Trials - the perennial topic

I’ve consumed Huel for 7 years now and still like it, in fact like it so much I would like to see a definitive trial that informs the questions that come up every few years, querying ‘studies’, ‘benefits’ and the like…basically, how good is Huel for you?

There is a recent precedent from the group ZOE - also a mature start-up with healthy nutrition as its mission - who have just completed a RCT (Randomised Controlled Trial) and is perhaps one of the few or even the only nutrition product that has done so. The product ZOE trialled was its kit (glucose monitor, blood fat/stool tests and advice) as the ‘experiment’ and US Dietary recommendations as the ‘placebo’…interesting. I don’t see why Huel couldn’t do something similar; it would be a major endorsement and likely to boost demand from the ‘doubter’ segment and perhaps in other ways.

Dear Huel, how about a formal, objective, even scientific assessment of Huel’s glories?

(ZOE Podcast: Does ZOE Work? Our Latest Results)

Sounds like a good idea. I’d love to read the results. Cool to hear you’ve been on it seven years! Presumably all successful or you’d have stopped by now.

I remember reading they did a 3 month… or 3 week trial with folks. Biggest drawback was just the social aspect.

I still get people widening their eyes at me that I’m 80% Huel… no matter what I say, they assume it’s a protein drink and pity me.

This study would be great to shut up the usual haters who comment on every Huel Facebook post though!

you can read about that here.

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That’s my point really. The topic comes up now and again, but has never reached the standard that has impact - randomised, controlled, peer-reviewed and so on. A small intervention trial is unlikely to turn heads; has this one achieved what Huel were looking for? Perhaps they feel they’ve ticked the box. That would be a shame.

that have had similar studies done including ones where they part funded the research like this which have been published for review. Perhaps @JamesCollier could share some more light on it for you,

A proper trial would be irrelevant because the findings would only be applicable to people like me who are 100% long-time and don’t represent 99.9% of Huel customers.


I disagree entirely. I think if there was proper, peer reviewed evidence that living 100% on Huel was fine or even good, then more people would be more happy to include it as part of their diet.

But I think Huel is currently chasing the convenience consumer in retail outlets and is happy to be “better than other conveniency foods” as a goal rather than looking to be the “future of food” which was what initially drew me in.

The trial would be designed to test whatever goals Huel wished; it need not be confined to people that are 100% Huel. I imagine the most helpful insight would be to test new consumers (who replace one meal with Huel) and see how their body (and potentially mind) changes over, say, 3-6 months compare to a control group who are given some standard dietary guidelines (or not).

Regrettably, I have to agree that the corporate interest of Huel seems to have shifted away from health and towards flavourings.

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Not a viable trial unfortunately as too many variables in the rest of their diet to control out

Best you can hope for out of any trial is to demonstrate it can be generally recognized as safe. Oats and other ingredients in Huel u/u powder fall in that category, so Huel overall will fall in that category if tested.

Everything else has too many variables that you will not be able to control short of unethical experiments.

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Perhaps. I did say the trial would have to be designed; to meet Huel’s goals. So far, it is not designed. Once that step is reached, If it won’t be meaningful then there’s little point proceeding, obviously.

Not so. There is tremendous scope to research various effects and outcomes.

It costs money to do these things. Massive money.

They already have and continually do everything they need to legally and compliance wise, which in the UK is more than enough for us all to not need to worry about what we’re eating etc. We can trust that / warnings would be in place and no doubt, horror stories on here being more of a theme.

Unless they have a reason to do more (and more extensive) testing with a recoverable benefit be it something new to advertise, or to promote Huel in a new way or to a new group of people, why would they?

That study linked above… about people being 100% on it for 5 weeks… that was all I needed to know to do my around 80% Huel diet. To know that it’s not going to lead me to nutritional-ruin.

Plus, how do you know there aren’t any currently in progress? We wouldn’t hear until it’s been done, reviewed etc.

Obviously there’s potential benefits e.g. reducing churn, attracting new customers; it would be an internal matter for Huel to evaluate the scale of such benefits. You’re right to point out it’s a potential promotional tool, differentiating from other meal-replacement providers, as well.