Loadsa Protein OR 400kcal Energy (not both)?

Reading the forum, lots of people (me too!) seem to think about just how many calories they are getting, making sure there’s just enough. Now protein is also a thing. Looking at the info for Huel Black:

  • 400kcal per (90g) portion
  • contains relatively little carbohydrate (which we commonly associate with energy) and a lot of protein (around 40g / 80% daily value)

So what I’m thinking is that, in portion of Huel Black a lot of the stated energy is actually contained in the protein. Googling a bit got the impression there’s about 4kcal energy per gram of protein. So there’s about 160kcal in the protein.

What does this mean? If you think you’re getting 400kcal energy from your Black, well then you’re not getting any protein (for muscle repair etc). Or if you think you’re getting 80% Daily Value Protein from your Huel Black, then you’re not getting anything like 400kcal energy (and need to up energy intake accordingly).

Am I nuts or is this true? Any comments?

Honestly I don’t blame you for feeling a bit confused here - even as nutritionists, there’s a lot of considerations to try and keep tabs on :sweat_smile:

Ultimately, what happens to nutrients and the calories they provide in our bodies is certainly not as straightforward as 400 calories on your plate (or in your shaker!) equals 400 calories used by the body solely for energy. You’re right that our preferred energy source is carbohydrates, followed by fat and protein. It rings true that if our energy needs are not met by carbs and fat (including the carbs and fat stored in our bodies), we’ll source energy from protein. There’s also the consideration of how effectively we absorb each of these nutrients, as well as the caloric requirements to digest them. In both cases, protein appears to supply the fewest net calories.

To your concerns around protein, the body’s protein requirements (making enzymes, hormones, normal tissue repair etc.) are incorporated into our recommended calorie intake. If you’re looking to gain significant muscle mass, you’ll likely need to be in a calorie surplus, so that additional energy and protein can be used for muscle tissue growth.

Great, thanks a lot.

Would it then make sense to prefer a high-carb Huel (eg Essential) in the mornings, with all the energy requirements of the day ahead? Then to prefer a high-protein Huel (eg Black) in the evenings? I think athletes do something like that: carbs in the morning /lunch and lean chicken at night!

This probably won’t have as much of an effect as you might think. Athletes are likely to have carbs earlier in the day as they’re probably training in the morning, however for the average person, having a high-carb meal in the morning isn’t going to supply you with all the energy you need for the whole day, probably just until your next meal :blush: That said, if you’d prefer to split your macronutrients like this, that’s absolutely fine!