Anderson Cooper is known for being a pretty busy guy. Between anchoring a CNN show five nights a week, hosting 60 Minutes, and running his two-man show with Andy Cohen, it seems like he requires a Harry Potter Time-Turner just to get through the day.
Since that interview, Cooper has apparently caught onto Soylent, a drink that's engineered to be a meal replacement. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Cooper said that he exclusively drinks Soylent. "I don't care about food," he said. "So I'm trying to replace all food with [Soylent] because it would be, like, three fewer decisions in a day." There's a lot going on here.
First thing's first: What even is Soylent? Soylent is a soy-based shake drink that's supposed to provide you with "the elements of a nutritious diet" in a bottle. There are different Soylent flavors, like chocolate, strawberry, and coffee, but it's not exactly sought after for its taste. Soylent is, however, packed with macronutrients that provide energy — like fat, protein, and carbs.
Technically, Soylent could be consumed as a meal replacement, although the brand specifically says on its website that "it is not intended to replace every meal." Instead, Soylent's website claims the drinks are meant to fill you up in moments when you need a meal, but don't have time or access to food. This is why Soylent is big with Silicon Valley bros who are trying to hack their day to save time, or backpackers who literally do not have food available. And apparently people like Cooper, who but want sustenance without having to think about it.
Look, everyone is different and everyone has a different relationship to food. Since we don't know Cooper, or anything about his personal history with food besides what's been covered in other news outlets, it's tough to make any assumptions about why he drinks soy sludge instead of eating solid food. But, if you are also a very busy person who is constantly struggling to find quick healthful meals, you might be curious about Soylent. So, could Soylent be a smart option for you?
Well, it's important to remember that food is not just fuel. "Food and nutrition is about so much more than just the macronutrients and micronutrients," says Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, a dietitian who specializes in intuitive eating, and creator of the Ditch the Diet Challenge. "Food is something that is meant to be enjoyed, not for the vitamins, minerals or fiber it provides, but for the taste and the pleasure it brings us."
In fact, research has shown that when you eat food that you enjoy, your body absorbs the nutrients better. That's one of the many reasons why so many registered dietitians promote intuitive eating, which is the idea that you should listen to your body's cravings and hunger cues to determine when and what to eat, and stop when you feel satisfied. "By focusing on just the macro or micronutrients, we overlook these important health benefits," Rumsey says.
As far as Soylent's nutritional value, it is made of really useful macronutrients and micronutrients, Rumsey says. Carbs give us energy, fat is necessary for our bodies and brains to function, and protein is basically the building block of the body. "But no one would ever eat any of those ingredients on their own," which is why they don't make sense isolated in a boring drink, she says.
So, ultimately using Soylent from time to time in dire circumstances — like, if you are stranded in nature, or in some dystopian end-of-the-world scenario — isn't bad or unhealthy, Rumsey says. "But I would never recommend it over the experience and taste of real food," she says. Who knows? Maybe Cooper truly does enjoy and savor the taste and experience of slurping a soy three times a day. But perhaps watching the 1973 Sci-Fi film, Soylent Green, might make him think twice before reaching for a bottle.