Huel as part of a mass gaining diet? (bodybuilding inside)

I’m french forgive my bad english.

I am currently following a full body training aiming at gaining musclular mass. It is composed by body building, 3 times a week, and a good and strict nutrition diet. It obviously works but it is sometimes really hard to find the time to cook perfectly balanced meals 5 times per day (i have to eat a lot to exceed my kCal needs to be able to gain weight). That plus the sports, it takes too much time I don’t spend with the kids.

I was wondering if using Huel as a remplacement and or as a complement of my diet is a good idea?

The idea would, for example, be to cook and eat not 5 but 3 “normal food based meals” per day and to complete with 1 huel powder meal and 1 huel bar collation.
Of course, I will continue to eat what’s needed to reach my macros quotas : carbohydrates, lipids, protein and my overhall kCal quota.

Are there any successful bodybuilders that eat huel on a daily basis that way? Is that a good idea? Or is it way much better and efficient to eat normal food at every meal?

Other way to ask: is huel a REAL equivalent alternative to good and balanced food or is it a “less horrible” food than eating sandwiches, fries, humbergers, etc.?

My question may be considered as stupid but in france, THE country of gastronomy, powder based food is seen like the absolute evil so asking this in france would mandatorily lead to have answers like “don’t eat that shit”, blabla.

I’ve asked this question on french bodybuilding forums and i’ve had answers like:

  • huel is crap
  • get a life man
  • huel is not food, it is shit
  • eat huel and you’ll get fat
  • huel contains very bad quality nutriments that can’t all be assimilated by your organism
  • drinking is not eating
  • eat shit, you’ll look like shit

Every time, they justificate by telling me huel is made of bad quality proteins (non assimilable), bad quality oil that lead to a negative omega 3/6 balance, you don’t get fibers eating huel, huel is full of carbohydrates so that will make me get fat, etc.

Where is the truth?


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I fully understand where you are coming from. The powder stigma is big here too, even with protein powders.


Simple answer, I think yes.

If the question were, is it better than having real food (whatever you were having before); then the answer would be:

I think it is neither better or worse, just more convenient.

Then again, I am no bodybuilder. From what I’ve seen in the top of the scene; some of them go to the extremes with their diets. Extreme characteristics that I might not care. For the normal, amateur bodybuilder I think Huel should be more than fine.

Anyway, why am I saying/justifying this?

Huel is indeed food, but in a powder form. But it is still food. Just like protein powder is still protein. Is it shit food? I would say it isn’t if you look at the ingredients: Oats (I’m sure you are having some); sunflower oil; MCT from coconut; pea+rice protein.

Eat too much and get fat. There is no particular reason why eating the same amount of calories from Huel to a normal food, should cause you getting more fat.

Then we have looked at the some of the ingredients and you have seen that they are not “weird” ingredients. If you are worried about the protein

Let me link you to studies where pea protein has been shown to be as efficient as other sources to build muscle (Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: a double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein - PubMed):

In addition to an appropriate training, the supplementation with pea protein promoted a greater increase of muscle thickness as compared to Placebo and especially for people starting or returning to a muscular strengthening. Since no difference was obtained between the two protein groups, vegetable pea proteins could be used as an alternative to Whey-based dietary products."

It is true that pea protein alone is deficient in certain essential amino acids, but in Huel is paired with rice to balance out those deficiencies. A strategy suggested to improve muscle anabolic response:
"These may include the following: 1) fortification of plant-based protein sources with the amino acids methionine, lysine, and/or leucine; 2) selective breeding of plant sources to improve amino acid profiles; 3) consumption of greater amounts of plant-based protein sources; or 4) ingesting multiple protein sources to provide a more balanced amino acid profile."The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption - PubMed

Also relevant: Guide to Protein Quality, Digestion and Absorption – Huel

Huel Huel with Whey
Histidine 650 660
Isoleucine 1367 1740
Leucine 2500 3071.7
Lysine 1794 2880
Methionine (plus cysteine) 975 1196.7
Phenylalanine (plus Tyrosine) 2901 1530
Threonine 1079 2160
Tryptophan 307 630
Valine 884 1740

Essential amino acid quantities are displayed in mg/100g of product. Whey protein is whey protein concentrated. The second column indicates the amino acid profile in Huel if they used whey protein instead of pea+rice.

As you can see there are some differences. Are they relevant? I would say that they should not be unless you are tracking it.

I am not sure of what you mean by negative balance but Huels omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is 1/1 (3.2g of ALA,O3, to 3.1g of O6).

7.7g from 100g of Huel 128-132% of the daily amount (The Huel Powder Formula Explained).
"soluble and insoluble forms all naturally supplied from the food ingredients, mainly from oats and flaxseed, and provides "

I don’t know what your macros are but Huel’s carb content is 40% (37-3 if we split fibers). In my book that is not very high, even while cutting. Are you currently consuming less carbs than this?

To each their own truth. In my humble opinion, it should work for you. You could give it a go, asses it for a couple weeks and see how it works. For better opinion you should ask James, who has more expertise in both nutrition and bodybuilding.


Wow this is an outstanding answer! Thank you so much

Thanks for the comparison between huel and huel with whey. The difference in leucine is high but I take a shoot of BCAA before my training so I guess it’s fine.

I’m currently following this:
carbohydrates: 50% - 295g
proteins: 23% - 132g
lipids: 26% - 66g
for a total of 2300 kCal per day (i try to have a slow mass gain, with as less fat as possible)

Who is James and how to contact him?

Thanks again, I really appreciate

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He is referring to @JamesCollier who is the head nutritionist behind Huel who is also active on the forum and is also a body builder.

I have tagged him in so he may reply to this thread.


Hi @vanquish

Welcome to Huel.

Huel is ideal for the hard-training gym-goer even though it wasn’t designed specifically for this purpose. I have Huel myself (obviously!). If people claim that Huel is not good (for whatever reason), ask them to justify what they say with credible reasoning. Sure, digging into a hearty meal is great and we don’t want to stop people doing that (no one loves food more than me!), but Huel offers a convenient alternative to people who eat crap.

Barny DuPlessis (former Mr Universe) has a lot of Huel and he’s a vegan. he threatens to make a stage comeback later this year!

The protein quality of Huel is idea and I’ve explained why in this article.


Many thanks
Are you saying Huel is just an alternative to crap food or is it also a good balanced meal that can, when it is more convinient, replace a real meal with no problem?

Often, people say Huel is massively transformed food.
I don’t know what’s the truth.

What transformation steps must be acheived to get huel powder? Are nutriments heated?

The nutritionnal information written at the back of the huel powder packs, is it the one for the finished product (after all transformations) or is it the addition of the nutritionnal specifications of the raw products before transformation?

What benefit do we gain by eating fresh vegetables vs drinking huel? A lot of people say “it is always and absolutely preferable to eat normal food over powder”. Why?

Last question: your french competitor offers salty taste. Do you plan to do it?


Huel is definitely a good balanced meal in itself. All I was saying was that, if you enjoy a great, balanced solid food meal, that too is great.

This article is about the Huel ingredients.

The nutrition on pack is what you’re getting.

You mean their savoury flavours? I’ve tried them. We are looking at it, and if we do it, we’ll do a lot better :slight_smile:


Yes savoury flavours pardon my English.
To be honnest, their flavours is really basic and not really great but it is not sweet, that makes it very attractive for lunch.

Thanks for your time.

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I thought this too, but you get used to it!

It’s definitely possible! You should try it and report back, for the sake of science

People on websites such as “” are usually stuck up, elitist snobs.

If they put you down for what you eat, it’s mostly because of ignorance, and the fact the they are either eating some expensive diets, or they are poor, so forced to eat some super cheap ones (Tuna, Dry Chicken, etc).

There is nothing wrong with drinking calories. The main ingrediant in Huel is Oatmeal. If you took some oatmeal and turned it into powder using a food processor, does the Oatmeal instantly become sh*tty junk food? Not at all.

Just let the haters know, Huel is made from:

  • Oatmeal
  • Flaxseed
  • Peas
  • Brown Rice
  • Coconut

Huel is also jam packed with Potassium, which most people are lacking.

I have been doing powerlifting style training and body building stuff for a year now and been on huel the whole time (since before I even went to the gym) managed to gain 8kg and gained a lot of strength. Huel really helps. If your weight isn’t going up just add milk and you will start gaining weight.

Before I weight lifted my body weight maintained at 70kg having 2 huels a day and other food around that.

All I did after lifting was have an extra scoop, then add milk too and I still have that to this day (with huel granola too as its a great snack when you just want to eat)


Ouch ouch ouch! :open_mouth: