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Has anyone tried going on a bicycle tour fueled by meal replacements like Soylent or alternatives?

Can you carry more food like this, could it give you more range, or open up areas of the map that don't have good food or food at all?

Open to any thoughts and impressions on the topic.

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    That makes me feel sick just thinking about it! – Argenti Apparatus May 3 '18 at 11:54
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    I've done long rides with just gels, which are similar in concept. My guts start crying out for solid food after a couple of hours, which is... performance-limiting. – Criggie May 4 '18 at 5:18
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Just living off that stuff requires your digestive system to adjust, so if you try it you should build it into your diet well in advance, and as a major component. Don't forget to take into account how much extra you need compared to a typical lifestyle.

It can't really save you any weight compared to other dehydrated foods, as a gram of carbs is a gram of carbs (same for protein or fat) , but it might save you some bulk compared to something like ramen (with whey powder drinks on the side). For all dehydrated (i.e. lightweight) options access to water is critical.

A further thought is that if we accept that these are perfect/balanced/complete nutrition as they claim, then complete for what? Your energy needs when touring will go up (assuming you're ordinarily fairly sedentary), but not all your micronutrient needs will (to some extent your body can adjust these), and fibre could go either way. Sodium needs will depend on how much you sweat, which in turn depends on you and the climate as well as the effort level.

On the other hand I was reading recently about a solo tour on remote roads fuelled by ramen. Even though he didn't really have enough, I got the impression he was sick of the stuff after a week.

There are advantages to these products: they don't need cooking, saving time and fuel. In the extreme case that could mean not carrying a stove or cooking pans (prepare it in your water bottle). However in most climates I reckon most people would want the ability to have a hot meal or hot drink, and if you're relying on finding water, boiling it is a good idea (though I'm told that unflavoured Huel is disgusting, maybe water treatment tablets would improve the flavour!).

Overall I can see a role for them as part of a diet plan, so long as you've got good access to water and get on with them.

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    Getting sick of having the same thing over and over is no joke. I thought if it tastes OK you should have no problem. But I tried Whole Fuel for a day yesterday and I couldn't finish the recommended 5 × 100g. – Leeroy May 4 '18 at 9:55
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Their website says $3.25 USD per 400 kCal,

Tour de France riders will consume 5000 kCal on a flat day up to 7000 kCal per hilly day.

The common quoted daily amount is 2,000 kCal for a female and 2,500 kCal for a male and that's for a normal day's activities. When touring you could easily double that.

Picking a round number of 4,000 kCal, is 10 bottles of that stuff every day, at a cost of $32.50. And that's 10 bottles of heavy liquid to carry for each day.

As a test, try getting a box of a dozen, and drinking it for a solid day. See how you feel, and do report back to share the experience.

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    It may be possible to buy the industrial powder used to make the product, saving weight. – Criggie May 4 '18 at 5:17
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    Some quick math on the price of powder suggests the same 4,000 kCal would come out at $15.40 a day, and you'd be carrying 900g/day of powder. – Marius May 4 '18 at 6:18
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    As a comparison to the figures @Marius gives: Instant noodles (ramen) would give you 4000kCal in 850g for about $5.40 (or less; I know I can get them cheaper but wanted to link to a source of nutrition info). – Chris H May 4 '18 at 8:43
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    @ChrisH You need to drink much more fundamentally than you need to eat. So if you can’t find water, that is already a potentially fatal problem, regardless of whether your food is dehydrated. (Except insofar as non-dehydrated food contains some water so eating it helps meet your water needs.) – David Richerby May 4 '18 at 10:02
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    @DavidRicherby that's absolutely true. In a hypothetical situation where you have access to water only at overnight stops you may have enough bottle space to carry a day's worth of drinking water, but not enough to rehydrate food as well (I've done a little oasis-to-oasis desert trekking in the dim and distant past). – Chris H May 4 '18 at 11:03

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