I think Huel is a good concept but i am wondering if this is something i might want to consider. I am simply not sure what the message of the product is.
I will certainly loose on eating to socialise front (e.g. having breakfast and dinner with my partner)
I will loose on enjoying food front.
I will almost certainly loose on “eating healthy” front if i am already eating healthy
I am unsure if my body will like switching to it - i mean, i might have too much avocado in my daily meals or too much berries or too much salmon, but my body is used to it over years, right?
So it’s just about saving me some time/money or are you claiming it’s as good as fresh home cooked and averagely balanced diet so one should seriously consider it instead of considering not being lazy to mash up some salad together?
So far the feedback i am seeing on forum is largely something like “I was eating fast food, i tried Huel and it seems to work nicely”. Well, what if i am eating healthy already?
I am certainly not the most conservative guy around, i just want to understand what the promise is before i consider trying it. I like the concept but i don’t want to compromise on food quality.
For me its more about convenience and speed when I have work to do and I don’t want to spend hours cooking and preparing a meal. Its not for all the time and nor is it for every day.
But it also useful like now when I have a cold and really cant face cooking, shopping or washing up. So for a temporary measure its a good idea.
Its just another type of meal replacer that is not as bad for you as buying some junk form the corner shop.
I will usually have some fish and veggies in the fridge and will just put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Or simply berries with yogurt or readily made salad from waitrose (no sauce), will add some nuts and cheese. Takes 0 efforts to prepare, although it’s not the cheapest but food from the corner shop isn’t cheap either
Fresh home made food is great, if you know what you are doing. The body needs 26 essential vitamins minerals plus a balance of protein and fats.
But it’s a lot more complicated than that, for example protein. Protein is made up of amino acids. There are over 500 amino acids in nature, 20 of which are known as the standard amino acids as these are the ones that are coded for genetically and are subsequently involved in primary protein synthesis in animals. Of these 20, nine are essential as they cannot be synthesised from other amino acids. Do you know which foods to get the nine essential amino acids from or the amounts you need? This is not easy especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Again with fats it’s not as simple as it first looks. There are two completely essential fatty acids (EFAs) that humans require: linoleic acid (LA – an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha linolenic acid (ALNA – an omega-3). Do you know which foods contain these and how much you needs and in what ratio?
Now lets looks at some vitamins and minerals -
Iron. More than two billion people in the world have some degree of iron deficiency, according to the British Committee for Standards in Haematology. Do you know how much you need per day and where to get that amount from?
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide, affecting a third of the world’s population. It also causes thyroid problems.
You have the same issue with all 26 vitamins and minerals - e.g. you need the know the amount you know plus the foods that provide them.
Therefore, to create a well balance home made food that includes all these elements in the right amounts is not easy. Plus you got the extra work of creating the meal plan, shopping, prepping, cooking, washing up. And that is all without considering the environment impact of certain ingredients, e.g. meat. Plus the waste than perishable food often creates. Let alone the addition packaging.
My view on it is that it’s more about “delivery and ecosystem” for those vitamins and not vitamins itself. I was a vegan for few years and was taking various cyanocobalomin pills to supplement. It didn’t work out, i started having problems and my b12 was far below norm which made me switch and start eating some fish, eggs (which i don’t really mind).
There is an ongoing discussion as to how efficient vitamin supplements are vs getting vitamins from raw food. What’s your take on it? Some vitamins are absorbed easier than others but not all of them and i doubt any doctor would recommend food supplement if you have access to raw food.
I am no expert in nutrition and cannot comment on supplements vs. vitamins from proper food, but really, no one will live solely on huel for a longer period of time, even if you probably can. So why the fuss with “Switching to huel”, or “Can it sustain me indefinitely”? Does someone “Switch to Lasagna”?
It is often forgotten that in the end huel ist just some type of food. It is made to be as complete as possible, but no one says, that it has to be your only source of nutrition. Most people rwill eplace some meals with it, e.g. lunch at work, but there’s no need to give up meals in company or enjoying food.
I personally believe it is healthier than most home made food (Just look what people usually eat), and it’s clearly healthier than fast food, But I wouldn’t solely eat huel just as I wouldn’t eat the same home made food every single day.
In the end it’s just food and we should treat it just like that, we’re not mars astronauts
I am not a fan of compromises in quality, if i know that something might not be as good as what i already have, why would i try it even once?
Also i think the way it is positioned is that it can be a permanent replacement for all other food so i guess my questions are fair. Sometimes i would spend evenings to figure out if this or that ingredient of my dish is good for me, now this product is suggesting that i should replace ALL my food with it, it freaks me out, lol.
Firstly, it’s better to consume all the vitamins and minerals you needs rather than be deficient.
So if you are not getting all 26 from your food it is best to use a good quality multi-vit. Although please be aware that so called “complete” multi vits are rarely so, they nearly all have zero amount of potassium. So be careful.
The majority of the vitamins and minerals in Huel come from “raw food”, the oats, pea, rice, sunflower, flaxseed and coconut. We only add vitamins which are missing from these six ingredients.
I’m happy to avoid all that “what’ll I buy for dinner today?” decisionmaking… I never know what to get, what I want to eat, what I have energy to prepare, what to do with the leftovers, etc. Now the answer is simply ‘Huel’, and I’m getting good nutrition, likely much better than usual. The lack of tastes and chewing isn’t bothering me. It’s very convenient and of course its a really easy way to become a vegan without having to learn complicated new dishes. Not involving animals especially beef production is also greener. So for me Huel is a great alternative to all the bad or annoying things about food, while not tasting bad. Just optimizing food to a simple fuel works well for me. Win!
Actually, quite a fair number of people live solely (or very substantially, 90%+) on Huel, Joylent, Soylent, or other alternatives. I think it is fair to assume these numbers will increase, rather than decrease.
@1i3to, the message is three-fold: Huel is healthy, convenient, and affordable. Different people are attracted to different advantages.
I use Soylent for 50% of my daily calories (Huel is not yet available in the U.S.), and regular food for the other 50%. I eat regular meals with my girlfriend.
I had too much of certain foods, and a deficiency of other foods, in my regular diet. My body was used to it over the years. But soylent allows you to get all the nutrients the human body requires, in the right quantities. So whereas I was surviving just fine on pizza and other bachelor food, I’m still happy to be getting full nutrition.
The one misconception that Rob Rhinehart (the founder of Soylent) is most upset about is that Soylent is meant to replace food. It isn’t. If people enjoy cooking, if people have the time, if people want to experience meals with friends… these things should be done.
To answer the question posed in the title: Huel is as good as fresh, homemade food. In most instances, it is better. If you are an experienced cook with a grasp of nutrition, and you have the time and budget for ingredients to include all 26 vitamins and minerals in correct weekly proportions, then it is as good.
@1i3to It’s perfectly understandable that you feel cautious if you already have a healthy diet. You don’t need to worry though. My advice would be to try one of the 100g trial packs. This would be just to see if you like the taste of it. If you do, try the 1 week supply and see how you get on. Honestly, unless you are allergic to any of the ingredients, nothing bad is going to happen to you at all. If you like the taste, and can get used to drinking your food instead of eating it, you will feel great on Huel.
For me, yes it is healthier than my old diet, yes it is easier than my old diet, and yes, it is cheaper, by way of I no longer buy tonnes of snacks. I’m on a largely Huel diet, and eat sociably if I have lunch at work with friends, otherwise I always have 3 ziplock bags each containing 3 scoops each, of Huel in my bag ready to add water and shake.
In a perfect diet, with correct vitamins / minerals / other nutrition, then yeah, if you enjoy cooking it, go for it. I dislike cooking, and my diet was far from perfect so Huel has made a major difference in my mood, my body, my energy levels and other areas, like my skin has cleared up on my legs ( used to have loads of sugar spots).
If Huel doesnt give you a benefit over what you have, enough to warrant a change (for example if it saved you 20p a meal, you’d likely not bother, if it saved £100 a month, more people would be tempted) then swap to Huel. Otherwise Huel is NOT a superfood, or a miracle cure, or anything of the sort. But it has it’s place in a lot of peoples diets, for different reasons, either health, weight loss, convenience or other manner of reasons.
Thanks for all the reply guys, i appreciate your thoughts and experience.
One more thing that kinda makes me worried is that it’s vegan — i think the information about going full vegan is kind of controversial and it didn’t work out for me when i tried it. Did something change over the last few years? As of more doctors consider vegan to have no drawbacks?
And another question — shouldn’t something that replaces ALL your annual intake of vitamins be clinically tested to be proven safe or vitamins are not considered drugs and are basically like a snack from the grocery store?
Being vegan was one of the things that attracted me to huel; I’d heard being vegan is much better for your health, provided you make sure you’re still getting all your required vitamins, minerals, etc… which is why I stuck with meat, as per Julian’s comprehensive post above (which was probably still true of my “healthy” diet anyway, as I only paid attention to macro nutrients and hoped that including vegetables would cover all micro requirements without really knowing exactly what’s in kale anyway).
Huel is food, not medicine, so not subject to clinical trials. However, there is a trial due to take place where someone will be monitored for a year on 100% huel, which I’m looking forward to hearing results on, but I’m not fussed about waiting - if I feel bad then I’ll stop, & I can have sociable meals when they arise (not often as my fiance is on a very different diet so we don’t tend to eat meals together anyway) but huel is essentially very healthy food and I never demanded clinical tests be run on the long term effects of a rice-chicken-and-kale diet either - I’ll trust that James knows what he’s doing.
I think it’s all about the promise. When i buy a carrot — i know that it is a carrot. I expect it to be fresh and not contain too many chemicals which i think is controlled by the stores and the government (maybe carrots are not actually controlled but some foods are). Other than that i know what i will get out of it.
When there is a powder that is advertised as being able to replace ALL food and vitamin intake i think it’s normal to question it. Normally one should doubt that vegan diet doesn’t have any downsides and i am pretty sure there are hundreds of certified doctors and dietologists (if not thousands) who will argue that it does.
“i will stop if it will feel bad” is hardly a good approach, it might be too late or it will take you months to recover.
I think NASA is an interesting example — they actually provide their astronauts with fruits and veggies (dehydrated and all but still). Shouldn’t i want something similar? I mean the costs of delivering food to space is enormous, yet they choose to deliver all those items onboard and won’t go with a powder. I wonder if there is a reason behind it.
Perfectly wise to question it, would be foolish not to!
However, Huel is food and subject to the same regulations as other food. I have considered the ingredients and nutritional information and it sounds good to me. I’m no nutritionist though, but James is, and has a quality reputation to boot, so I’m not overly concerned about risk to my health. I know other people making oat, kale, & flaxseed smoothies every day and taking vitamin pills, and reported no ill effects, & I don’t see how huel could be worse than that as it’s whole foods, not like it’s synthesised in a lab or anything - it’s just an improved and more convenient version of the kind of smoothies I used to make every morning anyway.
That said, I trialed it before I committed to the bulk orders I’m putting on nowadays - a friend of mine did the same and felt awful, so he didn’t order more (he was coming off a very low carb diet though, he’s fairly sure that was the issue and is considering gradually easing onto it instead). Personally, I felt better than ever, so I kept on it and continue feeling better every day so have seen no reason to stop.
A diet’s effectiveness, I believe, comes from the macro and micro nutritional values inherent per calorie. You should eat a varied diet, not because the variety itself is “good”, but because you are more likely to obtain the full range of required nutrients for good health. A vegan diet can help reduce the amount of undesirable intake that comes alongside the ingestion of animal products (especially those of us not able to afford top-notch free range organic grass-fed produce), but risks missing out important nutrients not easily available outside of meat. So, given the option, I’ll take the carefully designed Huel formula over my failed attempts at vegan cooking any day!
That said, no idea why NASA would do that; perhaps they didn’t want to impose another restriction on astronauts and give them a little variety in their otherwise fairly routine lives? Maybe Julian should send them some trial packs before the next manned mission.
Hi @1i3to I’m not trying to catch you out, this is a genuine, but if I asked you what you consumed yesterday in terms of calories? amino acids (amounts for each of the 9 eaa), how much fat, protein, carbs you had, how much linoleic acid (LA – an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha linolenic acid (ALNA – an omega-3), let alone the amount of each of the 26 essential vitamins and minerals would you know? If not are you not just taking the same approach as @Omc and will stop/change your diet when you feel bad?
Yes a fresh carrot is good but nutrition is lot of more complicated than that. To cover all basis, ensure all is balanced and complete is tricky without a lot of knowledge and time.
Not at all. If you have a particular severe food allergy, don’t you think you would already know? And if you were to develop a less severe food intolerance to one or more of the ingredients over time, the symptoms would likely pass within a few days of stopping it.
As for the vitamins and minerals, you’re far more likely to have problems from not having enough of them than you are from having too much.
To be honest, I think you’re in more danger of suffering health problems from over-thinking all this than you are from drinking Huel. You’ll wear your brain out from thinking about it before you even get round to drinking it
Yes, that’s the key difference. If you were to eat nothing but carrots then you would eventually run into health problems due to deficiencies. But if you ate nothing but Huel you would have all bases covered, so to speak.
There’s more chance of something going wrong from NOT eating Huel than from eating Huel. Not that everyone should automatically start on Huel, but it’s a good point I think.
I think it’s probably a little late to send some to Tim Peake, the British astronaut going to the International Space Station in December for six months. Maybe the next mission though! He seems quite chatty on Twitter https://twitter.com/astro_timpeake