient mix, but we will be releasing a non-ketogenic product reasonably soon. In making these products, I have obviously tried to incorporate as much of my research into what is optimal as possible, and I will reference that same knowledge in this guide. However, that is not to say that the products we offer will be perfect for everyone it is my personal belief they have several significant benefits over other brands, but I want this guide to be as objective as possible, and as such, I will not be mentioning any of our products again. I would also encourage anyone who believes I have made any mistake (or deliberately put incorrect information for personal benefit) to comment on the specific guide part it comes from, to further prevent the possibility of bias influencing consumers? choices.
2) I am not a medical professional, and nor do I (currently) hold a formal qualification in nutrition. I am working on a Master’s Degree in biomedical sciences currently, and a number of my modules have a nutritional basis. However, most of what I have learnt about nutrition has been in my own time, in which I have researched the topic fairly extensively. I will be researching further as I write these guide parts for the topics I am less sure on, but just like anyone else, there is a chance I may misunderstand certain topics. For that reason, just as I said in point 1, I encourage anyone who notices something wrong with anything in any of these guide parts to comment on them to that effect. I will be listing a decent amount of sources at the end of each guide section that you can feel free to check to further expand your knowledge of each section if you are interested. This guide is not only designed to help others select the best lent for them, but also to help me develop my own knowledge, both out of interest and to improve future iterations of my products.
3) Some people believe that a diet of whole foods will provide some nutrients that we don’t yet know enough about to reliably supplement them, and therefore that whole foods will always be healthier than lent products. I am not one of these people. I believe we do know enough about nutrition to provide a close to perfect diet (especially if supplementing with various fruit/vegetable extracts to intake their respective phytonutrients). I also believe that, over many centuries, farming has removed a lot of the goodness that was initially in a lot of plants, and as such the argument that because an ingredient is natural it must be better for you is flawed. For more information into the sort of changes I am referring to, please see here. I am also pro-GMO, though this likely won’t come up in any guide parts, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find non-GMO versions of the ingredients I recommend if you so choose.
4) As some of you may have noticed already from this post, I am quite prone to writing a lot of text. Whilst I will try to summarise points near the end of each section, I can’t promise everything will be mentioned in this summary. That is why I have made the choice to separate this guide into parts instead of editing one guide with all of the sections.
I have not yet fully decided all of the sections that will be included in this guide. However, my plan currently is to have the following sections (though I may change orders or content, and may break down sections into sub-sections if the length becomes too great):
Part 1: Introduction (this section).
Part 2: Calories Calculating your TDEE and what it means.
Part 3: Macronutrient ratios for different situations.
Part 4a: Carbohydrates Basic overview, sugars and starches.
Part 4b: Carbohydrates Fibre
Part 4c: Carbohydrates Glycemic index and glycemic load.
Part 5a: Proteins Basic overview, amino acids.
Part 5b: Proteins Protein sources and their digestibility.
Part 6a: Fats Basic overview, monounsaturated fatty acids and trans fats.
Part 6b: Fats Saturated fats and MCT fats. Basics of cholesterol.
Part 6c: Fats Polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Part 7: Cholesterol.
Part 8a: Micronutrients Basic overview, overview of bioavailability, various RDAs of micronutrients and other intake recommendations.
Part 8b: Micronutrients Vitamins [A, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) & B3 (niacin)] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8c: Micronutrients Vitamins [B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin) & B9 (folic acid)] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8d: Micronutrients Vitamins [B12, C, D & E] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8e: Micronutrients Vitamins [K & choline] & minerals [calcium & chromium] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8f: Micronutrients Minerals [chloride, copper, iodine & iron] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8g: Micronutrients Vitamins [magnesium, manganese, molybdenum & phosphorus] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8h: Micronutrients Vitamins [potassium, selenium, sodium & zinc] uses, my personal recommended intake, sources and bioavailability.
Part 8i: Micronutrients Other micronutrients.
Part 8j: Micronutrients Interactions between micronutrients.
Part 9: Phytonutrients.
Part 10: Other nutrients.
Part 11: FAQs.
That’s pretty much the end of this introduction. Naturally if there is no interest in these guides at all, I may take longer breaks in between each part than if people are eagerly awaiting the next instalment. However, my intention is to eventually get the entire guide written up regardless.
If you have any questions about a particular part, post a comment and I will respond as quickly as I can. I will also add any comments asked on the subject (either on the guide or messaged to me privately) to the FAQs section at the end, and provide answers there.
I hope this guide provides help or interest to some of you, and if anyone has any suggestions then let me know.