Carbohydrates are one of three main macronutrients in Soylent, together with fat an protein.

Types of carbohydratesEdit

There are four types of carbohydrates.

  • Monosaccharites are the most basic form of carbohydrates, being one element large. Examples of monosaccharides are glucose, fructose and ribose. Monosaccharides are the building blocks of the larger saccharides.
  • Disaccharides are carbohydrates consisting of two monosaccharides. Examples of disaccharides are sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar) and maltose.
  • Oligosaccharides are longer chains of monosaccharides, usually 3 to 10 units long.
  • Polysaccharides are large chains of saccharides, usually more than 10 units long. Examples of polysaccharides are starch and cellulose.

Nutritional functionEdit

Carbohydrates are primarily an energy source for the human body, but carbohydrates serve much more essential functions. Every living cell can break down carbohydrates via the so called cellular respiration, which produces energy. All carbohydrates give approximately 4 calories of energy per gram.




Sucrose: a disaccharide of glucose (left) and fructose (right), important molecules in the body. Source:


Most monosaccharides are easily absorbed in the small intestine and are directly available to the rest of the body.


Disaccharides are digested in the small intestine. Here they are broken down by enzymes like sacharase, lactase or maltase into monosaccharides.


Oligosaccharides begin digestion in the mouth, where the enzyme amylase breaks down the longer saccharide chains into disaccharides, which are then further digested in the small intestine.


Most polysaccharides, like cellulose and chitin, are undigestible by most mammals. Starch, however, is digested the same way as the oligosaccharides.


The undigestible part of the oligo- and polysaccharides is called fiber. Fibers are a food source for the gut bacteria and help the digestion by making food more movable through the intestines. Fiber also helps slow down the absorption of fast carbs.

Glycemic indexEdit

One important measure of all carbohydrates is the glycemic index. The GI measures how fast carbs are absorbed by the body. Per definition, glucose is set to have a glycemic index of 100, so is a carbohydrate has a GI over 100, it is absorbed faster than pure glucose. All carbs with a GI of over 70 are said to be fast carbs, whereas all carbs with a GI under 55 are said to be slow.

Consuming high amounts of fast carbs can result in a sugar rush, usually followed by a sugar crash. For this reason it is advisable to combine fast and slow carbs in your soylent.

Sources of carbohydratesEdit

There are a lot of forms of carbohydrates you can put in your soylent.

An overview of different carbohydrates
Carb Type Chemical makeup GI
Table sugar (sucrose) Disaccharide

Disaccharide of fructose and glucose

Glucose (dextrose)


Glucose 100
Maltodextrin Oligosaccharide Chains of glucose units 130
Isomaltulose (palatinose) Disaccharide Disaccharide of fructose and glucose 32
High Fructose Corns Syrup Monosaccharide 55% fructose, 42% glucose, 3% other 73
Agave Syrup Monosaccharide 92% fructose, 8% glucose 30

Simple Carbohydrate sourcesEdit


Fructose can only be metabolised in the liver. Consuming large amounts of fructose may cause a high load on the liver.


Ans isemer of sucrose, Isomaltulose is a disaccharide of fructose and glucose. It is metabolised much slower than sucrose, which contributes to a low GI. It is less researched than other carbohydrates, because it only occurs in small quantities in nature.

Complex carbohydrate sourcesEdit

While you can choose to use a pure form of carbohydrate for your soylent, some people prefer a more complex mix of carbs, or a more natural makeup of the carb landscape.


In the current version of the offcial soylent the main source of carbs is oat powder. Oats are a natural product, which also contains protein and fat besides carbohydrates. Oat flour consists of 56% complex carbs (oligosaccharides and polysacchrides) and 10% dietary fiber, and is considered a source of slow carbs.