Why does Huel not include long chain Omega 3s?

@JamesCollier

Hello

I wonder if you could help me understand why Huel does not include additional long chain Omega 3s?

You define your approach to complete nutrition as providing ideal amounts of all essential nutrients as well as beneficial levels of other important nutrients for optimum health, energy and performance

Whilst ALA is the only technically essential omega 3; the myriad benefits of EPA and DHA specifically - to brain and body - make it incontrovertible that these essential to a ‘complete’ nutrition plan.

I know that Huel takes the time to specifically address this, and justifies that sufficient amounts of ALA are included to provide enough EPA and DHA via in vivo, but I’m not entirely convinced that this is in line with the centre of mass of current research, which appears fairly unified that EPA and DHA need to be consumed directly and in sufficient quantities to achieve their effects.

Indeed, the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) statement five (http://www.issfal.org/statement-5) concludes that ‘With no other changes in diet, improvement of blood DHA status can be achieved with dietary supplements of preformed DHA, but not with supplementation of ALA, EPA, or other precursors’.

My question then is why Huel doesn’t simply include EPA and DHA as part of its formula. The original source of these is algae, and so this could be done without compromising its vegan status, and surely this would give a more solid foundation to the ‘complete’ nutrition status?

Very interested to hear your thoughts.

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Hi @nurserysafari

Thanks for this question!

Huel powders have a good amount of ALA from the flaxseeds. Most non-fish-eating diets don’t include sufficient amounts of ALA to address the poor conversion into DHA. Your quote mentions supplements of ALA. Huel is a food source and is very different from consuming ALA supplements which contain nothing else. Flaxseed provides lots of other great nutrition.

And also …

why Huel doesn’t simply include EPA and DHA as part of its formula

Keyword highlighted! It’s incredibly complex to produce Huel products, you can’t just add/swap out different ingredients without it impacting something else. Namely other nutritional aspects, flavour and, of course, cost. These algae-derived ingredients are expensive so much so that they would make Huel prohibitive for many people.

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Thanks for coming back to me James, very interesting.

Understand there would be a cost element to including algae derived EPA/DHA, although I’m surprised that a brand as big as Huel couldn’t negotiate more favourable rates if desired?

Also, interesting you make the distinction between supplement and wholefood sources - do you know of research then that suggests wholefood ALA can be readily converted into DHA, where supplemental forms quite clearly are not?

All best

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Understand there would be a cost element to including algae derived EPA/DHA, although I’m surprised that a brand as big as Huel couldn’t negotiate more favourable rates if desired

I’d hope we are in a position to negotiate more favourable rates, too! But, ‘more favourable’ than extremely expensive is still very expensive! And, of course, this would all be relative to the already ‘more favourable’ rates we’ve negotiated on the current omega-3 ingredients.

Also, interesting you make the distinction between supplement and wholefood sources - do you know of research then that suggests wholefood ALA can be readily converted into DHA, where supplemental forms quite clearly are not?

There’s a lot of research to sift through as I’ve never been challenged on this issue before so I’ll have leave this until time permits. This is quite interesting, though.

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Thanks, I look forward to your synthesis of the current research. Also – not meaning to challenge, negatively at least, just to learn :slight_smile:

Why is i, do you know, that baby formula producers can fortify their products with long-chain Omega 3s (infact, have to, buy law), and it remains i) palatable ii) cost effective to the consumer and iii) doesn’t affect the taste (I’ve not tried it, I assume it doesn’t taste of the sea). Do you know what source of powdered EPA/DHA they use in their products?

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Challange is good! :slight_smile:

I have no idea about baby foods, sorry!

Understood. Gap in the market – Huel Newborn® ???

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I will also add from personal experience in testing algae powders that they taste and smell TERRIBLE.

I wouldn’t wish those powders on my worst enemy. I think until companies get better at masking the aquatic flavours that come with EPA and DHA, we’re not going to be able to include them into a Huel product.

My guess with baby foods would be that we need to pack more into Huel per 100g of powder, particularly fibre and protein, so this leaves less space for other things. So, we are often looking at higher concentration EPA and DHA powders, so there are less ingredients to be able to mask the flavours coming from these fats.

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Interesting, thanks

Interestingly enough, from my personal testing of algae powders, they taste fine. But I’m also a person who prefers U/U, so maybe my tastes differ from majority.

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Thanks @rikefrejut thats interesting + helpful.
Out of interest, which algae powders did you use and where did you buy them? I’ve struggled to find any to buy for the consumer market.

I find everything that contains the term “omega 3” disgusting. And I think it is overrated regarding its benefit.

I’m eating UU right now but to me the algae powders we tested had a really strong sea and salty taste/smell, it’s not something that I can see anyone enjoying. To me there was a big difference from something like fish oil capsules so it’s something we need to work on.