T Nation

A Whole Meal in One Pill


#1

Do you guys think technology will take us to the point where we can get an entire healthy meal that will satiate us, in the form of one or two pills?


#2

There are tons of Vitamin/meal replacements out there. However, there are none that could satiate, or sustain me for that matter, without incorporating appetite suppressants. And they are usually 5 - 9 pill bundles as opposed to just one or two.

That's a good question.

OD


#3

Since we need a specific amount of calories per day, and at the best calorie/weight ratio to get just 9 calories we have to eat 1 gram of fat...the most compact it can ever get is a tablespoon of pure oil.


#4

I don't think so. The substance would have to have an enormous caloric density to have a significant amount of energy and still be small enough to choke down. Also, the grams of protein would be determined by the density of the protein.

A gram is a gram, it's a quantitative and not qualitative measure, so the only way to get more grams of something into a given volume is to make it denser. I guess you could find things that could be metabolized by the body that would be more calorically dense than the lipids, proteins and carbs we know of now.

Conor


#5

As far as making a perfect food, I doubt it. The way food affects our bodies is far too complex for us to ever decode, let alone recreate.


#6

This is like WIlly-Wonka chewing meal gum.


#7

Have a real good think about what you are asking here. Along with everything else in my diet, I eat about 400 grams of protien a day. That would be a big ass tablet, especially when you add in the fat, fibre and carbs, plus all the other nutrients that you need.


#8

That is why I am asking if technology will take us to the next level of reconfiguring the chemical makeup of food... 50 years ago nobody could imagine how the Internet and cell phones , etc would change our lives... and 100 years ago people thought flying was a scifi movie thing...


#9

Guess that would make it a "Phat" pill.

OD


#10

Again, you are missing the point... the point is whether or not we will ever figure out how to condense "food" into that small of a form... Someone would have to think outside the box to answer that as it is not available currently... Think about the progression from having to eat two chick breasts to two scoops of Grow, and now take an even greater leap forward to the point where your PWO meal is only 1 small tablet.


#11

I'm no chemist, but protein molecules, for instance can only be so dense. There is a limit to how many atoms of the constituent elements can be jammed in one space and still posess the correct geometry and what not to be an amino acid or protein. That limit might be very high, I simply don't have the biochemistry to say, but my intuition says that no, you won't ever be able to jam a significant amount of protein into a capsule. Same thing with carbs and lipids.

The other route would be to find substances that are more calorically dense per unit mass, and I suppose that is possible.

I don't really see the point of wasting so much scientific and industrial might on such a project though.

Conor


#12

I agree with you...

It is a lot of brainpower to use on an issue that is not as important as cancer, or disease prevention...

However, there could be uses and a market for backpackers, climbers, astronauts, etc..

The biochem point is valid, but with enough resources almost anything is possible.


#13

Actually, I'm not missing the point. I was looking at the "pure nutritional value" of the food I eat. I didn't say 400 grams of chicken, I said protien. I cut it down from about a kilogram of meat plus other stuff.

I see your point reducing the size of food, but again, think of what you are asking. Protiens and Amino Acids are pretty much already the basic building blocks of what we do, hence the conversion from chicken meat to pure protien. You would have to find something either more efficient, or shrink what we currently have. If you simply shrink what we already have, you would end up with an incredibly dense pill that would still weigh half a kilo and break our teeth.

Unless you develop a pill that enables us to grow chorophyll in our skin to convert sunlight into energy.


#14

If it was possible to jam a whole meal into a pill. I dont think it would disolve quick enough for our body to absorb it.


#15

Word. Let's say your meal consists of:

F: 10g
C: 60g
P: 40g

In order to encapsulte that into something that will go down the human gullet, you are going to need access to a damn pulsar.

~Terumo


#16

Perhaps if it's not ingested but injected, or maybe in patch form.

Think about this, you could have a patch that just shot amino acids into your bloodstream directly. You would need a lot less than you do when the protein has to travel through your digestive systems.

All other nutrients could be made this way.

Of course, active people would need more, esp more glucose, but inactive people? Maybe they'll be on the one patch a day plan. Esp. consider your metabolism will slow way down to almost nothing if you're absorbing food through your skin.


#17

Without looking at the other replys, no. Even if technology somehow progresses to the point that enough calories could be ompressed into a pill or two, I don't see how it could possibly be filling. It would also never replace normal food no matter what. There's too much associated with eating. Food tastes good. As a species we like to eat. It's social. We gather around the table. Special occasions are marked by food.


#18

Look at the simple physics. Prepare a full meal. Look at the physical bulk of the food on that plate. Now, tell me how you are going to fit that mass into the size of a pill.


#19

Seriously, where did you come up with this? Were you watching the Jetsons?

Besides, we'll require P+C pills, P+F pills, PWO pills, and slow release late night P pills.

Most importantly, we won't get to eat. ;( The only reason I lift is so I can gain muscle to raise my BMR so I can eat more without getting fatter. OK, that's not the only reason, but it's a superb bonus.

BFG


#20

You continue to use present day technology and apply it to this idea... I am asking if there will ever be a point where the calories, and chemical makeup of "food" or macronutrients, could ever be micronized into a digestible form... To really think about this you would have to think two steps into the future, to even consider whether or not it would be possible..

Bottom line, is that there is no correct answer, I was just wondering if anyone had thought about it..