Home / Huel / Nutrition / Supplement Reviews / Huel Powder Review: 100% Complete Nutrition or Complete Bullsh**t?
Huel Powder Review: 100% Complete Nutrition or Complete Bullsh**t?28/07/2019
Every now and then, a newly marketed ‘healthy’ product will enter the health and fitness industry making bold claims such as:
· Complete nutrition
· Save time
· Save money
· No waste
Whilst these claims suffer from the terrible stench of ‘too good to be true’, I couldn’t help but notice the raving response of many ‘Huelers’ across the web and on social media.
Far and wide, many were stating how Huel had changed their lives for the better and was a great tool to cut down time, effort and energy in meal prepping.
I decided to give Huel a try and put it through its paces through my own busy life and write up this review.
Were these claims grounded in fact and scientific evidence, or was it simply a complete fad? (as it normally is these days).
There was only one way to find out.
What the hell is Huel?
The name Huel is derived from a coalescence of the words ‘human’ and ‘fuel’ and was founded in 2012 by Julian Hearn who went on a mission to create a nutritional programme to help individuals support their physical performance.
He used himself as a human guinea pig which involved being on a very strict diet and exercise plan that included meticulous planning and preparation to ensure each meal was exactly what the body needed.
After a while,
He began to see great results, but slowly discovered that it was almost impossible to see those results consistently without dedicating 100% of your day towards it and figured there must be an easier way…
Thus, Huel was born.
A nutritionally complete and balanced meal that can be prepared in under 60 seconds.
Since its founding, Huel has sold well over 40 million meals in more than 80 countries around the world.
What is Huel Powder?
Huel is complete food in powder form which meets the UK and EU’s Reference Intake (RI) and Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for all macronutrients including: carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre.
Not only this,
It also contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals covering all daily micronutrient intake.
Because of its powder form, Huel can be consumed on the go and takes up very little time or space to prepare.
Huel Powder Review
You might be wondering:
How does Huel differ from traditional meal replacements?
For starters, traditional meal replacements such as Slim Fast are designed to replace one or two meals in total to facilitate weight loss.
Huel, on the other hand, doesn’t attempt to do this.
Huel aims to provide 100% of the human body’s nutritional needs in a few scoops thrown into a shaker.
The powder comes packed in a 1.75kg pouch and it is advised to measure out the powder into a 100g serving size (roughly 3 scoops) to be consumed 5 times a day.
In total, your order should last you roughly 7 days if you’re consuming Huel 5 times a day as they normally ship 2 pouches (with a choice of trying different flavours).
I opted for Vanilla and Chocolate to get the best of worlds, but I’ll be covering Vanilla in this review for ease.
It goes without saying:
The macros in Huel are fantastic containing a balanced ratio of 37:30:30:3 between carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre.
Check out the full nutritional breakdown below:
|Per 100g Serving||Per 2,000kcal||% RI* per 100g serving||% RI* per 2,000kcal|
|– of which saturates||2.3g||11.7g||12%||59%|
|– of which monounsaturates||2.7g||13.4g|
|– of which polyunsaturates||7.4g||37g|
|– of which sugars||1.2g||6.2g||1%||7%|
If that wasn’t enough:
The vitamin and mineral content are pretty solid too.
Whilst traditional vitamin and mineral supplements will only provide up to 50% of your daily recommended amount (if that), Huel goes one step further.
Their micronutrients are derived from natural ingredients and made up of a unique formula to provide more than 100% of the recommended amount.
This is because since the UK’s Dietary Values (DV) were compiled some 20+ years ago, there have been numerous studies showing that simply meeting these guidelines are not enough.
We, as busy people, should be consuming more for optimal health.
One example is Vitamin C which is set to a measly 40mg a day for an average adult.
Huel have increased this as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals in their powder formula.
Peep the full overview below:
|Per 100g Serving||Per 2,000kcal||% RI* (NRV**) per 100g serving||% RI* (NRV**) per 2000kcal|
|Vitamin A (µg)||160||800||20%||100%|
|Vitamin D2 (µg)||1||5||60%||300%|
|Vitamin D3 (µg)||2||10|
|Vitamin E (mg)||2.4||12||20%||100%|
|Vitamin K1 (µg)||15||75||27%||133%|
|Vitamin K2 (µg)||5||25|
|Vitamin C (mg)||60||300||75%||375%|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.3||1.4||21%||100%|
|Vitamin B12 (µg)||0.8g||4||32%||160%|
|Pantothenic Acid (mg)||1.2||6||20%||100%|
It gets better,
Huel also contains essential fatty-acids such as Omega 3 and 6 as well as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
The inclusion of Omega-3 and 6 is great for those who simply don’t eat enough oily fish throughout the week which has been linked with improved brain function, hormonal balance and reduced inflammation in the body.
Medium-chain triglycerides are another great source of healthy fat which has also been linked with improved sport performance, heart and gut health and weight loss.
The nutritional profile of Huel was formulated by James Collier, a Registered Nutritionist with a BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics who also worked in the NHS as a clinical dietitian for 7 years.
James’ experience certainly reflects in the product itself.
We’ve been unable to find a similar product on the market to beat Huel who have really carved out its own category in offering complete nutrition for all.
If you thought the nutritional content was impressive, the Huel ingredients list is equally, if not more exceptional.
Huel boasts that its powdered food is vegan-friendly and is also:
“Lactose-free, soya-free, GMO-free, high in protein and contains less than 2% of sugar”.
If you’re an animal-loving, gluten-free, restaurant-complaining, 100% full-on hipster salad eating wanker from Shoreditch – this will be music to your ears.
Huel powder is made from ultra fine oats, pea protein, brown rice protein, coconuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
These ingredients combined pack a mean nutritional punch and cover all core bases to ensure you’re fuelling your body the right way whilst also keeping you full.
· Oats – According to the journal Nutrition Reviews, oats have been shown to aid digestive issues and promote satiety for longer to prevent hunger.
· Pea Protein – Pea protein is an excellent source of muscle-building branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) making it a great substitute for whey protein.
· Brown Rice Protein – A natural hypoallergenic and easily digestible, brown rice protein is made up of 80% protein and boasts a complete amino acid profile.
· Coconuts – As mentioned, coconuts are made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Consuming MCTs has been shown to improve body composition and increase the amount of calories burned.
· Sunflower Seeds – Shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, sunflower seeds contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamin E, magnesium, linoleic fatty acids and numerous other plant compounds.
· Flax Seeds – Rich in vitamins and minerals, flax seeds are a great source of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids which has a number of health benefits.
As you can see,
The ingredient list hasn’t cut any corners when it comes to providing excellent nutrition for your body.
Although there’s no indication that these ingredients are organic, they are all natural which means there is little to no unwanted artificial nasties.
Whilst you’re on Huel, you’ll feel pretty awesome all day.
Taste and Texture
There have been mixed reviews online regarding the taste and texture of Huel.
A few have voiced complaints over it being too powdery, but I personally enjoy it.
It’s a bit like having liquid oatmeal with a very mild vanilla taste, which doesn’t sound too appetising, but somehow works.
Perhaps it’s the years spent torturing myself to have chicken, rice and broccoli for the sake of making gains which has dampened all sense of taste.
This isn’t an issue for me, as I am a man of simplicity.
If like many, taste is a concern for you, you’ll be pleased to know that Huel stock their own range of ‘natural flavour boosts‘ which comes in the following flavours:
· Mint Chocolate
· Pineapple and Coconut
· Rhubarb and Custard
· Matcha Tea
Opting to add an additional flavour to your Huel will set you back £7.50, unless you decide to experiment with your own.
In terms of the texture, I do have a few gripes with it.
It’s quite thick and does take a while to chug down.
Also, if you don’t shake your bottle long or hard enough, you do get a few unpleasant lumps sticking around (even with a mixing mesh ball).
With that said:
Its thickness probably has to do with the fact that it does keep you quite full for a couple of hours, especially in between meals, which can’t be a bad thing!
On many occasions:
Having a Huel in between meals saved me from making poor decisions by being hungry.
Some people have reported that it simply doesn’t fill them up and/or it makes them feel even more hungry with other resulting side effects such as menacing farts, bloating and other digestive issues.
Personally, I never experienced any of this.
It does, nonetheless, do a great job at keeping me full and sustaining my energy levels throughout the day (which is most likely due to its low glycemic index from the slow-releasing carbs).
The fact is:
Using Huel has been a great ‘hacking’ tool to keep my diet in check.
If I’ve found myself in a position unable to prepare a healthy, nutritious meal due to either being on the move, or running out of food, Huel is there as added insurance.
Its high protein content and blend of vitamins and minerals really makes it a great option to have after a tough gym session.
But here’s the kicker,
Having the full course of Huel throughout the day was never enough for me to live on it completely.
I normally consume around 3,000 to 3,500 calories per day which meant that Huel would leave me in a deficit of 1,000 calories.
Whilst this wasn’t an issue for me as I could easily rustle up a final meal to hit my daily calorie intake, it could be an issue for some who might be looking at Huel as a complete meal replacement.
The only exception of course is if you’re looking to consume 2,000 calories a day and no more, then it’s quite possible for you to live off Huel alone.
But I’ll leave that with you to decide.
Value for Money
For a single purchase of £45 for 2 x 1.75kg pouches, Huel might not seem like the cheapest option out there.
If you break this cost down, a total weight of 3.5kg will provide roughly 28 meals which translates to £1.61 per meal.
When you look at it this way, £1.61 per meal works out a lot cheaper than most things you would normally indulge in, especially if you’re already hungry where the risk of binging is a lot higher.
Therefore, Huel does provide excellent value for money.
Not good enough?
If you feel like you’ll blitz through these meals in no time, you can subscribe for a delivery top-up between 1 and 10 weeks where you’ll receive a 10% discount.
This will drop the total cost down to £40.50 for 3.5kg which works out as £1.45 per meal.
You can’t say fairer than that.
Want to know the best part?
If you’re making a Huel powder purchase for the first time, you’ll also receive a free bottle shaker and t-shirt which is a very nice touch.
Also, as your order will normally exceed £20, you’ll automatically qualify for free next day delivery in the UK.
Aside from the obvious benefits of Huel:
For me. it’s real benefit comes in being a great hacking tool.
It’s a product I believe would work very well for someone who works long hours doing shift work, someone who doesn’t have quick or easy access to high-quality food sources or for someone who simply wants a quick nutrient intake without feeling like they’ve been hit by a truck.
Going back to the title of this article: does Huel really provide 100% complete nutrition or is it complete bullshit?
In a nutshell, yes it does provide complete nutrition (during its full daily course) which is pretty amazing.
More work needs to be done in improving the mixability.
Its thickness does mean you might, on occasion, be chewing through your Huel rather than drinking it.
Also, a few people are simply not a fan of the mild taste of Huel. But with an ethos of ‘nutrition first, taste second’, you either put up or shut up.
I, for one, absolutely love this ethos. And to quote the legendary CT Fletcher:
“…Motherfucker! You ain’t eating this shit for it to taste good! You’re eating because you want the results it’ll give on the way it will make you look.”
Whilst CT wasn’t specifically speaking about Huel in his quote, he was speaking about bland diet food where the same principle applies.
If your mindset is set on taste and flavour, you won’t get full enjoyment out of it. Huel is a result/well-being focused product and should be treated as one.
What do you think?
Thinking of giving Huel a go?
Tried it before?
Drop us a comment below and let us know!
If you still have any questions, check out the FAQs below where we’ve answered some of your most pressing questions.
How much is Huel?
As mentioned previously, Huel costs £45 for 2 1.75kg pouches. However, if you subscribe for a delivery top-up, you’ll automatically receive a 10% discount off the final price, costing you £40.50.
Does Huel work?
Huel contains all essential macro- and micronutrients (in favourable doses as attested by scientific research, registered dietitians and nutritionists) to fuel your body with optimum nutrition throughout the day.
How do you mix Huel?
It is recommended you add 400ml of water or your choice of milk to a bottle shaker, add in 3 scoops of Huel (or less if you don’t want a thicker finish) and shake hard for 10 seconds.
You then add an additional 200ml of water or milk to the bottle’s spout to finish mixing your Huel and continue shaking for a few more seconds.
How do you use Huel?
Huel can be used as a meal replacement or as a food supplement to one’s diet. Simply mix it up in a bottle shaker, drink and enjoy!
Can you drink Huel hot or cold?
According to the Huel website, the drink is best served chilled using ice cubes.
However, you can drink it warm, just be sure you’re not using boiling water as this could affect the nutritional profile of the powder.
It is advised that if you want to have it warm, wait for the boiling water to cool down or add it to cold water before adding Huel.
How long does Huel powder last?
If unopened, Huel will last for 1 year.
If opened but kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, Huel will last roughly 6 months.
Once mixed, it is recommended to keep the Huel refrigerated and consume it within 24 hours.
How do you make Huel?
There isn’t one perfect way to make Huel as everyone will make it differently according to their taste, preference or goals.
For a rough indication, check out the instructions on the back of the packaging.
What do you mix Huel powder with?
Whatever you like!
You can add a piece of fruit such as frozen strawberries or a banana, cocoa powder, spices, greens or simply mix it with Huel’s own natural flavour boosts.
Where do you buy Huel?
Nutrition, Diet and Medical
How many calories are in Huel?
Huel contains 400 calories per 100g serving, or 2,000 calories per 500g serving.
Can Huel help me gain weight?
Huel contains a perfect balance of macronutrients and gives you the means of monitoring your calorie intake accurately.
Ideally, you should be consuming an additional 500 calories per day (on top of your maintenance calorie intake) to gain weight.
Check out Huel’s guide here: https://uk.huel.com/pages/huel-guide-to-gaining-weight
Can Huel help me lose weight?
Not only does Huel contain a perfect balance of macronutrients, its low sugar content will prevent any sugar cravings which can throw a lot of people off.
In the opposite way to gain weight, ideally you should be consuming 500 fewer calories per day (below your maintenance calorie intake) to lose weight.
Check out Huel’s guide here: https://huel.com/pages/guide-to-fat-loss
Does Huel keep you full?
Huel is high in protein (containing 60% of your daily recommended intake per serving) which is very satiating.
This should be enough to keep you full for a few hours.
Does Huel contain any allergens?
According to Julian Hearn, the founder, Huel is produced in its own dedicated facility, which doesn’t handle any milk, egg, wheat, or nuts.
Thus, such allergy warnings have been removed from all pouches.
However, they do highlight that Huel may contain traces of mustard which is highlighted in bold on the back of the packaging.
Is Huel gluten-free?
Huel stock their own gluten-free range which you can purchase as an alternative to the normal version.
Does Huel contain phytoestrogens? What are they?
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds and when consumed, can mimic the effects of the female hormone ‘estrogen’ when consumed in large doses.
Huel is made up of flax seeds which, when broken down, produce chemicals called ‘lignans’ that are similar to estrogen.
However, there are conflicting studies in this area so it is still pretty much a grey area for now.
Can Huel be used if you have diabetes?
According to the Huel forum, it is suitable for Type 2 diabetics as it is made up of low glycemic foods such as oats as well as fibre.
If you’re unsure, always consult with your GP or a specialist especially if you’re on medication.
Can Huel be used if you’re breastfeeding?
There are no harmful ingredients in Huel that would have adverse affects on breastfeeding.
Of course, if you’re unsure, always speak with your GP or a specialist for guidance.
Is Huel low FODMAP?
Huel can be used on a low FODMAP diet.
Order and Delivery
How much is delivery?
Delivery is free for orders over £15. Free next day delivery is also available for orders over £20.
For orders under £15, a small delivery fee will be charged in line with Huel’s postal charges:
· Packages up to 150g – £1.74
· Packages over 150g – £3.80
For more information, visit the following link: https://uk.huel.com/pages/delivery-questions
When can I expect to receive my order?
If you place your order (over £20) before 9pm Monday-Friday, you’ll receive your order the next day.
If you order after 9pm on a Friday, you’ll receive your order on Monday.
All other items will be sent via first class Royal Mail where your delivery can take up to 2-5 working days.
Can I amend my order?
Once your order has been placed, it can’t be amended or cancelled.
How do I contact Huel’s customer service?
You can drop them an email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can fill out their contact form with the nature of your enquiry here: https://uk.huel.com/pages/contact-us
If you’d also like to send a parcel to Huel directly, their postal address is:
Can I return my Huel?
To receive a refund or exchange, your item must be unused and in the same condition you received it.
If it has been opened or used, unfortunately you won’t be able to return it.
Joseph is the Founder and Editor in Chief of CheckMeowt. When he is not sat at the computer guzzling down the nearest thing with protein in it, he can be found pulling up the world in the gym. Occasionally, he is best described as socially unreliable and easily distracte.