High Sodium Content & Pre-Hypertension

Hi folks,

Like many people, I suffer from pre-hypertension, so to combat that, in my regular diet, I usually ingest maybe 25% to 40% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium, and I’ve never seen any reason to eat more salt than that. To be honest, even if I wasn’t pre-hypertensive, I’d probably avoid it, as salt has no benefits beyond a minimal 15-20% RDA, from what I can see.

Anyway, I’m considering trying Huel as a way to improve my overall nutrition, and I like the look of Huel Hot & Savory, but can anyone explain to me why Huel Hot & Savory (and many other Huel products) contain so much salt? Is it just used as a preservative, or is there some dietary reason that I’m unaware of?

Given that the FDA considers a per-serving allowance of 20% of the recommended daily allowance of sodium “high”, and given that these meals contain between 17% and 20%, I’m having trouble finding a reason to accept what I consider to be (for me) a concerning amount of salt.

If there’s no reason other than its use as a preservative, do the folks behind Huel plan on reducing the salt contents of their meals in the future? Any links to official statements about this? If so, I may try Huel to see if I like it, with an eye to getting a subscription once the sodium content comes down. If not, I’m thinking I should probably give these products a miss.

Thanks in advance for all replies.

Hi there, welcome to the forum! :wave:

Really sorry to hear about your pre-hypertension and understand why you would be cautious about salt. Salt is in Huel because it’s an essential nutrient but for flavour mainly.

Huel products don’t contain so much salt, here’s a rough breakdown:

  • Black Edition - 70% Reference intake per 2000kcal (salted caramel more obviously)
  • v3.0 - 60% (salted caramel more obviously)
  • RTD - 45%
  • H&S - varies from 83% to 97%

So none of the amounts are above that limit and no Huel products are classed as high in salt.

There’s no negatives going above 20-100% from a nutritional point of view either but the flavour massively improves. It’s important to note that while we try and make Huel suitable for a huge amount of dietary needs, it is primarily designed with those without medical conditions. Clearly for you this is different though.

We put nutrition first and taste second and in this case we believe we’ve got the balance right.

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Considering that you stated that the salt intake is to improve taste, is there a lower level in the Black U&U? I hadn’t noticed the sodium level (I normally read the nutritional levels of everything, since I restrict my sodium intake for similar reasons as I am lactose intolerant and medication to deal with high BP contains lactose).

I have been using the U&U as an extra addition to my porridge to improve my nutritional balance. I am using it instead of something like a fruitisip drink since I had a colostomy and struggle to get balanced nutrition. Basically the idea is to have the necessary vitamins & minerals. But I hope I am not having too high a sodium intake!:clown_face:

some do but not all - you can ask your doctor/specialist to prescribe lactose free alternatives as with most other medications. they are increasingly common.

It’s also worth noting that the amount of ingested lactose necessary to produce adverse effects ranges between 10 to 18 grams - oral medications that use lactose as carriers or fillers do so in VERY small amounts so most people who are lactose intolerant can probably tolerate the quantities incorporated into oral drug products.

There is also the option to use lactase enzyme supplements to help mitigate the effects, if no lactose free solution is available.

Hello, I notices the use of the word ‘prehypertension’. As far as I am aware, this is a North American classification of a condition. In the UK we usually talk about hypertension. Also you mentioned evidence from the FDA, again this is usually considered to be a USA organisation.
Furthermore, as well as salt (sodium) other ways of reducing BP include exercise, lowering stress appraisal and using medications.

they are actually a little different - Hypertension is classified in the UK and US as when your BP is 140/90 or above - pre is classified as 120–139 / 80–89 consistently. It’s true that the FDA is a US organisation, but such is the level of their research it is often adopted by other countries - especially the EU - in both drugs and food nutrition standards.

Having a colostomy has complicated my medication further due to needing to absorb it from mouth possibly (dissolving tablets under tongue; having paediatric versions of medication — ie liquidised or liquid so I digest it further.

Yes I know! I’m a clinician who delivers lectures in and around this topic matter. In the UK pre hypertension is not a clinically recognised diagnosis. Addioomally the FDA have different assessment criteria for medication MHRA should be used. Whilst the FDA have a Europe office, it is better to use the mutrion guidliens for a specific country as these are likely more clinically relevant to that countries population and diet.

I’m a UK nurse and this is interesting. It’s bizarre to read that a systolic of 120-140 would be a concern because on my ward we’d be extremely happy with that (usually). Also that 90 or above is normal- especially when guidelines for us say systolic below 111 is low. 90 is very concerning on the ward. We work with a lot of elderly patients so I know this changes things, but it seems odd to me that 120 could be considered “prehypertensive”. Is it because of the diastolic and MAP? Or am I just too used to elderly patients in a hospital setting where NEWS is everything?

Just FYI, I live in the USA.

Systolic of 90 to 140 is ‘normal’ and yes not usually a concern. I would be concerned in an elderly population with multiple co morbidities that below 90 is a concern (and a falls risk indicator, as is postural drop). Actually 150 systolic in elderly is also not a concern. With EOL any number goes. However, MAP is a problem with hypertension due to loss of atery and arteriole elasticity. NEWS is a guideline and doesn’t account for individual factors so MEWS (M = Modified was invented for specific clinical population). The reason the USA use pre-hypertension is for health insurance marketing, and, the USA medical model is very medical which we don’t have a culture of in the UK, which has now transitioned from being bio-psychosocial to holistic (supposedly). In summary for this dude, Ian C, unless his BP is 150+ I feel there is no issue.

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Looking at the effect of electrolytes on blood pressure not only sodium but also potassium is important. A diet rich in potassium has a positive impact on blood pressure, simply speaking it is kind of a counteracting force to sodium. And Huel is relatively rich in potassium.

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