Concerns before using Huel to gain weight

Related threads are over 5 months old so I made this one.

Since most people here use Huel to remedy weight issues, I was wondering if anyone is using Huel for bodybuilding purposes? The studies of “one month on Huel” aren’t realistic or sufficiently accurate when you consider the male participants were consuming 1,800 calories per day (assuming the estimation that one scoop of Huel = 150 kcal), which is less than the RDA for women, and were also doing 5km runs.

So what are the effects of consuming Huel in roughly double this amount for weight gaining purposes? Since the vitamins and minerals in the blend seem targeted for larger people trying to lose or maintain weight, the 100% RDA of these seems fixed at a low calorie dense daily consumption.

What are the negative effects (if any) of consuming 3,600 calories of Huel if you’re essentially doubling your RDA of nutrients, vitamins and minerals?

Generally I think stuff is fine, but you may run into issues with iron. Huel has 40.6mg per 2000kcal (if I remember right) and the upper limit for iron is 45mg. 3600kcal of Huel gives 1.8 x 40.6mg, or 73.08mg of iron - way over the upper limit. The iron used is non-haem as it’s vegan, so has a lower bioavailability, but it could still be problematic for you.

1 Like

Figures. It makes sense, and doesn’t make sense at the same time.

They want a product to appeal to the common man, so they cram 2,000 cal with 100% RDA of every vitamin and mineral you need. That makes sense from a business standpoint, because it appeals to the “you can eat nothing but Huel” lazy man. But by doing that they limit the uses of the product outside of your average citizen, one that needs more calories but doesn’t want the extra vitamins and minerals.

Can a Huel representative give me a definitive answer on this?

Eating 3500 calories per day of anything will give you higher than RDA amounts. Between September and December I was consuming 3000 calories of Huel and 1000 calories of whole milk, didn’t suffer any consequences at all.

As long as you’re healthy your body will likely dispose of surplus as required.

I guess, would be nice to have this data quantified somehow though. Wish they would do tests on athletes and not just average joes. Would certainly quash some of the rumors of “powdered shit” on bodybuilding forums.

Actually, it wouldn’t be a problem if iron was at 100%, or even 150% RDA. The RDA is set at 14mg, though targeting the US recommendation of 18mg isn’t a poor choice. With even 25mg, a 180% intake would only give the upper limit of 45mg. Unfortunately, rice protein contains a lot of iron, so it’s really difficult to get levels down sufficiently to a point where 1.8x their recommendation is going to below the Upper Limit. What may work better for you is adding either cream or olive oil to bulk up Calories, instead of more powder. That 3600kcal would be giving you 270g of protein per day, which is excessive for anyone.

Bodybuilding protein recommendation for my exercise level, age, weight and height is 211g a day. So it’s not unrealistic. I’m not sure necking olive oil or cream is any healthier. Any studies to back it up?

Ah fair enough. Regarding olive oil and cream, these are staple components of a ketogenic soylent diet (and high fat is a large part of keto in general), so you may want to look into reports of safety of those if you’re unconvinced.

Regarding specifically oil and cream though, olive oil is predominantly monounsaturated fat, whilst double cream is predominantly saturated.

Contrary to popular belief, recent studies and meta-analyses have shown that saturated fat isn’t as harmful as previously believed (some going as far as to say not at all). The conclusion of this study ( stated the following: “Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, CVD, CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes, but the evidence is heterogeneous with methodological limitations.”. However other studies arrive at different conclusions. If interested, perhaps browse the studies linked on this Wikipedia page on the matter:

In contrast, monounsaturated fats have never had their benefits really called into question, as they are pretty much regarded as healthy by everyone. This makes analysis of the benefits/risks more challenging, but I was able to find the following quotation in the summary of this journal article ( “There is epidemiological evidence that dietary MUFAs have a beneficial effect on the risk of CHD. Moreover, evidence from controlled clinical studies has shown that MUFAs favorably affect a number of risk factors for CHD, including plasma lipids and lipoproteins, factors related to thrombogenesis, in vitro LDL oxidative susceptibility (compared with PUFA), and insulin sensitivity. Compared with SFA, MUFAs lower total and LDL cholesterol levels, and relative to carbohydrate, they increase HDL cholesterol levels and decrease plasma triglyceride levels.”

If your bigger concern is simply the overall fat content of the diet as opposed to the types, this is harder to prove or disprove of being unhealthy. Generally fats are now regarded as a good source of calories, and many of the studies that determined otherwise were conducted around the 60s and 70s and were funded by sugar companies who wanted to divert attention away from the fact sugar was the cause of obesity and diabetes - it is no coincidence that since doctors (and others) recommended high carb, low fat diets for weight loss, there has been a huge obesity epidemic in most of the western world. However, this conclusion is more drawn from correlation than studies, so again, it’s more questionable.

I wasn’t specifically worried about the fat content. Protein cannot metabolize without sufficient fat intake and I’ve never ever worried about fats of any kind. Sugars cause more weight issues than fat ever have. I was more concerned with your idea to consume the equivalent pound-for-pound calorie content of olive oil versus Huel.

Or maybe I am misinterpreting what you’re trying to say.

It wouldn’t necessarily have to be like that (my recommendation was to actually add the oil into your shakes for easy consumption) - I’m looking at this from too much of a keto soylent point of view. Instead just calorie dense foods for the rest of the calories, and maybe ~2500-2750 calories from Huel, or something like that.

So maybe add 1 tablespoon of olive oil (100 calories) with 4 scoops of Huel (600 calories) so I only need 5 servings of Huel per day instead of 6? Interesting. I’ll have to check out the potential problems with consuming so much olive oil, but it’s worth checking out.

Could be a good idea. Initially, it may add to any GI issues of switching to a liquid diet, as high-fat diets are quite well known for making stools somewhat liquid-y, but you’d likely get used to that pretty quick. You could also use liquid coconut oil to get even more MCTs (MCT oil itself may cause a lot of GI issues), but it’s a lot more expensive. If you do try olive oil, go with either pure or light olive oils, not virgin or extra-virgin, as the latter two will have too much of an impact on taste.

I just tried it out. One tablespoon. Extra virgin. Hardly any taste difference whatsoever, but this is 4 scoops of Huel so it’s quite thick. My shits have been a 5+ on the Bristol stool scale for years anyway so I won’t notice a change. I’ve been ordering Huel since July so it’s impact on me is minimal now anyway.

I’ll have to post a follow up thread in a month or so to see how much weight I can actually gain following this set up, and see if there are any noticeable changes in health or mood etc:

1 Like

I get about 2.2k calories against a 3.2k daily target, and have been doing so for months.

Best results I ever got.

For what purpose? Gaining muscle mass, maintaining muscle mass or losing weight?

211g of protein per day is A LOT. Like, a hell of a lot.

That assumes you’re lifting at almost pro level for a female, or alternatively, that you’re 95KG with large muscle mass. I’m sure 175g would be more than enough!

I eat 2000+ calories of huel per day to make up 3500 per day total.

I also eat 250g upwards of protein per day as well and I’m not suffering for it.

With regards to the iron issue people keep mentioning, it’s won’t be absorbed as well as say haem iron, so I wouldn’t worry too much unless you have some sort of underlying condition which would cause iron overload like haemochromatosis.

The other solution to people worrying about iron is to donate blood, problem solved :joy::ok_hand:

1 Like

You won’t suffer for it, it’s just pointless.

So many “gymbros” have been misled by the supplement industry to believe “THE MORE PROTEIN THE MORE GAINZ BRO!1!!1!!11”. Hence protein supplement sales are at an all time high, Weetabix have brought out a “Protein version” and there’s all kinds of silly “protein boost” products coming out.

Obviously if your macros just so happen to align at that protein content it’s fair enough, but too many YouTube personalities get on the juice, team up with supplement companies then claim that’s why they’re so big.

If you want to be huge, go for the juice… Save yourself the cash…

Well your not wrong BUT it certainly doesn’t hurt to keep just above your protein requirements since it’ll only covert the glucose eventually anyway, albeit in a long winded not very efficient since. Better safe than sorry kinda logic, I’ll admit I wouldn’t go much higher than what I’m at. Uric acid… Nitrogen…

Not every bodybuilder on YouTube is on juice, some definitely are, but I think that’s a little bit of a disservice to the ones who are natural.

Oh and sucks people have the mentality of just take ‘juice’ quickest way to mess up a guys endocrine system, leading to low T, trust me not something to be messed with, speaking from experience I naturally have Low T and therefore I’m on TRT for life, it’s not something I’d I pick by choice. Smh at guys who risk a life of what I have to do just to keep normal levels of Testosterone…

Also yes Roids would increase protein synthesis in a ‘chemicaly aided lifter’ not the point but still. So the ‘aided gym bros’ aren’t wrong about protein if aided, but most certainly wrong when it comes to a natural lifter which will need less.

Over 1g - 1.5g of protein per lb of weight I doubt would be a bad thing in the long run, it also keeps you full for longer and is better for glucose control. Pros and cons to it which ever way you want to look at it.

yes Weetabix adding protein is ridiculous hyped bs

1 Like

GTI, who are you arguing with? Nobody here is glorifying protein. We’re merely commenting on the fact that someone on a 100% Huel diet has to consider a larger protein intake (and vitamins and minerals) if they want to up their calories over 2,000 per day.

I only quoted 211g as that is what the recommended intake of protein is for my body, according to bodybuilding websites. The general consensus seems to be 1g of protein per 1lb of body weight, but other factors are at play, such as exercise frequency and intensity, both of which are high in my case. For example, a person that weighs 15 stone, which is 210lb, should be consuming 210g of protein per day. None of this really matters though since this isn’t the topic of discussion.

1 Like