How 'healthy' is a Huel Bar?

Having been trained by the government to think in terms of ‘5 fruit and veg a day’ as a good indicator of healthiness and ‘greasy burgers’ as a bad indicator of healthiness, how does the Heel Bar stack up to this rather unscientific metric?

I understand, of course, that Huel is ‘nutritionally complete’, and the same claim is made of the bar. So, theoretically (at least with the powder, I appreciate it’s not possible to eat 2000 calories of bars a day) Huel is the equivalent of adhering perfectly to your government-reccomended 5 a day (or likely even better)?

Another example - I have in front of me a standard bar of Dairy Milk and a Huel Bar. Obviously the Huel Bar is healthier - but by how much? How much of a benefit am I getting by substituting my daily chocolate bar for a Huel bar? To what extent will it ‘offset’ the other bad choices I have made that day viz my food choices?

A further example - An Apple and a Banana. Is the Huel bar technically ‘healthier’ than eating those?

It’s very hard to look at a solid block of brown matter and think ‘this right here is more healthier than plain fruit or plain vegetables, so I’d better eat this first’.

Hopefully this makes sense… I’m just trying to place a Huel Bar mentally in my head health-wise?

Whole Foods (the apple and banana you mention) will always be better above anything else. The chocolate bar is obviously not as healthy as a huel bar due - despite both being ‘processed’ the chocolate bar is made with dairy (which contains sex steroid hormones, such as estrogen), 25g of sugar, high in saturated animal fat, low in fiber, little nutritional content. Dairy milk ingredients:

MILK**, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fats (palm, shea), emulsifiers (E442, E476), flavourings.

Basically it is just a blend of fat, sugar and nothing else.
Huel Bar ingredients:

Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein, Brown Rice Protein, Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, Chicory Root Fibre, Gluten-Free Oat Flour, Cocoa Powder (6%), Date Syrup, Flaxseed Powder, Coconut Oil, Cacao Nibs, Micronutrient Blend*, Sunflower Oil, Sunflower Lecithin, Vanilla Flavour.

Processed but lower in sugar, dairy-free, higher in fiber, better macronutrient ratio and nutritional content. Tbh I would stick with huel powder over the bars in terms of ingredients as I prefer lower sugar content, but I convineance and having something to chew is the point of them by and large.

Fruits are generally healthy. But they are not nutritionally complete. A Huel Bar, that is nutritionally complete, is therefore ”healthier” than an apple or a banana.

However, it’s perfectly possible that the apple or banana would be just as healthy – or perhaps even healthier – than the Huel Bar if it’s part of a healthy diet. But that would very much depend on what else is in this diet.

TL;DR: Its hard to say.


[quote=“juyaib, post:2, topic:7832, full:true”] which contains sex steroid hormones, such as estrogen

Good job the liver destroys pretty much all dietary estrogen we ingest then, isn’t it?


How do you quantify the term ‘healthy’?

I have a problem with this word in respect of food and nutrition; to me, it should be used in relation to an individual’s health.

You could say a Huel Bar is ‘healthier’ than a banana, because it has more micronutrients, more protein, more omega-3 fats, more soluble fibre. But some would argue the banana is more ‘healthy’ as it’s unprocessed and lower in sugar.


I agree with James (not just because he’s bigger than me though). I think many find it easy to look at both fruit and a Huel Bar/Powder and think that because the banana is more recognisable and ‘natural’ that it automatically makes it healthier. Nutritionally Huel is better, but there is place for both. I really enjoy debating this and it makes for some pretty fiery conversations on Facebook!

Hi James,

I suppose it would be ‘most likely to prolong my life’ or ‘least likely to cause a health incident like a heart attack’ or something like that. That’s my understanding of being healthy and why we need to hit certain targets for nutrients in our diet. If we don’t get enough Vitamin C, we could get scurvy. Vitamin D, rickets, and so on. Too much saturated fat could cause issues in the arteries. Too much salt increases cholesterol (bear in mind I’m not at all nutritionally trained so I’m just going off what I’ve heard).

I do not care for more holistic or unscientific notions of what is ‘healthier’. If it’s going to lead to me having less chance of a health incident, it could be processed a billion times over for all I care.

My use of the banana and apple are just examples of conditioning that we’ve had over the years. Presumably, because it’s easier for the average person to remember to eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day than it is to know to consume exactly the amount of vitamins, sugars, etc etc that such foods provide. Until Huel came along.

But say that I’m someone who doesn’t regularly eat fruit or vegetables. Just because I don’t like them. And say I eat far too many beige foods - chicken nuggets, chips, pasties, cheese… I wonder to what extent eating a Huel bar offsets the effects of that poor diet. It’s very easy in our minds to look at a banana and think ‘If I eat this, it’s going to be an improvement upon that saturated fat disaster of a sausage roll that I ate earlier today’. It’s harder to do that with a Huel bar - so I guess I’m seeking assurance that that is the case.

Any piece of food needs to be taken in the context of the whole diet. A bad diet can’t be ‘fixed’ by any one piece of food, whether a Huel bar or a banana.

The idea that one piece of food can be ‘healthier’ than the other is absurd, because it is to do with how it fits in with your diet.

If you have eaten no sugar or fat in a given day, but have already met your micronutrient goals, and have 200 calories left, then a dairy milk bar MAY be healthier than a Huel bar, because it is completing your desired macronutrients.The Huel bar may just be giving you more of what you don’t need. But this is a very specific and unlikely set of circumstances. In 99% of instances the Huel bar will be healthier.

If you were talking in terms of ‘if I ONLY ate banana’ vs ‘ONLY eating Huel bars’, then the Huel bar wins hands down.


Absolutely, so I suppose I am focusing on the non-specific and likely set of circumstances. Those where I haven’t already met my micronutrient goals, and those where I’ve eaten unhealthily for most of the day.

If I’ve had a terrible day and I’m high on some things and very low on others, and I’m thinking to myself ‘darn, I really need to eat something at least a bit healthy today’ it’s more ‘healthy’ to opt for a Huel bar then a piece of fruit?

It would totally depend on what you had eaten and what your goals are.

If you’ve gone way over calories for example, and your goal is weight loss, then it might be better to eat nothing at all.

It’s not a healthy way of thinking. Healthy food can never fix a bad diet. Best to just avoid the crap next time.

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Right, but I’m telling you that:

a) My goal is not weightloss. I will not have exceeded my calorie goal.
b) I will have been under on nutrition as I will have eaten a lack of fruit and vegetables

So I’m just wondering if a Huel bar is a healthy substitute for the government-reccomended 5 a day that I never manage to adhere to.

you might be better off eating the choclate bar. Huel have way to much antioxiodants witch increases risk for canser etc

Are you going to source these claims or…?

Sure, the problem is that there are way to high concentrastion antioxidants. Three are a danish studie tjat shows problems with thiS with 230 000 People included in the study. Risk of cancer for instance increaced by 16%

I’ll need a citation to that study.

what i dont have, google it. should be easy enough

So I found this article.

  1. The ‘mortality’ increase was cited as being 4%, not 16%. You’re massively over.

  2. The study concluded: ‘we would like to dissuade people who are healthy and who have a balanced diet from taking them’. In other words, they should not be exceeding what is required. Huel is said to be nutritionally complete, not nutritionally excessive.

I Think You should read the artical again. Then the study then i prob see what i mean.

I do remember attending a lecture given by dr James Watson during which he presented his hypothesis concerning ROS and cancer (also: diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementias). It does make quite a lot of sense that antioxidants could increase the probability of getting cancer (by blocking pathways that normally lead to the disruption of cell cycle and apoptosis).

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