This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Bart Loews.

Can you subsist on supplements alone? Depends on what you mean by supplements

If you include meal replacements, weight gainers, and protein, you can get everything that you need. People claim to be subsisting on Soylent for extended periods of time (2+ years) and being fine.

Some Japanese scientists did animal studies that found that mice had a much higher glycemic response from eating liquid supplements instead of solid food. [1] They speculated that the mice got a lot of biological value from chewing.

Some people claim to have subsisted off a liquid supplement diet. Pexels

On paper Soylent might be “healthier” than a “typical” American diet [2] but that doesn’t mean that it’s actually healthy. It’s not food! It’s easily digested and doesn’t feel like food. You could probably survive on it for years. It remains to be seen how it will affect you after that, but in my opinion, it’s not a pleasant way to live.

If you’re referring to vitamins as supplements, multivitamins contain very little in the way of energy. A morbidly obese man once water fasted for over a year taking only multivitamins to lose weight and he was fine. [3] He subsisted. So if you’re only going to take multivitamins, you’d better be grossly over weight to survive for any amount of time.


[1] Powdered Food Alternatives Like Soylent May Be Harmful in the Long Term

[2] Soylent Is Healthier Than the Average North American Diet


More from Quora: