Glycemic index

@Julian linked to a glycemic index test for Huel in another thread recently.

That gives a glycemic index of 27. I had no idea what that meant, so I looked up a list of glycemic indicies for other foods and found that rolled oats (the main ingredient of Huel) is 55. So how on earth can Huel itself be so much lower?

Even carrots have a glycemic index higher than Huel.

I am confused.

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Correction: Confused but impressed and happy.

Glycemic index was something I expected to be quite high for Huel, but significantly less than all of the crappy competitors.

Speaking of which, do any of you know of similar tests run on competitors products? They all seem to be packed with maltodextrin, which I’m guessing will spike the glycemic index through the roof, but I’d love to see hard numbers to confirm.

I guess everyone is asleep at the moment, so I did some Googling on this topic. It seems I didn’t understand glycemic indicies very well.

Glycemic Load seems to be the preferred route to measuring the real affect on glucose levels of consuming certain foods. Huel seems to have a slightly higher glycemic load than a super supreme pizza from pizza hut. That make sense I guess, since cheese would very little carbohydrate and so would drive down the glycemic load of the pizza, even though it’s glycemic index is significantly higher than Huel.

**EDIT: My pizza calculation was wrong. See below for the new data. **

My carrot comparison was irrelevant, since no one can consume carrots quickly enough to cause their blood glucose levels to spike anyway.


Glycemic Index is affected by the other ingredients in a product, such as protein and fat. Glycemic load is considered better though, as you say, as it takes account of serving size. The reason Huel has a higher GL than pizza is because it has a greater carbohydrate-content.

Huel does’t has more carbs than pizza. For example on:

They claim a “Original Cheese & Tomato” pizza is 435 kcals for a whole personal classic crust pizza, which has 62.7g of carbs. So that is 57.65g per 400 kcals. Huel has 37.1g per 400 kcals. So a pizza has 55% more carbs that Huel.

I believe he meant a full bag of Huel relative to a whole pizza.

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They are not comparable. A whole pouch of Huel contains 7,000 cals. A whole pizza is much less.

Oh my apologies, I was assuming a Huel pouch was 2000 Calories like other companies. Perhaps they meant for an equal Caloric intake, there are more carbs in Huel than the pizza? But specifically the pizza they mentioned? As the toppings on a super supreme would have a lower amount of carbs than the base with cheese and tomato.

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I was comparing the glycemic load from the same number of calories of Huel with the equivalent of pizza.

@ryanhellyer may I ask which data you were using?

Here are the complete calculations I did, including links to where the pizza data came from. The Huel calculation will be slightly off, as I didn’t find the amount of carbohydrates from fibre listed on the label.

EDIT: It seems my original calculation must have been wrong. My new calculation indicates that Huel has a lower GL than pizza. I guess that’s why you wanted to see where my data came from, to prove I cocked up :wink:

Pizza, Super Supreme (Pizza Hut®):

GI information:
Energy =

GI = 36
serving size = 100 g
Energy = 243 kcal
Carbohydrate (non-fibre) = 24 g

therefore, for 400 kcal of pizza …
GI = 36
serving size = 165 g
Energy = 400 kcal
Carbohydrate (non-fibre) = 36 g
GL = ( 36 * 36 ) / 100 = 13

GI = 27
serving size = 100 g
Energy = 400 kcal
Carbohydrate (non-fibre) = 37 g
GL = ( 27 * 37 ) /100 = 10


Glycaemic Load is completely variable dependent on serving size. In the testing carried out by Oxford Brookes the subjects consumed 100g of Huel to 500ml of water, the recommended measurements.

The GI of Huel is low, yes. However this is comparable to ‘meal replacement’ products - N.B. We do not consider Huel a meal replacement, but it is the easiest way to compare them. In the International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values there are many products that are likely to be of a similar nature to Huel. For ease, here is the section I am referring.

I expect, a combination of low GI oats with low sugar and the high fibre content are responsible for this. Soylent is the only product I know off the top of my head that have done GI testing too (do link others here so we can all see though!). You can see here that their GI is not as low as Huel. I expect this is due to their higher levels of maltodextrin and sugar and lower fibre levels. However this is just speculation.

Mana has just published their GI and it is 29. So quite close to Huel although they use maltodextrin. But they also have a lower percentage of carbs, so maybe that is the explanation.

That Mana stuff looks very convenient since it comes in a bottle, plus it’s quite cheap. But they make it from soy and canola oil, so doesn’t really seem like they’ve thought through the nutrition side of it very well :confused:

I have not yet tried bottled Mana - bottled it is not that cheap as one bottle has only 400 cals. But powder is relatively cheap. I quite like to combine it with Huel as they are very different and complement well each other. Unlike Huel, Mana is very easy to mix, but oil comes in a separate small bottle, so ne has to deal with both powder and oil. As it contains more fat and less protein, it has very different texture.

To me it looks quite similar to the original Soylent. Regarding soy, they claim that they artificially remove phytoestrogens. What is wrong with canola?

I’m not sure I follow. I’ve been using this glycemic index chart and there is a glycemic load column, but I always look at the index part. Am I wrong?

Its simple, huel contains a lot of fibre and less sugar. The more fibe the stable your bloodsugar is.

Glycaemic load is just a method of putting everything in relation to it’s ‘serving size’. GI is generally measured on a set amount of the product, which isn’t necessarily reflective of the amount you would usually eat in a sitting. An example I found online to explain this is:

Watermelon has a high GI of 72, yet a low GL of 7.21. The high GI is based on 5 cups of watermelon, not an actual serving size of 1 cup. The low GL means one serving of watermelon doesn’t contain much carbohydrate, because it is actually mostly water.

Hope that helps explain the difference.