I conducted an experiment with a no-chew, no-cook nutrition product with one subject — myself.

Whenever I'm asked if I have any dietary restrictions I always reply with "yes, I don't diet". I love spicy, exotic, flavourful cuisine but practically I'm a terrible eater, mostly because of my busy schedule and partly because I live alone.

Arriving home late at night means I lack both motivation and inspiration when faced with an evening of cooking for one. Financially, it's tough to compete against the cheap, easy single-serve packaged foods out there unless I bulk cook and eat the same home-cooked meal five nights in a row.

Looking to science for a solution, I came across a New Zealand-made powdered-meal product in its crowd-funding phase called Sipreme. I decided to experiment and see what would happen if I replaced my conventional food intake with its thick nutritional shakes.

Sipreme is a locally made powder that reduces human nutrition to its most basic elements. Mixed with water, it creates a liquid meal.


I'd read about the Silicon Valley craze for a similar product called Soylent, whose customer base mostly consisted of time-poor, tech-loving entrepreneurs and wondered if science had finally solved the world food shortage issue by creating a complete food that didn't require intensive meat production, and didn't spoil or need complex packaging.

Sipreme is compositionally similar to Soylent but much tastier thanks to flavours formulated by Auckland food technologists Cathy McArdle and Janet de Beer.

Drinking the suggested four shakes a day resulted in me ingesting at least 100 per cent of my daily vitamins and minerals with 2000 calories provided as a 55 per cent carbohydrate, 19 per cent protein and 31 per cent fat mix. The shakes also freed up at least an hour a day of extra time that I didn't have to spend grocery shopping, cooking and eating.

I decided to commit a whole week to the flavoured liquid - it seemed like a fun experiment. For full experimental transparency I should add that I didn't adjust my regular wine intake during the week; I am still human, you know.

Mixing one scoop of powder with three scoops of water was all that was required to create my new superfood. Sipreme comes in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours, but otherwise tastes like flavoured watery oatmeal. It is much thicker than a normal protein shake and I found I felt full after drinking it.

Energy-wise I felt great, but socially I felt quite isolated. There is nothing fun about turning up for a lunch meeting sipping on a bottle full of pink sludge while your colleagues wolf down crispy spring rolls.

What I discovered was that physically I could survive on a science liquid diet, but it would be a miserable, chew-free existence. I knew it was time to stop when one night I dreamed about sinking into a steaming-hot steak-and-gravy-filled bathtub.

I'll definitely keep drinking Sipreme, but as an occasional meal replacement when life gets busy. With its two-year shelf life, I'll also throw a few packs in my home emergency survival kit, and maybe suggest they come out with a steak and cheese version.

Dr Michelle Dickinson, also known as Nanogirl, is an Auckland University nanotechnologist who is passionate about getting Kiwis hooked on science. Tweet her your science questions @medickinson