In September 2016, I spent a month subsisting mainly on Soylent for a story. Since then I've been a big fan of nutritionally complete omnimeals, which include all the nutrients you need to survive and not much else. I've extensively tested the competitors, but when I made my most recent order I still went back to Soylent.
Queal could change that. This Netherlands-based complete meal provider has a line of powdered complete meals that covers some of Soylent's weak spots.
Queal only exists because while Soylent invented the genre, they didn't ship to Europe. And while Soylent pivoted hard from powder to its pre-bottled offerings, which now include a full line of cafe drinks that can compete with Starbucks, the company's powder only comes in two flavors, regular and cocoa.
Queal, in contrast, is still deep into powder. The samples they sent me include strawberry, vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate and "funky fruit forest." The flavors are mild and pleasant, and not very memorable. That's a compliment. The original Soylent was supposed to taste like "nothing," but it turns out it's easier to make something taste like nothing than to actually achieve nothingness—"nothing" just tastes like almond milk. A very mild hazelnut flavor is much preferable to me.
The other big difference is the lower fat content. I'm no nutritionist, but everyone should know by now that while fat is a dirty word, you need a lot of fat to function properly. It also helps keep foods stable and helps you feel full. So Soylent's new batches of the Original "nothing flavor" in bottled form go heavy on the fat, including 32 percent of your daily value instead of 20 percent. If you subsistent on nothing but Soylent Original in bottles you'd end up with 160 percent of your daily value of fat.
Moreover, you'd also be extremely full. For good and ill, a bottle of Soylent can feel like a brick in your belly. Queal, in contrast, leaves me sated but not stuffed. I tend to water it down a little more than necessary, which gives me a good four hours of fuel at a time.
Since it uses fat to make you feel full, Soylent is also a little light on fiber. A bottle of Soylent Original only has 12 percent, meaning you'd be well short of the daily recommendation if you drank five bottles to get 2,000 calories. Queal, in contrast, has 51 percent of the recommended daily amount in each serving, meaning you'd end the day with 150 percent of the recommended amount of fiber.
Queal is currently offering free shipping on orders over $60 and a free shaker with your first order on its U.S. site here.
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