Please talk some science into me, people!

In the UK it’s often touted on official channels that we need to eat 5 pieces of fruit & veg a day for good health. (Other countries cite different amounts and it’s obviously open to debate on how much a ‘piece’ is, what types count and so on, but it’s pretty pervasive as a concept.)

Huel contains no fruit and veg, so I’m feeling somewhat guilty and inadequate about not following the advice*, despite Huel containing plenty of nutrients, fibre etc.

Can someone hit me with the science stick to convince me that by consuming Huel and thus failing to meet this somewhat arbitrary objective, I’m not in fact being less healthy than if I were eating regular food?

Thank you!

* I will sometimes have fruit for snacks and veg with an evening meal, so it’s not as if I’m salad dodging, it’s just the ‘5-a-day’ philosophy I’m struggling with.

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I think the recommendation is much due to vitamins and fibre as you said, Huel contains at least 100% of all essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and plenty of fibre. You sincerely do not need to worry. You don’t need apples, bananas or berries, you need the nutrients they contain, and all the nutrients are found in Huel. :slight_smile:

Don’t take it from me, though. There is an expert around and I’m sure @JamesCollier can soothe your worries!

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In addition to the vitamins and fibre, the recommendations are also present due to phytonutrients. Huel contains a decent chunk of these (such as lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-glucans), so likely coversa decent proportion of them. Some consumption of fruit/veg could still be beneficial as there are many different phytonutrient compounds, a great deal of which we probably haven’t even identified yet, but those using exclusively Huel don’t need to worry about having an intake of 0 fruit and veg per day, as even from a phytonutrient perspective you’re getting some.

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I recall reading that the 5-a-day worked back in our Grandparents time but nowadays fruit and veg is less nutritious so we should be aiming for 10 or even 15-a-day. Not sure how true that is, but was based I think on over-farming the soil etc.

I’ve spoken to my GP a couple of times about my diet. He’s no dietician (I’m guessing?) but I think he knows his stuff about bodies. He seemed to think Huel seemed like a great idea but did warn that as far as he was aware, nobody has ever proved that you can take fruit and veg, turn it into a powder, and still get the same health benefits. Although most of my meals have been Huel for about 2 years now and none of my appendages have fallen off yet so I reckon we’re good!


I used to eat several portions of fruit … blueberry Muffins, Apple pie, strawberry cheesecake, apple and blackberry cordial
Do you think these could be classed as part of my 5 a day ??

I am of course joking !!:joy::rofl::joy::rofl:

Personally as long as we are getting a balanced and nutritious diet … Huel seems to do that

13 days of 100% huel and I feel fitter and lighter than I’ve been for years !!


I work with GPs. And I also have experience of their bad advice almost killing my mother. The vast majority (in my experience) are prone to drawing conclusions from their limited knowledge, or using google to fill in the gaps (I’m not kidding).

They are all fallible humans who certainly don’t know everything.

And they are primarily in the business of prescribing pharma drugs, not stopping you ever needing them.

Always do your own research and never take what a GP says as true without checking for yourself. Follow that advice and you’ll probably live longer than most.


This is a great topic for discussion and one that I’m aware of.

The recommendations are based on direct correlations, ie there is a reduced all-cause mortality and morbidity risk if you consume over 5 fruit and veg per day; indeed, this reduces further with increasing amounts.

However, this is based on comparing either eating F and V with not. There is no taking into account of which nutritional factors are important or alternative ways of getting these nutrients. Consuming Huel supplies all the fibre, vitamins and minerals that fruit and veg do, as well as a god bunch of phytonutrients.


Do you mean that they should have no gaps?
Of course that would be ideal, but I guess there is a reason why there are specializations - how can anyone keep up-to-date with everything that is going on in your field? Unless it’s a set-in-stone/dead field, that is.

Or do you mean that they should not use Google?
Again, I don’t see the point. I’m a telecommunications engineer, and I’m sure that I will get much better information about something telecommunications-related from some googling than (say) a GP. In the same way, I’m sure a GP will get better use out of Google for medical information than I would. Namely, he will know of better sources, he will be able to draw connections between old and new information, he will be able to detect bullshit better than me. Don’t you think?

And of course Google is a good way to find actual, peer-reviewed papers, studies, etc.

If you follow that advice when buying a simple WiFi router and have not enough background, you might end up buying what the marketers want, not what you actually need.

Same thing about GPs. There’s a reason we have homeopathy and anti-vaxxers.

Yeah, do your own research, but realistically that means either getting second opinions from reliable sources - or putting in the work so you rise up to be a reliable source yourself. Because your googling is not the same as the GP’s googling!


I meant what I said and nothing more. Blindly follow your GP and you might end up dead.

Many think doctors are infallible god-like creatures. They’re not.

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I disagree. GP’s have wide-ranging but very general medicinal knowledge, but as soon as things get specific they really don’t know as much as you might hope. In these cases your googling might very well be as good as theirs, possibly better because you’ll devote more than 2 mins to it. Their advice is also often tainted by financial rewards from pharma companies and their restrictive training.

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Do you have a reference for all the research you did which led to this conclusion? When I was a child, about forty years ago, I recall some elderly people having such an attitude. They’ll have all been dead for decades now. Currently we seem to be suffering from the opposite with all manner of halfwits demonstrating Dunning-Kruger, dismissing science & generally being incapable of telling opinion & fact apart.

Well said.

Ya know, I kind of agree with this conclusion.

When I was 16 I came down with an awful illness - Tonsillitis, fluey feeling, headaches, hives, lethargy.

I visited my GP who prescribed antibiotics. Seemed strange to me as it didn’t feel particularly like a bacterial infection. A week later my hives broke out something shocking, real itchy and everywhere.

I immediately started Googling and found “infectious mononucleosis” described my symptoms. Essentially, glandular fever (Epstein Barr). Once I reached the doctor for the second time, I queried whether this could be the case. “No, definitely not. I’ve prescribed you more anti biotics.”.

Another week of feeling like death and I return again to the doctors for a blood test. Results return 5 days later and show, who would have thought, infectious mononucleosis. The doctor apologised profusely for the first two experiences and prescribed me the correct meds.

Not a great experience at all :frowning:


That’s where you lost me. It would be a waste of time to offer you a decent response.

Yep, I’ve heard a great many stories like yours. Thanks for posting your experience.

So maybe go get a GP who will spend more than 2 mins in your case?

Meanwhile, whatever you find in Google is free of suspicion I guess?

Did you hear the case of that guy who had some relatively benign malady, ignored his doctors because he knew better, ended up needing a liver transplant and still died a couple of years later? He was called Steve Jobs.

Let’s try again:
If you find good information in Google (peer-reviewed studies), a GP will be able to deal with it better than you.
If you find no-good information (homeopathy combined with peroxide injections, vitamin C colon cleansing and magnetic stones), a GP might know why it’s no-good better than you.
A GP that pays no attention is no good, that’s for sure. Find another GP.

And still, I will still prefer 2 mins of a GP’s knowledge, with or without Google, than 20 hours of your Googling.

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And that’s absolutely fine. Choose not to take my advice if you wish. But hopefully others will. I guarantee you I’m in a better position to know than most as I am surrounded by GPs and patients all day and I have long conversations with both.

Let’s not forget that this conversation started because of a GP casting doubt on nutritional effectiveness of Huel through his ignorance of the science. It’s fortunate that GP isn’t yours or you probably wouldn’t be here.

Hahaha. Yeah, good luck with finding that mythical GP.

The question would be then how frequently your GP gets patients who are sure that they know what they are suffering and how to fix it… and are totally wrong.

You were lucky, and so we have the survivor bias: we hear the anecdote of the guy who survived the ordeal. We don’t hear the story of the guy who was sure he needed medicine X against the GP’s advice and ended up dead.

Again, drawing a comparison from my telecomms engineer PoV, I can tell you that 99% of the time people have bad ideas about things as simple as their WiFi equipment. And still sometimes they WILL fix something that I didn’t think of! That doesn’t fix the horrors of the other 99%, though.

I can only shudder if I think about the equivalent situation for a GP.

Thank you @JamesCollier. Interesting, so it sounds as if the science hasn’t gone into detail on exactly what/how fruit & veg benefit us, just that the nutritional combination they offer is beneficial. I guess ‘Fruit & Veg’ is a pretty broad concept when you think about it.

I will drink my Huel with increased conviction (but probably also blend in berries, etc, and pat myself on the back for covering all bases). :wink:

Are there any studies either planned or in progress comparing Huel users to fruit & veg consumers, or are we still too niche a group for that yet?

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