Chewing is important

So I am a very happy 100% huel guy…I recently got a mate started on huel and he is also loving it but today he sent me this article that I will copy and paste below. I’d be very keen to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
What the nutritionist said
"In terms of the nutritional content [of Ambronite], it does have a very balanced nutrition profile. The concerns are more about having a liquid diet. Chewing is a really important part of digestion. It’s the first part where you mix it with saliva and you mix in digestive enzymes, and if that part isn’t happening then you’re actually missing out on a crucial part of digestion.

"The other concern about having an all liquid diet would be it doesn’t satiate you when you drink your calories. If you drink 500 calories it’s not going to keep you going for as long as if you were to chew 500 calories just because of how long it takes you to actually physically break it down in your stomach.

“Having a high level of these meals would [mean] that you would have an excess of nutrients and you can end up with liver toxicity, from vitamin A especially. In terms of whether someone could eat it every day long term, or whether I would recommend that, Ambronite would probably be the best one that I’ve seen.”

Louise Digby, director of nutrition, The Specialist Health Centre

Ok, a few things here I think are quite important:

  1. It would be very helpful to have a link to the article to assess the reliability of the source. As is, all we have is a reference to the poster being a ‘nutritionist’ (a non-protected term that literally anyone can use if they wish) and a sign off for The Specialist Health Centre. A quick google search for this turns up a now permanently closed business based in Chelmsford. Admittedly it has good reviews, but it makes it extremely difficult to assess reliability without more information.

  2. The importance of chewing is debated. A large part of the reason for chewing is breaking down food initially - a step that a liquid diet doesn’t require as the food is also broken down much finer. That is the only part of digestion that is missing really - admittedly some salivary enzymes can also break down some of the smaller parts of foods, but enzymes in the stomach are able to do the same thing. Otherwise tube-fed patients wouldn’t be able to digest food properly. Arguably, chewing is also important for jaw strength, but simply chewing some sugar-free gum occasionally achieves the same thing.

  3. Regarding satiation, this absolutely depends on what you consume. If you’re consuming a solid cake high in sugar, that will definitely keep you satiated for a shorter duration than an equally sized portion of Huel. Somewhat more important, though, is that Huel will also likely keep you fuller for longer than a solid piece of fruit of the same caloric size. This is because, even though fruit is very healthy, it provides the bulk of its calories in the form of sugar, which is absorbed quickly. In contrast, Huel also contains a lot of protein and fat - both of which take longer to absorb than carbohydrates, particularly sugar. The carbs Huel contains also digest slower than the sugar in fruit, so again, it’d actually satiate you longer.

  4. And now we move on to the part I honestly don’t understand the logic of at all - there is no way that consuming meal replacements which generally target the RDA of vitamins and minerals will ever give you any form of micronutrient toxicity or excess, unless you’re consuming many, many bags per day. Micronutrients simply aren’t absorbed the way this person believes - even assuming she was correct about chewing being an important part of digestion of food (as I disputed in point 2), it is absolutely not an important part of micronutrient digestion (or else again, tube fed patients would be impacted heavily). Assuming adequate fibre and fat (which meal replacements have), micronutrients are not digressed any differently. Additionally, most meal replacements use the beta carotene form of vitamin A - a form way way way less likely to ever cause toxicity - with doses several hundred times the upper tolerable limit (~4x the RDA) being required to bring about any issue.

This ‘nutritionist’ seems to understand nutrition at a fairly low level, though still more than average. Based on the review of Ambronite at the end, my assumption would be she either has only ever seen meal replacements like Ensure and Boost before (for which her criticisms in terms of micronutrients would be valid, even though the ones regarding chewing are not), or she is a whole foods proponent for whom products such as Soylent and Huel go against her pre-conceived notions of food, even though all evidence (including people’s blood tests after prolonged 100% consumption) point to them being perfectly viable and healthy components of someone’s diet.


I love the Huel forum because people like yourself whom are much smarter than me can answer my questions as quickly and as efficiently as you did. Thank you for this very detailed response.
Personally I have never had a single doubt with regard to my own huel use but when my friend expressed this concern I thought I better find him some answers to put his mind at rest.
Funny you mention chewing because since starting huel I’ve been chewing gum which is something I never use to do. I must have been desiring the chew effect I don’t get from my drinks.
Thanks again.


Excellent reply by @IcyElemental


Hello @JamesCollier and @Dan_Huel

I think it would be very helpful to have an official article or response from Huel related to the lack of chewing.

For heavy users like me that have Huel as half of our diets, would be great to know if those enzymes released in the chewing are actually important or not.

I have been thinking about this topic from a long time


you still have saliva in the system of digestion by just swallowing it.

you have saliva in your mouth during drinking huel.

its part of drinking aswell as chewing.

its pretty obvious.

i think this studys importance is exaggerated.

maybe spit three to five times in a measuring cup and mix it with the huel if youre worried about not having enough saliva to digest huel.

unless chewing generates a different type of saliva… then how important would that be if that was true?

in my 13 month huel diet (plus fruit and veg every other day on average…) huel digests extremely efficiently. i get the energy quickly… and i use it and i reHuel.

We have answered this on our FAQ page Adrián under “Aren’t liquid diets bad for you?”


Thanks! Thats what I wanted

Also, is there article or paper worth reading about liquid diets, the lack of chewing and dygestion/enzymes effect?

nice and straight forward.

i think ppl trust ALL scientists and anyone with a diploma… jump to conclusions and believe their opinion…

ppl can be well educated… pass the tests etc, it doesnt mean they are knowledgeable of every contributory factor to the subject.

ppl need to know who trust…

huel is clearly trustworthy…

good people. good intentions.

clever company.


That’s made me feel squeamish…even though it makes sense. I’m hypersensitive re. bodily functions…which is somewhat odd when I spend most of my life making jokes about 'em.

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I feel the same, I make gross jokes but I hate to discuss seriously those “bodily functions”

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Phew, not just me then. LOL

then my comment was somewhat uncouth


I don’t mind uncouth…

A lot of the studies are conducted in patients who can’t tolerate solid food anymore so are often critically ill but they still offer us some insight: source and source

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