Years ago I spent too long doing layperson research on nutrition – it’s actually what drew me to Huel back in 2016, because I had a rough idea that it was legit. I’ve been having Huel since for 1–2 meals a day, and for most of that time I’ve been doing 2/3 U&U and 1/3 Original, usually with matcha powder (sometimes cocoa powder, cinnamon or ginger).
Sadly, there have been two major changes in the formula of Original that I’ve disliked, and recently I decided my next order will be my last one containing Original. Instead I want to go 100% U&U and add my own sweetener to taste.
I’m not sure I have the bandwidth to really delve into the choice of sweetener right now, so I wondered if I could get some advice. What do you or would you add to unsweetened Huel, considering nutrition, cost, practicality and not killing a puppy? (Xylitol is right out.) I’ve currently got erythritol in. A lot of the time I know we go off a fuzzy sense of a sweetener’s ‘reputation’, and my fuzzy sense is that erythritol, monk fruit and stevia have better reps than sucralose, but I know that doesn’t necessarily mean much more than who’s good at marketing.
Oh, rike. I’m glad you’re still around! Still on 100% U&U? I really don’t think that’s for me, but I have been thinking that adding my own sweetener makes it more convenient to dabble with the ratios and see how I feel. Maybe I’m ready for 75% unsweetened, but I don’t think I’m driving to erase sweetness entirely. Pea protein is nutritionally really solid but I definitely want it masked with a bit of sweetness.
As for actual sugar, I’m pretty sure I want to avoid that. Doesn’t seem to do me any favours.
Am sad if erythritol has to be crossed off! I’d be really interested if Huel would weigh on on what sweeteners they considered for Huel and which they crossed off due to concerns.
I don’t want to sound a dick here, but as the objective of this project is to avoid the ready-made solution Huel already offers, and to avoid the primary sweetener they use (sucralose), I’m not sure how much value there is in asking Huel for their input here. They are also not exactly going to say “we did find this sweetener which betters sucralose in every way but costs 3x as much so we decided not to use it” because the floodgates will open.
I don’t think Huel would be offended by me looking to switch to 100% U&U with a separate sweetener, if that’s what you’re suggesting. Everyone has different tastes, both for what flavours they like and how sweet their want their Huel.
Digging through all the chaff research on different artificial sweeteners takes a while and I can never do it justice as a layperson, but I’ve quite a lot of trust in Huel’s nutritional team. It also has to be said I’m not looking for something that’s better than Huel’s choice. Why I’m not enjoying Original might not even be about the sweetener, it might be about the vanilla flavour, but even if it’s about the sweetener, that might just be my personal taste.
To clarify, my comment about reputations wasn’t to say Huel is bad to use sucralose, it was to say that as a layperson we’re stuck going off a fuzzy sense of something’s reputation, but that isn’t trustworthy (especially for sweeteners) and I don’t want to be led by that.
Also, to stick with sucralose for a moment – totally happy to use it, but powder or liquid? And I can see a one brand for £29.98/kg, another for £109.80/kg and a third for £160.20/kg… this seems like a market where there’s more to understand than just “it’s sucralose, buy it”, and folk here have in the past had knowledge and interest in that kind of thing.
An interesting question. I’ve recently started using Huel and seriously disappointed that all the flavoured options have sweeteners added…unless I buy the more expensice Black Huel. I see no point in sweeteners being added and have suggested to Huel they give customers the option of having the flavoured options without sweeteners…by not doing so I think they’re eliminating a huge potential customer base. I use the U&U and throw in a banana and blend but after I’ve finished my current order I’m stopping using it…there must be similar products out there without added artificial sweeteners. A down side for me is artificial sweeteners put my kidneys into overdrive and my first (and only) sweetened Huel had me constantly peeing and having to get up 7 times in one night wasn’t my idea of fun.
If you already use U&U then surely you realise that without the sweetener the earthy gut-wrenching taste would completely overpower any attempts at flavouring it?
U&U is an acquired taste, and some people are happy with it, but without access to the sales stats I’d be pretty confident in assuming it would account for no more than 10% of total powder sales. Certainly not enough to warrant doubling the SKU’s to offer the range without sucralose.
Also FYI, black edition is also sweetened, just with stevia instead of sucralose.
The U&U suits me with a banana blended in but it would be good to have other options without sweeteners, although I think the product is predominantly aimed at American tastes. Surely you realise everything is an acquired taste??? The U&U doesn’t have the sweetener and there’s nothing wrong in flavouring it. I’m no fan of sugar or sweeteners. No loss to me if Huel don’t want to offer customers the option of flavoured but unsweetened.
Also, FYI…it was Huel who suggested I try the black edition if I wanted to avoid sweeteners.
Are you sure you didn’t want to sound like a dick? Not doing that great a job avoiding it.
Huel has actually tried producing flavours for their Huel powders without using sweeteners but unfortunately they just don’t work. I think our taste buds are accustomed to the flavours having a sweetness and without that they are just urgh.
That’s definitely an issue for sure – when they changed the chocolate to be more like chocolate for example, there was a lot of push back with complaints like it tastes bitter or earthy which is, of course, what chocolate actually tastes like. Sweetness is definitely something people subconsciously associate with flavourings. I would imagine that the fruit flavours would also be particularly ‘challenging’ without it unless it were something that is known for acidic sharpness rather than sweetness - like lemon of grapefruit.
This is interesting. Just ordered a bag of Unflavoured / Unsweetened this month to give it a go. Tried Original last month, loving that so far. I find I don’t need to be ‘in the mood’ for that flavour, which makes it great for the morning shake.