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Meal replacement shakes aren’t for everybody, but if you are interested in them, then you’ve probably heard of Soylent. Conceived by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who felt that the time and effort required to eat healthy was distracting them from more important work, Soylent is probably the best known ‘total meal replacement’ out there today.
It launched in 2013 and named after a meal product in the 1966 science fiction novel Make Room! Make Room! (which the movie Soylent Green was based on). Soylent went viral after before its launch and ended up with over $2 million in preorders; a huge success.
Soylent’s popularity naturally spawned some competitors, one of which will be the focus of today’s comparison article. That company is Joylent, which was renamed ‘Jimmy Joy’ in February 2017 to change the perception that it was a mere Soylent clone.
If meal replacement shakes are your thing then by the end of this comparison article, you will be able to make a much more educated decision as to which is the better one for you: Soylent, or Joylent/Jimmy Joy? Let’s find out.
- 1 Joylent (now Jimmy Joy) vs. Soylent: Which Is the Better Meal Replacement Product for You?
- 2 Micronutrient Breakdown
- 3 Protein Sources
- 4 Carbohydrate Sources
- 5 Fat Sources
- 6 Other Beneficial Ingredients
- 7 Value for Money
- 8 Final Verdict
Joylent (now Jimmy Joy) vs. Soylent: Which Is the Better Meal Replacement Product for You?
We’ve talked about Soylent quite extensively on this site in other detailed comparison articles (See our articles on Soylent vs. Ensure and Soylent vs. Huel). Hence, we don’t want to go into too much detail on Soylent itself since it has been so thoroughly discussed and reviewed.
Instead, we will go straight into a head to head comparison of Soylent and Joylent/Jimmy Joy so you can see right off the bat how they compare to each other.
Further, both companies have expanded their product line to include various types of shakes as well as bars. In this comparison article we will touch only on the shakes, but instead of reviewing them individually we will be looking more at the
As we mentioned above, Soylent was founded in 2013 in Silicon Valley. Joylent was actually founded not much later, in 2014. However, it is based in the Netherlands and while they ship worldwide, their customer base trends European while Soylent’s trends American.
Let’s first compare them by looking at their basic nutrition labels. What does each of these products contain? Note that Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s shake is called the ‘Plenny Shake’ for some unknown reason.
|Soylent||Soylent Powder (v1.8)||Soylent Drink||Soylent Cafe|
|Calories||400 calories||400 calories||400 calories|
*These sugars are actually isomaltulose which while required to be classified as sugars under FDA regulations, actually function more like a slow-acting carbohydrate. More details are in the ‘Carbohydrate Sources’ section.
Soylent has kept all three of its main products very similar. As you can see there is barely any variation to them. The Café version, of course, contains caffeine, in addition to l-theanine.
|Joylent/Jimmy Joy||Regular||Vegan||Sport||Wake Up|
|Calories||397 calories||391 calories||392 calories||393 calories|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||Not Stated||Not Stated||Not Stated||Not Stated|
|Monounsaturated Fat||Not Stated||Not Stated||Not Stated||Not Stated|
Note: Joylent/Jimmy Joy has two serving options, 100g listed above and 175g. The company considers the 175g serving the ‘official’ serving, however, we are listing the 100g serving here instead for easier comparison.
The difference between the regular and the vegan Plenny Shake versions are the sources of protein. Plenny Shake regular uses whey protein whereas the vegan version uses soy, rice, and hemp protein. The Wake Up version is caffeinated (200mg per serving) while the Sport version contains beta-alanine, glucosamine, l-carnitine, and creatine monohydrate as extra ingredients.
Comparing Joylent/Jimmy Joy and Soylent based solely on the tables above, we see that both products have about the same calorie count. However, Joylent/Jimmy Joy has a higher protein and carb content while Soylent is more biased toward fats.
In terms of their macronutrient breakdown, Soylent has a protein/carbohydrate/fat ratio of about 20%/35%/45%. On the other hand, Joylent/Jimmy Joy has a breakdown of about 25%/42%/23%.
So based on this macronutrient breakdown, which one is better for you? It really depends on your own dietary principles. Some people would prefer a higher carbohydrate bias while some would prefer a higher fat bias. Of course, this also depends on what kind of sources comprise these macronutrients, which we would go into now.
Another thing that stands out is that Joylent/Jimmy Joy has double to triple the sodium content of Soylent. Not a big deal, but if you are watching your sodium intake, it’s definitely a negative for Joylent/Jimmy Joy.
Verdict: Depends on your dietary preferences. We cannot give you a clear ‘winner’ in this case as it really depends on whether you prefer a fat or carbohydrate bias. Also, we will be going into the sources of each individual macronutrient further down.
Now, let’s see what kind of micronutrients both products will provide. In the case of Soylent it’s easy; based on a 2,000 calorie diet, each serving of Soylent (all products) will give you 20% of your daily requirements of the following vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin D, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B5, iodine, zinc, copper, chromium, choline, calcium, potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B9, biotin, magnesium, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum.
Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake contains about the same vitamins and minerals as Soylent, with each serving delivering about 19% of your daily requirements. However, certain vitamins and minerals do have a much higher dosage, namely Vitamin D, Vitamin B1, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and molybdenum.
All the Plenny Shake products, with the exception of Plenny Shake Sport have the same micronutrient profile (Plenny Shake Sport provides about 20% less vitamins and minerals).
Verdict: We have to give the slight edge to Joylent/Jimmy Joy for this one (excepting the Plenny Shake Sport product). While most of the micronutrient profiles match, the fact that Joylent/Jimmy Joy gives a higher percentage of certain vitamins and minerals makes it the slight winner in this category.
We’ve previously established that Joylent/Jimmy Joy has more protein per serving compared to Soylent, by a significant 25% to 30%. This alone can give it the edge in many people’s eyes. But let’s see where each product gets its protein from.
Soylent, as befits its name, uses soy protein as its main protein source. Soy protein, like whey protein, is a complete source of protein. However, unlike whey protein, it does have one significant drawback, particularly for men and that is its potential testosterone lowering effects.
We must stress the use of the word ‘potential’ here because the extent of these effects, if any, have been quite contradictory based on studies conducted.
For instance, one study showed that men who had excessive soy protein intake had significantly decreased serum testosterone levels (by about 19%). The men in this study consumed 56g of soy protein a day. However, this was a small study with only 12 participants.
But other studies contradict this finding. This article provides a good summary of what the current research shows. One study with subjects on 20g of soy protein a day showed no effects of lowered testosterone.
Another one had a much higher 50g of soy protein daily not only showed no lowered testosterone, but also a similar increase in lean body mass as the control group which consumed whey protein instead.
Hence, the conclusion is rather inconclusive, but the research appears to trend that soy protein is perfectly fine, especially at moderate amounts. However, we are well aware that some men would rather not take the chance and avoid soy protein completely.
Finally, we note that soy protein is better for digestion compared to whey protein due to the lack of lactose, which is probably why Soylent opted for soy protein over whey protein (as well as to advertise it as being dairy-free).
Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake, as mentioned, use whey protein for most of its products and vegan protein for its Vegan shake. In this case, it is whey protein concentrate which is the least processed form of whey, containing about 80% protein by weight and also a higher amount of fats and lactose.
It also contains soy flour and ground flaxseeds which also provides a bit of protein, although they are not the main source.
As for its vegan shake, the combination of soy, rice, and hemp protein is adequate, although, in terms of its amino acid profile, it still is not as good as whey. One thing that is certain is that you will be getting far less BCAAs, as whey protein has about 26% BCAAs by weight.
However, since this is catered to vegans, it is not a big deal and those who want a more complete form of protein can just opt for the other Plenny Shake variants.
Verdict: We are going to give Joylent/Jimmy Joy the edge on this one. Not only does it have significantly more protein, but we consider whey protein to be a superior source of protein compared to soy protein, especially if you are a male. However, if you are lactose intolerant, then Soylent or the Plenny Shake Vegan might be a better choice.
Now let’s look at the carbohydrate sources of both these products. As mentioned, Joylent/Jimmy Joy has a slightly higher carb content at about 42% of total calories versus 35%. Soylent’s carbs come from three main sources: modified food starches, maltodextrin, and isomaltulose.
Modified food starches are a starch derived from waxy maize. It is a rather common source of carbs in supplements. What we like about it is that it is a complex carbohydrate; slow acting and has even been shown to be able to help moderate the blood glucose and insulin response.
Maltodextrin is another common carbohydrate source found in supplements, but unlike the above, we don’t like it all. It is a low-cost simple carbohydrate that has an extremely high glycemic index value from 85 to 105. To put this into perspective, 100 is pure glucose, and table sugar has a value of about 65. Further, it has also been linked with negative changes in the composition of gut bacteria.
Thirdly, we have isomaltulose, which is responsible for the ‘sugar’ content in Soylent, which is deceptively high. Isomaltulose, despite being officially classified as a sugar, actually acts more like a complex carb. Its Glycemic Index value has been measured at 32, which is low.
It has been shown to be digested 4.5 times more slowly compared to sucrose with only a gradual and moderate effect on blood sugar levels.
Finally, we have fiber. Soylent’s fiber comes either from corn fiber (powder) or oat powder (drinks). At 4 to 5g per serving, this is adequate although nothing special. Overall, Soylent has a moderate glycemic index value of about 40 to 45, which is good. However, we note that its quality isn’t the best as it’s clear that the manufacturer had placed cost efficiency high on the priority list.
Moving on to Joylent/Jimmy Joy, the Plenny Shake has been described as ‘liquid oatmeal’. This is a very appropriate as is its primary source of carbs is oats and maltodextrin. So for those gluten-free people out there, keep in mind that this product is definitely not gluten-free.
Soylent, on the other hand, does not have any ingredients that naturally contain gluten (except through potential cross-contamination). This is an important point for those who are watching their gluten intake.
Just like in Soylent, we don’t like the use of maltodextrin. Unlike Soylent, Joylent/Jimmy Joy does not report the GI content of Plenny Shake, although oatmeal has a GI value of about 38. Hence, it is likely that Plenny Shake might have a higher GI value compared to Soylent.
In terms of fiber, Plenny Shake has a much amount; from 50% to up to 100%. The fiber is provided mainly by ground flaxseed plus the fiber found in oatmeal.
We like the fiber from the flaxseed, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels as well as alleviate constipation and diarrhea. The sugar content is also quite reasonable and appears to come from the dried fruit/cacao powder it uses for flavoring purposes.
Verdict: Both contain maltodextrin which is a negative but cancels each other out. When comparing the remaining carb sources of oatmeal versus isomaltulose and modified food starches, we will give the edge to oatmeal as a more natural source of carbohydrates.
Further, bonus points are given to Joylent/Jimmy Joy for its higher fiber content. That said, if you are watching your gluten intake, you might be better off with Soylent. Also, Soylent has much less actual sugar by comparison.
Soylent is much more fat-biased compared to Joylent/Jimmy Joy, by almost double. Its fat comes from high oleic canola oil (powder) or canola and sunflower oil (drink). These are good sources of fats (mostly unsaturated) and will give you beneficial Omega fatty acids.
In particular, canola oil is much healthier than people think, having been shown to improve fat oxidization and insulin sensitivity while reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Soylent also has soy lecithin, which may benefit your cholesterol levels.
Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake has ground flaxseed and soy flour as its primary fat sources. Both of these provide mostly unsaturated fats and are an awesome source of heart-healthy Omega-3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.
Flaxseed is higher in Omega-3 while soy flour is higher in Omega-6. In particular, flaxseed is high in alpha-linolenic acid, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart attacks, stroke, and even chronic kidney disease.
Verdict: In terms of fat sources, we rate them about equal in terms of the quality of the fat sources. However, you have to keep in mind that Soylent has about double the fat of the Plenny Shake, so it could be argued that Soylent takes it based on quantity alone.
Other Beneficial Ingredients
Other than what we’ve listed for the macronutrients, the only other beneficial ingredients found in Soylent come in the Soylent Café drink. In addition to caffeine, it also has taurine, very common in energy drinks that may improve blood flow.
Joylent/Jimmy Joy puts a lot more of these beneficial ingredients in their Plenny Shakes. The Plenny Shake Vegan and Wake Up, for instance, contain beta alanine. Although the amount of beta-alanine was not stated, it is still positive. Beta-alanine has been shown to improve exercise performance in exercises lasting from one to four minutes.
Plenny Shake Sport is where the other ingredients really shine. In addition to beta-alanine, it also has creatine monohydrate, glucosamine sulfate, and l-carnitine.
Creatine monohydrate will definitely improve your power output and help your athletic performance; particularly useful in strength sports. However, keep in mind that it will not work ‘immediately’ like beta-alanine or caffeine; it needs time to build up in your muscles.
Glucosamine, derived from shellfish, is used mainly as a joint health supplement. There have been mixed reviews about its effectiveness although some studies have shown that it can help with symptoms of osteoarthritis, reduce collagen degradation, and improve range of motion in an injured joint.
L-carnitine is a substance involved in mitochondrial protection and energy metabolism.
L-carnitine supplementation has been shown to bring a host of benefits including improved cognition, reduced ADHD symptoms, higher anaerobic energy production, improved insulin sensitivity, lower fatigue and better body composition, lower blood sugar levels, and improved recovery from exercise. It may even improve sperm quality!
In short, this is a great ingredient to have in a supplement (particularly a sports supplement). The only drawback is that just like the other ingredients, Joylent/Jimmy Joy does not disclose the individual amount.
This means that while we can tell you how beneficial these ingredients are, we cannot say how effective they would be without knowing the amounts present.
Verdict: Despite not disclosing the individual quantities of the ingredients, Joylent/Jimmy Joy still comes out clearly ahead of Soylent in this category by sheer variety alone.
If you are going to be replacing some of your meals with either Soylent or Joylent/Jimmy Joy, then taste is a huge factor. Unless you are one of the rare outliers who can consume bland food for months on end (like bodybuilders and dry chicken breast with broccoli), then knowing how each product tastes is extremely important.
Soylent is not known for its taste. It is considered ‘neutral at best’, with its flavor best being described as a ‘gritty half and half’. Of course, this is the unflavored powder version, so you can always mix it with something more flavorful, such as milk.
Soylent’s drink versions, fortunately, are better tasting. They come in Original and Cacao and taste more like milk with a vanilla tinge (with some chocolate fudge thrown in in the case of the Cacao and coffee in the case of the Cafe). Most of the sweetness in Soylent comes from sucralose (Splenda), a common artificial sweetener.
As for Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake, the regular version comes in five flavors: Banana, Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Mango. A good description of the taste of Plenny Shake is ‘flavored oatmeal’, for obvious reasons.
Most users seem to find a couple flavors that they like and stick to it. Also, do note that the Plenny Shake Vegan is rated as tasting worse than the regular version, as is the case with most vegan products. Just like Soylent, the Plenny Shakes also use sucralose as an artificial sweetener.
Verdict: Taste is highly subjective, so you shouldn’t take our verdict too seriously for this category. That being said, we will give the edge to Joylent/Jimmy Joy just because of the flavor variety; unlike Soylent powder which only comes unflavored.
Value for Money
Last but definitely not least, let’s see which product delivers more bang for your buck. Before we go into this section, do note that we are using prices from their respective official websites.
Further, we are not addressing shipping costs, which may be a significant factor in the equation, particularly since Soylent is more America-based whilst Joylent/Jimmy Joy is more European-based (despite both companies shipping to both Europe and America).
Since both Soylent and the Plenny Shake have approximately 400 calories per serving, they are easily comparable on a price per serving basis. Here’s how they stack up.
|Soylent||Price per Serving||Joylent/Jimmy Joy||Price per Serving|
|Powder||$1.83 (powder pouch)|
$2.83 (powder tub)
|Powder||$1.14 (15 bags)|
$1.26 (10 bags)
$1.37 (5 bags)
|Drink (Original)||$2.83||Vegan||$1.14 (15 bags)|
$1.26 (10 bags)
$1.37 (5 bags)
|Soylent Drink (Cacao)||$3.25||Sport||$1.51 (15 bags)|
$1.61 (10 bags)
$1.71 (5 bags)
|Café||$3.25||Wake Up||$1.49 (15 bags)|
$1.60 (10 bags)
$1.71 (5 bags)
Note: Plenny Shake prices are originally in Euro. Conversion of 1 EUR = 1.2USD was used.
Verdict: The numbers are clear. In all cases, Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake is significantly cheaper compared to Soylent. It is the clear winner in this category.
As we reach the end of this comparison article, the final verdict is clear. Just looking at which product comes out on top in each individual category, it is clear that Joylent/Jimmy Joy’s Plenny Shake comes out ahead of Soylent.
This is not to say that Soylent is a bad product, in fact, we do like it, but it looks like assuming equal availability and shipping costs, you would probably be better off with Joylent/Jimmy Joy.
The only reason we would recommend Soylent over Joylent/Jimmy Joy is if you are very lactose intolerant, however, in that case, you could probably opt for Plenny Shake Vegan as well. If you are strictly gluten-free, then Soylent would also be the product for you.
Quick Review Summary
Joylent/Jimmy Joy wins the comparison because it is/has:
- Higher in protein with a more complete source of protein
- Significantly cheaper while delivering the same amount of calories
- Better micronutrient profile
- More flavor options
- More beneficial ingredients (non-regular versions)
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Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.