Side stitch when starting Huel?

Hi all,

Newish to Huel (about 3 weeks in of 2 Huel meals a day). I haven’t experienced most of the side effects mentioned - my gastrointestinal system seems to be pretty resilient, perhaps because I had a pretty fibre and veg heavy vegetarian diet to begin with?

Anyway, I’ve been loving it BUT I exercise lots. I’m a cyclist and now training for a triathlon so running much more. I have noticed that I have been getting really awful side stitches every time I run since starting Huel, and that hasn’t been a problem in the past.

I have tried running “fasted” (before a huel-y breakfast) but still had the same issue. Has anyone else experienced this??

I wondered if it was an electrolyte thing so might try chucking some salt into the breakfast Huel (yum…). If you guys have any advice to save me from public triathlon shame from under-training I would hugely appreciate it!

Hm - maybe it’s just me then? Anyone with some nutritional prowess who could weigh in by any chance? (ouch! :worried:)

@JamesCollier is the man you need. Quite a few of us are farty on Huel, including myself, if that helps.

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:joy: though it isn’t exactly my issue, it does does help,thanks for the response and the solidarity @Bee
@JamesCollier any chance you know what’s causing the running cramps?

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Hi @HUEdoublehockeystick

I’ve not come across this before? Are they ‘normal’ stitches you’re experiencing or are they a different type of abdo pain? Did you used to get them in your earlier days of running?

You should be getting sufficient salt; if you weren’t it’s likely you would be experiencing muscle cramps in other areas of your body, too.

Thanks for the quick response @JamesCollier. It definitely started at the same time as beginning Huel, and wasn’t happening previously during runs. I’ve been doing some reading about stitches and there are loads of different theories (all a little flawed/incomplete ) but one that feels true is the idea that running causes an irritation of the abdominal ligaments, and that happens more quickly if there’s of food or liquid in the system. I might be timing my Huel wrong, and not giving it quite enough time before running because it doesn’t feel as heavy as a regular 500 cal meal would, but maybe my abdominal ligaments aren’t making the same distinction? Not sure - but i’m going to try a few more fasted runs, and then a couple days off to see if I can figure it out. I’ll report back if I manage to fix it!

In case anyone comes across this when facing the same problem, Ii did a few things after a who’s a coach took a look at what I was doing:

  • changed the timing of huel (super high fiber, so was not good to have within 3 hours of a run),

  • drank a ltle less water (something in huel makes me mega thirsty, so i was having about 4 litres of water a day – cut this down a bit before runs), and

  • added some salt (just in case, though wasn’t getting leg cramps yet).

That seems to have done the trick!