Hi there, just wanted to write up my experiences of Huel here as some similar posts were useful for me when I started using it.
I am 36, F, 55kg 165cm, do aerobic exercise once a week or so, fitness is better than average but not great. I have suffered migraines all my life, but recently they have become much more frequent (1 per week) and much more debilitating. They usually start with a mild, asymmetrical head pain that grows over about 4-6hours until it is unbearable and all I can do is lay in a bed writhing around trying to block it out somehow. Prior to it I often get light sensitivity and blurry vision, uncontrollable yawning and loss of appetite. Afterwards I get depression, fatigue, insomnia and upset digestion. So pretty typical migraines.
I cut out the obvious triggers - caffeine, alcohol, chocolate - but was still getting them frequently. I often get them after exercise or when not eating well, so I hypothesised that the trigger might be either something else in my diet or changes in blood sugar. To test this, I did try an elimination diet last winter, cutting everything back to mostly just rice and certain veg, which DID help the migraine, but I once I started reintroducing foods the migraines returned over a couple of months, and I was not able pin down any one food as a culprit. I also lost a lot weight and the diet wasn’t sustainable for me as I couldn’t get motivated about what I was eating - I often ended up not eating instead of eating well.
Like a lot of people, my diet is crap. I don’t get very motivated about healthy eating and mostly just end up eating a lot of convenience food to keep me going, which can’t be good for me. So a couple of weeks ago I decided Huel might be a good test diet, as it would give me a stable blood sugar level as well as controlled set of ingredients - if I could get migraine free on Huel it would allow me to reintroduce other foods more stably. I also get bad eczema as well as a lot of general lethargy, so I hoped it might improve that as well.
I was skeptical about Huel at first, but I actual found it to be quite pleasant when mixed up well, even though I am not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners. I also found it to be very convenient and satisfying - no more worrying about crap for lunch, I could just down some Huel and not think about it. I got into a routine of blending up for the next day the night before, and had worked out a good formula for myself.
4-5 scoops (approx 600- 750 cal) + 500ml milk (soya,coconut, cow, about 200-250cal) + topped up with water, maybe blended with fruit.
This gave me about half my calories for the day, then I could eat what I wanted for a proper meal in the evening and maybe snack on fruit during the day (I checked the calorie counter suggested by Huel which suggest I should eat about 1700/day based on my stats.). My digestion seemed to improve, despite me getting a “popcorn” smell in my urine which other people seem to have had.
However, this was not to last . Everytime I drank Huel, after about 10-20 minutes I started to get weird sensations, which reminded me of the early signs of migraine, most notably blurry vision, visual auras, eye strain, yawning, and mild headache. They would disappear after an hour or so, often leaving me feeling tired, wiped out and a bit down, but strangely I did not get a full blown migraine. It seemed fairly consistent, and the effect became more pronounced over the two weeks I was using Huel, and sometimes the visual auras became so bad I had to stop what I was doing completely as I couldn’t see. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing or when I had the Huel, or whether it was mixed with water or any kind of milk, or whether it was original or unsweetened - 10-20 minutes after drinking it I began the weird sensations migrainous sensations began. I also really struggled to sleep, often taking hours to fall asleep despite being extremely tired and getting about 4-5 hours per night, which was making me feel even worse - something pretty typical after having a migraine. In those two weeks I did not, however, develop a full blown migraine with severe headpain as I had been. They were obviously migraines, but somehow different to before.
So yesterday I stopped using Huel, and went back to eating pringles and cheese sandwiches and hooray, no migraines. In fact last night I finally slept well (11 hours!) and I am feeling very good this morning. Seeing as Huel was working for me in other ways and I have spent a lot of money on it now, I may try it again in a week or so, to check that there isn’t any other possible cause I am missing. But considering how predictable the migraine effects were after drinking the Huel, I am doubtful I will find anything different in round two.
I am not sure what is causing the migraines in the Huel (tip - it doesn’t seem to be the Sucralose as I have tried unsweetened), or why they follow a different pattern that my normal migraines (more auras, less pain, daily rather than once a week), but it does seem to be that in me there is a strong correlation between drinking Huel and getting one. If anyone has any advice or thoughts on this, it would be much appreciated. If not, this is just for info for any other migraine sufferers out there looking into Huel.
TLDR - I started using Huel to help improve migraines, it seemed to make the worse (and different).