More like half a meal?

I’ve been tempted to start but I can’t seem to work past the simple math.

So it’s recommended by NHS for me to have 2500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight.

To simplify meals a little, let’s call that 800 per meal (with 100 spare).

So for lunch or tea I could have an 800 calorie meal I make or a 400 calorie ‘meal’ of huel…

I mean… I understand skimming the margins a bit for the sake of profit, but claiming to replace a full meal is just a blatant lie, no?

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Hi there!

Don’t know about you, but personally I tend to have some snacks spread out throughout the day. (Ideally, they would consist of fruit; in reality … :sweat_smile:)

If your daily intake should sum up to 2500 kcal, then what about

  • 500 kcal breakfast
  • 300 kcal morning snack
  • 600 kcal lunch
  • 300 kcal afternoon snack
  • 600 kcal dinner
  • 200 kcal evening snack
    sum: 2500 kcal

I’m “medium short”, so generalised intake recommendations tend to be a bit high for me.
According to my daily intake should, depending on activity, sum up to somewhere between 1600 and 1800 kcal. With that in mind, it’s easy for me to just keep the “1 portion (for me) is 400 kcal”, then (ideally/theoretically) go for

  • 400 kcal breakfast (Huel v3.0)
  • ~400 kcal lunch (Huel v3.0, or something else)
  • ~400 kcal home after work “snack” (basically "lunch #2, as I work early mornings)
  • ~400 kcal dinner (usually something non-Huel, but not always)

(NHS’ BMI calculator | Check your BMI - NHS recommends that I keep between 1380 - 1775 kcal, to lose some weight.)


Not all of us fit those measurements and requirements. If I ate 2500 calories a day I’d be obese. If I were in a calorie deficit and didn’t exercise, I’d only need 1320 a day. So I think the 400 calories per meal that Huel has across everything is a good starting number. Sometimes I cut the portions in half so it can fit my needs better.

You need to incorporate EVERYTHING that passes through your lips into those calories, so coffee with milk, any fruit and snacks. Not many people have just 3 meals a day with no snacks or liquid calories. I can easily consumer over 300 calories in coffee alone a day :joy:


OK, the snacking part I hadn’t really considered, but I still don’t think, including your suggestions, it adds up.

Regarding the first, perhaps I don’t snack much, but I doubt the average person would have 3 meals totalling 1700 and then have snacks equivalent to an extra half the food they eat in meals during that day (800). Also that aside, in that scenario you suggested where you have a huge amount in the form of snacks, you have still conceded that a huel meal is only 2/3 of a meal (400/600).

In the second part, you start by expressing that your recommended intake is below the average and I think its fairly self explanatory to say that their description of a meal should at least satisfy the average person’s requirements as a minimum or their product essentially becomes ‘Huel: most of a meal for people with lower than average calorie requirements’… More accurate but not very marketable.

Public health England and gov. UK state that, when including snacks as part of the daily calorie total, lunch and dinner should be 600 calories each with the recommendations for women and men remaining at 2000 and 2500 respectively.

I’m aware that Huel is based on the legal definition of a ‘meal’ in the sense that it is exactly in lowest possible value in that category but it seems disingenuous to sell it as something that replaces a full meal. Literally one less calorie at 399 makes it a dietary weight loss product.

Huel do not market their products as meal replacements and quote that it is only nutritionally complete at 2000 kcal worth. There are plenty of guides and articles relating to these topics such as this and this.


Hi Phil,

I skimmed through the links you posted mainly because I should probably try to not get carried away talking about this for the rest of my life!

That’s correct, they do not market Huel as a meal replacement discussed in that link because they SUGGEST, with no official definitions used, that meal replacements are often “marketed and designed to support either weight loss or a fitness programme.”

Funnily enough in the next sentence they contradict themselves by stating “In the UK and EU weight loss meal replacements are defined and regulated as providing between 200 and 400kcal per serving”. So by their own words, their 400kcal serving actually is a meal replacement, and it’s one for losing weight via calorie deficit. And yes, they then do fully claim it to be a meal replacement, saying: " To build on the points above, [Huel Hot & Savoury], [Huel Powders] and [Ready-to-drink] are nutritionally complete meals.

Elsewhere on their site where they give examples of using Huel in your diet we have this:
Maintain Weight
Breakfast huel snack Lunch huel snack meal snack
Huel 2 scoops, Huel Bar, Huel 2 scoops, Huel Bar, 1,004kcal, 250kcal

Fair enough, some food has been replaced but they have clearly admitted there that a meal for the average male is around 1,000 calories compared to the 400 you get from a fuel meal, so that’s even worse at 2/5 of a meal. I don’t see anywhere on their site “Don’t use Huel to replace your evening meals because it isn’t enough”. As they state above…

“To build on the points above, [Huel Hot & Savoury], [Huel Powders] and [Ready-to-drink] are nutritionally complete meals.”

Maintain Weight
Breakfast huel…snack…|…Lunch huel…snack…|…meal…|…snack
Huel 2 scoops, Huel Bar, Huel 2 scoops, Huel Bar, 1,004kcal, 250kcal

(Didn’t realise spaces wouldn’t show up!)

Everyone’s requirements are different. There’s no way I’d get away with 2500 calories a day. I keep it down to 1800 max. I have 1200 Huel calories and a meal every day. It’s very manageable but the most important thing for me is that I know I’m getting good nutrition. Use it as it suits you like the rest of us do.


Hi Julia,

It really doesn’t matter what somebody does in an individual case. Of course Huel would be perfectly fine for a small 12 year old girl to replace a meal with because you’re then looking at one specific example where it makes sense. Having two people point out they don’t eat much and it works for them is lovely but that isn’t the average person.

What I’m saying is for the average adult (especially a male), to which this product is marketed, it by no means replaces a full meal as advertised. Huel doesn’t say “This works as a meal replacement for people who don’t eat as much as the average person” it says “nutritionally complete meals” for everyone.

Even by a previous commenters statement that it is ‘designed for a 2000 calorie diet’, which I didn’t happen to spot the info for, that would mean Huel is only an acceptable ‘full meal replacement’ for women.

Hey Adam, welcome to the forum.

I really think you’re reading too much into the ‘recommended serving size’. We have to give a serving size on the back of the pouch by law. We’ve defined it as 400kcal. It used to be 500kcal, but feedback was that was too much, so we reduced it knowing that if people wanted more they could have more.

But some people don’t really do that, they just stick to the recommended and don’t experiment further, imagine if everyone’s first Huel meal was 670kcal (~2000kcal /3 meals)! Some people would just leave Huel and say “that was too much liquid I can’t have that.”

Equally, in your case you’ve said that 400kcal isn’t enough, we can’t win!

Huel is just food, simple as that. You can have as much or as little as you like, as frequently as you need. We don’t recommend 100% Huel diet, we just say that we’ve designed it to be nutritionally complete at 2000kcal.


Hi Tim,

I would argue that the recommended serving size is pretty important information. Especially if you make a point of advertising your product is £X per serving. Suddenly when you have 400kcal per serving your product is much more cost effective/ enticing.

I understand, it must be difficult to determine a value for all people, as you rightly point out, there will always be people saying “it’s too much” or “it’s too little”. Is it not then completely logical for you to use government guidelines on an adult portion size of 600kcal (which obviously lines up with the average persons recommended daily intake)?

Could you then clarify why choosing 400kcal seems the correct choice to suggest when you state that UK and EU law means it is quite literally not even the lowest form of a meal and is specifically in calorie deficit for weight loss.

Believe me, I want nothing more than to avoid food shopping, cooking and to be honest even the eating part is pretty annoying, but I fail to see the justification that your product provides X amount of meals at £X per serving when the serving size you are marketing to people would require more than 6 meals a day for the average male.

(I typed something really long here, but kind of slowly got the feeling of feeding a troll, so I cut most of it out. Then I ended up writing something long again, and I’m not sure of whether it’s a good idea to post it or not.)

A question:
Imagine that you’re at a convenience store, or a fast food place. They have some “set menus”: burger-or-something, chips-or-similar, plus a drink, or sandwich, fruit, drink - you get my drift.
Do you order just a “set menu”, or do you add-on to it - or do you maybe sometimes just pop in to buy something to drink?
Are you refused by staff to buy your “not just the set menu”?

If “one unit, per sitting” of Huel is too much / not enough, it’s adjustable.
Similar to the suggested “500 ml water, then 100g Huel v3.0”. Some like more/less liquid, some prefer other liquids than water, some add fruits, etc., etc…

Some may prefer to eat “one unit” but more often. Others may prefer “more than one unit”, but space them out more. Still others may want/need “more than one unit, more often”.
This is not only due to “body size”. Other factors, such as work, exercise, non-mobility, etc. play their parts in the equation too. The very same person may have different patterns for different occasions.

Some do the “100% Huel”, but I get the impression that most of us do not. Both ways work.

Have you even tried it?
I take it you’re UK-based, and as far as I’ve understood, you may be able to buy Huel’s “Ready to drink” at some of your stores. It’s not exactly equal to their powder (taste, consistency), but it’s an opportunity to try it before diving in.
You may not even like it.
Maybe you’re working yourself up over something that’s not for you?


I’ll make this my last message so you don’t have to consider this trolling, despite the fact I’ve asked nothing but reasonable questions, with nobody trying to answer them properly, and used genuine sources to back up numbers.

The fact anybody as an individual can adjust the amount they want is not lost on me in the slightest. I understand that you can put more or less in a cup when you make it…

As I stated a number of times, it is sold under the guise that one serving replaces an entire meal for an adult. IT DOES NOT. Therefore, saying its £X per serving is just a bunch of crap because realistically it’s at least 50% more expensive per serving than advertised. Nobody who has replied has made any reference to the fact it gives you 400/600kcal expected in a meal, nor have they responded to the point that 400kcal is considered a calorie deficit and Huel would be considered a food solely for weight loss but is advertised for maintaining a healthy weight.

Conveniently you’ve decided to miss out the rest of the sentence which is “(no more than 1,200kcal per day) for the purpose of weight loss and cannot be used for 100% of the diet for more than three weeks without medical advice”

400kcal isn’t considered a calorie deficit. A deficit is based on a whole diet not individual meals. As others have mentioned it’s all down to personal preference and what works for a person.

Most people have Huel for breakfast or lunch. Let’s take a look at some other common meals:

  • 2 slices of toast + butter + jam = 200kcal
  • 60g chocolate cereal (twice the recommended serving by the way) + 200ml of semi skimmed milk = 350kcal
  • Chicken and bacon sandwich = 350kcal

If you eat more that’s okay, but 400kcal is totally acceptable as a standard meal size.


If you want to be less convenient, I’ll happily look at the cited information you provide in full

As you’ve made clear, Huel is not being recommended to people as a full diet replacement so I don’t know why you would cite the incorrect part of the “Official Journal of the European Communities” in which your 1,200 value specifically refers to “products presented as a replacement for the whole of
the daily diet”.

I imagine what you should be referencing is Article 1 (2) (b) instead: “products presented as a replacement for one or more meals of the daily diet.”

…in which the directive later states “The energy provided by a product mentioned in Article 1 (2) (b) shall not be less than 840 kj (200 kcal) and shall not exceed 1 680 kj (400 kcal) per meal.”

Therefore, the official definition of a product advertised as replacing a meal and falls in the range of 200-400kcal is by your own cited directive “intended for use in energy-restricted diets for weight reduction”.

As for the other mentions, I’m happy to concede that Huel could replace breakfast, after all the government recommends the average person to have 400kcal for breakfast. If you’re describing your product as being roughly equivalent to a sandwich then we may not need to discuss further if it’s a full meal.

Well, according to the COMMISSION DIRECTIVE 96/8 /EC you provided the link for, technically it’s not an acceptable meal size, though 401kcal would be

Either way, finding the lowest value some people can handle and then marketing that to the average person as a full meal doesn’t sit well on my side.


I’m sure you think we’re picking and choosing sections to suit our narrative Adam, but you’re missing out other sections of 96/8 /EC which Huel does not fall into like the vitamins and minerals.

Just because Huel meets one part of a legislation doesn’t mean it is then falls under this legislation. By your logic the meals I mentioned above are also meal replacements intended for weight loss.

I can see we’re going to have to agree to disagree here. I hope despite the suggested meal size being less than you want it to be that you still find Huel useful. If you have any other queries just let us know.


I think I’ve put my finger on the main thing that bothers me, aside from the constant sidestepping of the disparity between 400kcal and a 600kcal adult portion or the notion that I’m making this about me and what I want and not what the average person requires/deserves.

It’s along the lines of having your cake and eating it. The reason you don’t have to call it a diet food (despite the kcal count) is that you specifically say in your about section that Huel is not a meal replacement… if it were, at 400kcal, you’d be in trouble. Instead it’s a ‘food’ that you can eat any amount of as you like.

The problem actually lies in that fact that despite that, you are happy to sit under the mass misunderstanding that people think they can have 1 portion of Huel instead of a meal. This is something you intentionally perpetuate in the way you word things, take for example the first line of your product description:

“Huel Powder v3.0 is a nutritionally complete meal in powdered form”

Hang on… It’s easy to forgive people thinking they could have this as a meal, after all you say it’s a “complete meal”, but legally if you called it a meal replacement, one serving would actually be diet food (as you would then have to abide by the rules of the directive), leading people to have one portion and think they are maintaining a healthy body weight when they are in fact not, due to a calorie deficit.

Perhaps another example? Maybe the Huel website could advise me on how I, the customer with little knowledge in the area, should use Huel? Enter Seth and Melanie, the examples you provide:

Seth’s breakast - one serving (2 scoops) of Huel
Seth’s lunch - one serving (2 scoops) of Huel
Melanie’s breakast - one serving (2 scoops) of Huel
Melanie’s lunch - one serving (2 scoops) of Huel
(and I would assume you aren’t against people using Huel instead of an evening meal, despite the examples suggestion a meal at that time is about 850kcal)

Again… doesn’t it seem a little like you’re suggesting to people that they can use a single 100g recommended serving of Huel as a replacement for a meal, despite the fact you’re legally not allowed to call it a meal replacement?

Personally, if I were you, I’d stop calling your product a ‘complete meal’ whilst simultaneously being legally required to say elsewhere in essentially ‘small print’, that it can’t replace an adult meal in reality because it would cause weight loss. Surely you’d agree that clearing up that confusion is beneficial for the customer and would lead to more people maintaining a healthy body weight? (if you’re going to respond I’d prefer that question isn’t avoided).

“Nutritionally Complete Food” is something I can fully get behind (and isn’t it strange that isn’t what you already use after specifically saying it’s a food replacement and not a meal replacement), with simple information informing customers of the recommended 400-600-600kcal for meals and how much powder that is to fulfil your legal requirements to add a servings value (or whatever another countries guidelines may be). They can then simply add or remove as their diet requires (which I already know you’re a fan of) and you aren’t accidentally causing them lose weight with mixed definitions of what a ‘meal’ is, though I understand that makes your product look more expensive.

Is your point that you don’t feel full after one 2-scoop serving of Huel in a given meal?

Adam, we’ve replied to you extremely thoroughly and it would seem by the reaction to our comments that most people reading are in agreement with us. This will be the last time we reply, but I think after this we need to agree to disagree.

“Replacement for a meal” - if I ate salad today for lunch but a sandwich on Friday for lunch the sandwich would not be called a replacement for a meal. In the same way, if I decide to have Huel on Friday and not a salad, Huel is not a replacement for a meal. It is simply a meal and I can have 400kcal, I could have 600kcal, I could have 254.6kcal. Either way, they are a meal. They might not fill Adam up, but I would have the amount which suited me.

Our examples of Melanie and Seth are to show how Huel could be integrated, we’re very clear that this is not a 1 size fits all and we give resources on our site to assess your own calorie intake. Traditionally in the UK people have their biggest meal in the evening, hence why the evening meal is 850kcal (because people can have different sized meals). There are also snacks included which for whatever reason you do not believe count in someone’s daily intake of calories.

Complete meal refers to the fact it is nutritionally complete (i.e. contains a balance of the essential nutrients we need, including 26 essential vitamins and minerals, pro rata), not ‘complete’ in that it conforms to what Adam thinks is big enough meal for them. It ties into ‘nutritionally complete food’.

Dan has already responded to this point:

A calorie deficit is based on the whole diet, not a single meal. If you read the legislation Dan is talking about there are other criteria we don’t meet like the vitamin and mineral requirements and legal statements so even if we do meet the 400kcal requirement, we’re not legally a meal replacement.

This simply isn’t true. Where are we leading people to think that having 1 Huel meal will maintain a healthy body weight (again it’s about the whole diet and we also talk about the different nutritional needs between people) and how do you know if they’re in a calorie deficit with one meal? You can’t.

We are absolutely suggesting you can have 100g of Huel for meal. It’s not replacing a meal, it is a meal. Like I’ve said above, and Dan has said before. Why is 2 slices of toast with jam and butter considered a meal when the nutrition is poor and the calories are lower but Huel isn’t? You’re cherry picking arguments and have dodged the whole breakfast thing and the meals Dan picked out because it doesn’t fit what you’re trying to say.

A few things here. We aren’t legally required to have the small print you’re talking about. You’re making up scenarios that customers will unknowingly lose weight because they don’t understand that Huel has fewer calories than whatever they were eating before.

You could also have a smaller person come in and say 600kcal is far too much for me and you’ve going to cause people to gain weight without them knowing. This is the opposite to your argument and just as valid.

As above, complete meal doesn’t refer to it being big enough for everyone. If you need more, you can have more, but contrary to what you think many people actually have less than 400kcal for their meal and prefer to graze through the day on other snacks or have larger dinners. I can’t stress enough how much Huel is built on flexibility and to suit different people’s requirements. If Hueligans are confused then the articles on site, videos on YouTube, tutorials on Facebook and Instagram, messages from our customer experience team, directions in our booklet, advice from others on our forums should help them along on their way.

We do use the term nutritionally complete food, it’s literally the only thing on the front of our pouches alongside the Huel logo. Where do we say it’s a food replacement?


Well I’ve for sure replaced a greggs sausage and egg bun ( plus cappuccino) for my breakfast (which had replaced the sadly now lost McBreakfast wrap).

That’s 500 cal swapped for a 400 cal drink.

And I’ve replaced my Sweet chilli chicken wrap meal deal for lunch.

That’s another 550 cal I’ve swapped for 400Cal hot n savoury and sometimes a snack bar (200 cal).

I’m feeling better, craving sugar less, and have more energy.

P.s. Adam don’t go checking the calories in the frozen meal aisles, you’ll have a fit :grinning: