Scientific proof?

It’s quite possible to get a cheaper and more personalised (and optimal diet) if you stay within the realm of soylents, and instead of buying a commercial option are willing to mix it yourself. That does lose a lot of the convenience though.

I love Huel. It’s great.

Lol, no, I wasn’t attacking the prestige of the establishment concerned. I first acknowledged I might be incorrect & then went on to attempt to imply the OP’s friend might be an outright liar. I made this clear in my subsequent post. I clearly didn’t explain myself in sufficiently simple & direct terms for you to be able to understand, sorry.

To clarify, my reasoning was if the friend was studying in the area of food sciences & was being taught by professors in that field, it is highly implausible that they would be unable to believe a product such as Huel could exist since enteral nutritional products have existed for years & they would have at least heard of these. Is that clear enough?

You wouldn’t by any chance be the OP’s friend, would you?

Incidentally I’ve revised my opinion that the OP’s friend is a liar. I think it more likely he is learning about the basics of food science at an introductory level. He is probably quite young & perhaps doesn’t realise that the basic principles being explained to him have been greatly simplified. Academic ideals are one thing. How they apply in the real world is another entirely.

If indeed the friend’s teacher/s are professors in this field, their lack of knowledge is worrying. More likely, the teachers concerned are not as qualified as has been implied. Perhaps he has the impression their knowledge is more comprehensive & their reasoning, less flawed, than is actually the case.

If I’m right it would have been far better to have been honest from the outset.


He’s really studying Food Engeneering in the ULisboa, considered the best university of Portugal and one of the best in Europe. Just so you see how big it is, it is composed of 18 schools, 8 campus, 425 courses and 81 Investigation Units, and it currently has 48100 students. The professors I don’t know, but you can search for it if you wan’t right here

I’m glad that at least someone from the Huel team (@TimOfficeHuel) came to answer, and you are right in some things. While it is certain that spendng money on a proper scientific study with a certification of another known entity may seem just a waste, it opens a lot of doors. Why do I say this? Because if Huel really is a complete food substitute, if it was credited by, let’s say NASA, it would be known and appear on several science magazines and have several scientific papers that prove it is the way to go in terms of best nutrition available (which in my opinion it isn’t, since it should have much more fat and much less carbs in order to get the body to change it’s source of fuel).
I also know about Vitamin Angels, since I follow the twitter and instagram pages (mostly because of aesthetic photos, really). I would have thought that companies have special agreements with ONU, so that’s why I mentioned it.

Another thing that people said is that it’s more expensive than “real” food. Well, I say it depends. For me it is much cheaper, since I started living on my own. Didn’t have to buy any pans, plates and other things. I only have a bowl, a mug, fork, knife, spoon and teaspoon. That’s enough for me to consume 7 scoops per day, be it cold, normal, warm, liquid or solid (yes, you can make a sort of mug cake with only huel and water).

In the end, I will still continue on consuming it, and I’m actually droping “normal” food, since it makes counting calories harder and most healthy snacks I can buy in England cost more than crap like chips and chocolate cookies. I had to buy 100% natural peanut butter since I couldn’t even find dry fruits without any salt, sugar or honey that don’t cost a kidney.


Regarding carbs being low enough for your body to switch to fat as its fuel source, this requires a ketogenic diet, which can mean as low as 25g of carbs per day at most for some people.

Whilst Huel doesn’t have this, the fact it uses low-GI carbs means it isn’t exactly an unhealthy way of living, purely in terms of what the body uses for energy.

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FYI, In an interview during a recent podcast, Rosa Foods CEO Rob Rinehart says,

We’ve got a peer-reviewed study, it’ll be published later this year in (a?) Nature journal, a controlled study, studying the effects of the tolerability of people living on Soylent, and measuring a lot of bio-markers…

So there’s that to look forward to.

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Then I apologise. Once again I’m wrong; something I really should be used to by now :wink: That said, I’m still puzzled by his teachers being unfamiliar with liquid diets.

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Huel costs a ton compared to most famine relief foods. If your friend is wondering why powdered and pasted food isn’t shipped to famine relief areas, it is. See for example Plumpy’nut, which is specifically formulated to be digested efficiently by those suffering from advanced malnutrition, or here for more general and low-priced solutions.

As for astronauts, liquid food in space went out of fashion in the 1970s. Tortillas are all the rage now. Also, powders in general are frowned on in space since the lack of gravity means spills are really hard to clean up and the residue can get into sensitive equipment.

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@IcyElemental I know it’s not unhealthy, but it still isn’t the best. That was my point.

@fernly Soylent is a joke. Proper scientific studies have been done and shown that it uses tons of sugar (not even the normal one, but a mix of chemically altered ones), and it has 40 times less the daily dose one should have of fiber, if I remember correctly.

@Michael_Rozdoba liquid diets are made out of “normal” food that is squeezed. Since you can’t squeeze meat nor fish, those diets aren’t complete and you will, eventually, develop diseases caused by the lack of certain vitamins and nutrients.

@cyniscience you should read everything besides the first post, since what you’ve written has already been talked about.

And my point was that that is quite debatable. I’m inclined to agree with you (bearing in mind I sell a ketogenic soylent product myself), but it’s not as clear cut as one fuel source is optimal, another isn’t. It varies depending on numerous factors.

I agree Soylent is nutritionally inferior to Huel, but there are some issues with your reasoning here. Firstly, the ‘chemically altered’ sugar you mention - isomaltulose - is actually far far healthier than normal sugars and arguably most other carbohydrate sources. It has a glycemic index of 32, which is extremely low, and does not appear to damage teeth or lead to decreased insulin sensitivity like other sugars do. It being chemically altered actually makes it healthier - not everything chemically altered is unhealthy, some are healthier than natural alternatives. The other thing you may be referring to is maltodextrin, which has a very high GI but technically isn’t a sugar. Now here I agree this is a bad ingredient to use, and I dislike that a lot of meal replacements do. With that said, all of Soylent’s products have either a medium or a low GI, and ultimately, the reason sugar is bad (other than dental health) is due to blood sugar spikes, and larger blood sugar spikes are caused by larger GI. As Soylent’s GI isn’t particularly high, the presence of this sugar is pretty much a non-issue.

Regarding fibre, I expect the figure you’re remembering is actually 40% of a daily dose, not 40 times less (that would require a ~500g recommendation, which would be horrendous). Again though, this is less of an issue than it seems as less fibre is required on a liquid diet, and there haven’t actually been any reports of inadequate fibre intakes by Soylent users. Additionally, this is only an issue for the ready-to-drink product - their powder has a higher fibre content.

This is true to an extent, but not completely. Don’t think of it as squeezing ingredients, think of it as some ingredients being ground and milled into powdered form (more akin to your squeezing analogy) and some others having parts isolated and extracted, and these parts being powdered. Whilst this may seem like a technicality, it is extremely important when bearing in mind your reference to fish and meats.

Basically, the reason you want to include fish in your diet is because it is a good source of long-chain omega 3s, DHA and EPA. This is because fish consume algae, and it is the algae that produces the DHA and EPA in the form of algal oil. You can consume either fish oil or algal oil to get these long-chain fats. However, the body is also able to metabolise ALA - another omega 3 - into these two forms. It does so at a reasonably low rate, but meal replacement products include enough ALA to meet all DHA and EPA recommendations regardless of this low conversion. This can be done simply by adding something like flaxseed or chia seeds (Huel uses flax). Alternatively though, the actual oil can be extracted from fish or algae, and then spray-dried onto a carrier. Often this carrier is maltodextrin, though it can also be cyclodextrin, a fibre which doesn’t have the very high GI aspect of maltodextrin. In regards to vitamins and minerals, these can all be produced via other means and added, or extracted from other sources. There is no reason these diets can not be complete, and following them will not lead to disease due to a lack of any nutrients or vitamins.


I didn’t link the study. The study is bogus, for the reason you state.

As for the nutritional profile: no, a company can not make a product with a fake nutritional label. Contact if MHRA if you think otherwise.

At the point that you are questioning the nutrition label, I can either assume 1) you and your friend are near starvation, because you don’t trust any nutrition labels, or 2) you are a troll.

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375 million vegans/vegetarians might beg to differ re: meat/fish-free diets being incomplete. We’ve got more than 2,500 years of evidence on that but since we didn’t start doing scientific journals until the 1600s I’m afraid it may not have all been written up by the appropriate authorities in the right publications, sorry.


I’ve been living on Huel (80%) for the last year orso (started Jan 2016). Before that I had Queal for a year and before that I made my own meal replacement shakes… huel is the one I adapted to the most tbh… I’d be dead by now if something was wrong with it :slight_smile:

I do understand where you might be coming from and I would love to read some academic (peer reviewed) articles on soylent-like shakes. If anyone has any to share it’s very welcome…

Bruno Barbirato


I wonder where all those pesky ‘RDA’s’ come from…


A guy lived off of potatoes (and B12 supplement) for a year and his health markers were just fine. Of course you would not only survive but thrive (health wise) if you used Huel 100 percent.

This thread has quite a few replies and I haven’t yet seen one concrete argument for why Huel wouldn’t be enough.

Um, the third little pig would have been in deep trouble if he’d used Huel for the foundation to his home?


Sure, a scientific study would be interesting, but for it to be necessary there should be some valid arguments as to what nutrients are missing from Huel.

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It’s missing some phytonutrients, but they’re not vital for health anyway.

Huel has everything you need to survive because it’s nutritional label says so, lying about labels isn’t allowed, and everybody (scientists included) work on the basis that RDAs are the best estimate we have for what we need to survive. Huel is fine assuming those are fine, and even if Huel isn’t peer-reviewed, I’m sure RDAs are.
Maybe I’m being dim but this is enough for me.