Too much protein?

I have been using Huel as my sole fuel during the daytime and eating a balanced meal in the evening. I have carried out my workouts as usual this week, however (and beware, TMI coming up…) I have noticed that after my 7am exercise my urine smells like chlorine for a few hours.

It is not an offensive smell and it is almost colourless, so I do think think hydration is an issue. Some initial research seems to suggest this may be due to the breakdown of amino acids, which apparently happens when the diet is too rich in protein and does not contain enough carbohydrates?

Can anyone shed any light?

I’m no nutritionist by any means but what I do know is that diets rich in foods that contain nitrogen, such as proteins and leafy greens etc can cause that kind of smell.

Until I started my weight loss journey a couple of years ago I never eat a whole lot of protein, I now consume around 1g per lb of body weight, I wouldn’t be too concerned about it to be honest.

Which huel are you using? The vanilla one gives urine a pretty pungent aroma if you’re on it 100%, particularly if you’re less hydrated, so if you’re well hydrated and mixing with normal meals then maybe you’re getting just a slight change from what you’re used too instead of the full “my urine smells like popcorn” effect (I think that’s the thread title but on my phone so linking is too much effort).

What are your other meals like? Huel is pretty high in protein and I often supplement mine with additional protein powder and haven’t noticed any chlorine smell (unless it’s been masked by the vanilla, I suppose).

Thanks for your reply, @David_Quinn. Less concerned, more intrigued!

Hi @Omc.

I am using the vanilla Huel, for approx 70% of my meals Monday to Friday. I investigated the ‘popcorn’ thread, but didn’t ring true for me. It is also definitely only for a few hours after working out that it has that scent. V bizarre!

Any ideas @JamesCollier?


Hi @Sophie

I doubt the smell is linked to proteins as this would be from very low carb diets - Huel is moderate carb.

I have also noticed a smell that matches @Sophie’s description. Strangely I could also smell that now when I finished the last bit of a bottle of unflavoured Huel (without anything added).
Edit: it was my bottle! A pair of bottles that came with this blender have some improper seals in their caps that allowed some Huel to get stuck in them. This stuck Huel started to ferment and caused some odour that I have mistaken for the smell I described here. D’oh!

In particular this page mentions that diets rich in foods that contain nitrogen such as proteins can contribute to the smell of ammonia. Wonder if this also applies to food that has not yet been through one’s digestive system?

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