Fine at first, now not so good

This might be useful for anyone with celiac disease or food intolerances thinking of starting huel.

I’m celiac, also can’t tolerate dairy. Tend to skip meals when I’m busy. I could do with putting on a bit of weight so thought Huel sounded ideal.

Got the gluten free UU version, started very slowly aiming to build up to 500g once a day over 2 weeks.

I found it a bit grainy despite preparing in advance and leaving in fridge overnight. Drinking it made me cough. I read that this could be due to the flaxseed so carried on.

I had episodes of feeling “spaced out” and headachy, also felt tired. I assumed this was because my body needed to adjust to the Huel.

By last Monday I’d built up to 400g once a day. Didn’t feel well so decided to skip the huel at lunchtime. By evening I had chest pain that quickly got worse. Saw Dr. Had tests, very relieved that heart attack was ruled out.

The pain was from an inflammed oesophagus, most likely due to an autoimmune reaction to avenin, the glutinous protein in oats (even gluten free oats). There was no treatment, just had to put up with it till it all got out of my system. The chest pain lasted two days then I got stomach pains and diarrhoea similar to gluten reaction.

Looking back I think the coughing was probably one of the first signs that it was affecting my oesophagus. I should have realised there was a problem and my body wasn’t “just getting used to the Huel” but I was reluctant to give up Huel so convinced myself it would get better.

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Interesting: first oat allergy I’d heard of. This is significant because the great majority of meal replacements in my big list use oats as their main macronutrient. I’ve just gone through the list and only the following, of the European-based ones, do not admit to oats in their ingredient tables:

Saturo is a bottled ready-to-drink, and KetoGenesis is extreme low-carb. The others are powders similar in concept to Huel. In the U.S. you’d have Soylent, one of the few that bases its macros on soy.

If you haven’t got celiac disease I don’t think you need to worry about oats.

From my recent googling it seems that only 10% of celiacs get an immune reaction. It’s not life threatening and you need to eat a lot of oats for a while before symptoms get severe, which fits in with my recent experience.