As someone with a major interest in longevity medicine, I wondered if anybody else would be interested in a high carb (unrefined, low GI), low protein and low fat version of Huel.
Looking at the blue zones (little pockets of the world where health and lifespans are better, lower rates of disease etc) such as the Okinawans, the science really does point to such a macronutrient ratio.
Whilst I know there are many people out there using Huel for a myriad of reasons, where we are surrounded by Hulk-like protein powders (hence Huel Black), to me it seems that there is a huge, huge, huge gap in the market for powdered food / complete meal replacements with the primary aim of optimising metabolic longevity pathways, a field which is rapidly becoming of huge interest to scientists.
I am aware the market will be much smaller for this, and you could argue that Huel itself is already head and shoulders above most foods out there, but to mimic nutrient ratios of the blue zones is otherwise somewhat difficult to do, which presents opportunity.
Sorry, but I simply don’t agree with the fact that it is not to do with what they eat or what the macronutrient ratio is. Please could you provide some evidence supporting what you’re saying?
Scientific evidence simply works on evidence, what happens both positive and negative. Not what doesn’t happen. Nutrigenomics is becoming an increasingly popular area of research at the moment, demonstrating the efficacy of groups of compounds (polyphenols, stilbenes, carotenoids etc.) in enhancing longevity-promoting metabolic pathways. Exciting stuff.
Whilst I appreciate that avoiding specific foods or bad nutritional habits are detrimental to health, please don’t provide a sweeping generalisation that the macronutrient ratio is irrelevant to the extreme longevity exhibited by these populations.
I disagree on this and it also depends with longevity if you just mean living longer or living longer without disease (healthspan). Time and time again it’s been shown that diet quality is a big factor (Source 1, Source 2, Source 3)
Protein restriction does appear to play a role in life extension but calorie restriction plays a role too, especially in regards to health span which I’d argue is more important as shown in monkeys (source). Restricting protein may also be detrimental especially in older individuals when sarcopenia (muscle loss) becomes a factor (source). Why would you want to live to 100 if you spend the last 20 years confined to a bed? Such diets also ignore adherence and how much someone enjoys said diet. Again, there’s no point being miserable for the sake of an extra few years, which we will never be entirely sure on because we can’t conduct such studies in humans.
The China Study book is unfortunately riddled with inaccuracies.
There are so many dietary factors that go into determining the lifespan of a person that just the macronutrient ratio on it’s own is not enough and I don’t think it’s as strong as some camps make it out to be. That’s before we get into the rest of a person’s lifestyle such as what they do for work and their personality it’s really complex!
Bringing this back to Huel the purpose of different macronutrient ratio powders is more about offering flexibility and convenience for varying diets. So, on that basis a higher carbohydrate powder could be interesting. In the meantime, adding fine oat flour to Huel v3.0 should do the trick.
Longevity ≠ lifespan but as you mentioned, is more related to healthspan. Sorry I didn’t make this clearer, I know I did refer to lifespan as well a little bit earlier but the main focus is on healthspan.
You said “I disagree on this” with regards to my comment about macronutrient ratios. Oh, if only science was so simple! Could you please show me some evidence against the ratio I suggested being less optimal than something else? My argument wasn’t anything to do with diet quality, which I totally agree is obviously important, and I appreciate your references in that regard. The macro ratio on its own whilst eating crap clearly won’t do you any good at all!
I’m just yet to see solid evidence against high carb, low protein/fat when we’re considering longevity promoting metabolic pathways, however restricting protein intake as opposed to calorie restriction has proven optimal in multiple species.
You are right in that nutrition is extremely multifactorial, but then the same argument applies for those who use Huel Black for trying to “bulk” after going to the gym. I do appreciate that society has greater interest in that at present though.
Your point about sarcopenia is a good one. It would be interesting to see whether these blue zones have a higher prevalence, and other factors which may be at stake which may overcompensate for the reduced protein, reducing the risk. Maybe. I don’t know.
Either way, it’s now common knowledge and broadly validated that such a macronutrient ratio is optimal for healthspan / longevity promoting metabolic pathways in multiple species and demonstrated in large populations around the world.
It’s not that it’s less optimal just that there are ratios that I think are pretty much just as optimal and when you factor in that people will not eat a diet for the rest of their life. If they can’t adhere to a diet then it doesn’t matter how good it is which is a big difference from animal studies. Off the top of my head the Mediterranean diet is a good example but it this doesn’t have to sit in one of the blue zones.
I would be one of those interested. I have read through some of the work by Valter Longo. But I find myself unable to digest the amounts of vegetables he recommends to eat. I don’t know if I would be able to get used to it with time and practice.
On the other hand I am not sure one can safely assume that the macronutrient ratio (including low in sugar, low GI etc.) alone is sufficient for giving the same effects. I doubt fresh vegetables and fruits can be replaced in all their positive effects. There is something more to them, I guess. After all huel IS processed food, even highly processed I think.
There is good and bad processing. Imagine in which band Huel is. Huel is basically 6 ingredients dehydrated + the specific mix to cover the vitamins and minerals that it needs to achieve the recommended daily amounts
There are isolated proteins in it, this is far more than just dehydration. The whole is more than its parts. If putting some parts together to a new combination is enough for helping with healthy aging and longevity is unknown.
But the study you provided showed the diet only reduced the risk of cardiovascular events occurring. The risk of dying from CVD or any cause was non-significant. I presume these are the endpoints you’re referring to?
Yes I imagine the study would needed to have been longer for these endpoints to have been met. There are many issues with this study. I guess my point is that relatively, the evidence seems stronger for a low protein diet that one with about 30%.
Do you hav any good references that show benefit for this level of protein? You mention sarcopenia, and frailty is a concern, but has there been a study that shows a difference between 30% protein and say 20%?
There are multiple factors coming into play if your goal is longevity - not only nutrition but also sleep (quality), exercise, psychological factors, genes, environmental polution, stress levels and others.
Restricting protein makes you more hungry overall, Caloric restriction will be harder. Don’t forget that these mice are in a cage and only get what is given to them. A real human being living a normal life has various food choices, and be able to resist temptations or “cravings”. With a higher protein diet this is easier. Being hungry also causes stress, that is cortisole spikes.
To much carbohydrate is also a major factor in developing insuline resistance.
I mean you find publications for about everything - both promoting it and condemning it. With the right study design you can show almost everything.
If you say it is your choice that you want to go on a high carb / low protein diet it is different. Then okay, you have to find a way to achieve this.
My first idea was using less of the regular Huel powder and replacing the rest with some carb-addition, like maltodextrine, starch, juice etc. Maybe this works for you, you just have to try it.
(When there was no Huel black it was a good trick to replace part of the Huel powder with protein powder)