There are numerous options on the market today for protein shakes, mixes, meal replacement drinks, and the like. If you look at all the similar products online and in stores, you might be overwhelmed by the choices. Furthermore, they all list a host of various health benefits that sound great, but you can’t possibly take them all—nor would you want to.
So how do you find that ideal product that combines a majority of health benefits, tastes good, curbs your hunger, and doesn’t cost a fortune? Furthermore, how can a company stand out in the saturated market and provide a product that gets attention? Even the best product won’t do you any good if you can’t find it.
Enter Huel, which not only claims to provide all these things but is also vegan and nutritionally balanced. Huel markets its drink powder and ready-to-drink meal replacements as the ideal convenient option for today’s busy lifestyle. So is Huel all it claims to be—and what would make you select it out of a meal replacement lineup? Keep reading our Huel review to find out.
Containing all 27 essential vitamins and minerals, Huel falls into a different category of shake. It’s not a protein shake, since most of those contain large amounts of protein but not many other nutrients. Protein shakes are generally used for assistance in muscle building and low-carb diets, not to provide complete nutrition.
And Huel isn’t even technically a meal replacement, the company claims. Meal replacement shakes are targeted toward weight loss, so they have lower calories, higher sugar content, and are lacking in fiber. This is where Huel stands out—because it offers a balance of all these components. Thus, Huel claims that its product is not a protein or meal replacement shake, just a different and nutritionally complete version of food.
Huel products can be purchased as ready-to-drink shakes or powder that you mix on your own. The ready-to-drink shakes are more convenient, but the Huel power is more cost-effective (less than half the price per serving).
The primary benefit of Huel’s powders and drinks is the fact that they save time. And sure, any meal replacement product does, but they’re not likely all going to be nutritionally balanced.
The ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in Huel gives sustained energy release, not only curbing hunger but staving off cravings over several hours.
The slow-release carbs provide the ideal amount of energy while fatty acids help you feel full and amino acid proteins keep you that way. In addition, the antioxidant blend in Huel helps fight free radicals and disease, boosting the immune system for optimal health.
Let’s take a look at Huel’s ingredient listing and see if it seems like it truly is nutritionally balanced.
- Plant-based protein: Huel contains protein from brown rice and peas, as well as added protein from oats. This means that a serving of Huel provides 143 g of vegan protein, keeping you satiated for several hours. The plant-based ingredients also provide several phytonutrients, increasing Huel’s antioxidant properties with compounds such as lycopene, lutein (from flaxseed) and avenanthramides (antioxidant polyphenols from oats). This also ensures a wide range of amino acids, which assists with the nutritional balance.
- Fats and MCTs: Coconut, flaxseed, and sunflower oil provide omega fats, the healthy and beneficial ones. The combo of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids gives Huel a beneficial fat balance along with linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, the two essential fatty acids we need for proper nutrition.
- Fiber: Ultra-fine oats provide a natural carbohydrate fiber for digestion, and flaxseed adds to the fiber content as well. The low GI of oats is a bonus to the vitamins and minerals they contain, and it’s a well-known fact that oats are good for you.
- Vitamins and Minerals: Most of Huel’s micronutrients are from natural sources, but the company has added a few from outside sources, such as B vitamin choline, to create a complete nutrition profile.
- Sucralose: For those who dislike or have an adverse reaction to sucralose, be aware—all the Huel formulas contain it except for the Unflavored & Unsweetened variety. So if you’re looking to avoid it, at least there’s an option for that. Add your own sweetener or drink as is.
In addition to the ingredients Huel has, it’s important to note what it doesn’t. Since it’s vegan, it obviously doesn’t include any dairy or animal by-products. Huel also has no soy, lactose, or GMOs and contains very little sugar—less than 2%—and not much salt, either. Then, Huel’s gluten-free formula has, of course, no gluten.
Huel’s website boasts a balanced macro split of 37:30:30:3, which means that 37% of Huel’s energy comes from carbohydrates; 30% comes from fats; 30% comes from proteins; and 3% comes from fiber. One 100-gram serving of Huel’s Unflavored & Unsweetened powder provides about 37 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat, 30 g protein, and 8 g fiber. These numbers do fall very close to the recommendations set forth by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, so it’s safe to say Huel has a good balance of nutrients.
Does Huel Work?
Numerous users cite that Huel works well for meal replacement, on-the-go meals, and weight loss, or even weight gain. Surely, balanced nutrition can regulate a person’s health regardless of their goals. Many even love the flavor and some say that they can tell a difference in the way they feel. Since it’s rather impossible to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through a diet, Huel provides an easy option you can use daily. Some users have mentioned increased energy and productivity, weight loss, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved focus, and feeling younger—always a bonus!
Huel is a well-formulated health product that can work great when used appropriately. Ultimately, it comes down to how you incorporate Huel into your routine. If you use the product as a meal replacement for an otherwise unhealthy meal, you will absolutely see results. Keep in mind, you should still be conscious of your calorie intake. If you want to lose weight, you need to take in less calories than you burn. If you want to gain weight, you need to take in more calories than you burn. Both of these objectives are achievable with Huel – you just need to create a plan and stick to it.
Who is Huel Best for?
Huel works well for a wide range of lifestyles, from the busy professional to the avid athlete or on-the-go parent. The fact that it’s a quick mix powder lets you have a ready-made meal in just a few minutes; just add to water or other liquid in a blender bottle (or blender) and shake. Of course, the ready-to-drink version is even quicker! That way, whether you’re trekking up a mountain or heading out for an early morning bike ride, you can grab a quick meal and save time. The energy Huel provides works well for both a pre- and post-workout drink, so you can exercise without changing your mealtimes while keeping nutrition and energy levels up.
Another cool function of Huel powder is that you can use it like flour in your recipes for cookies, breads, cakes, pancakes, waffles, and such.
Of course, it changes your nutrition content and calorie intake, so keep that in mind if you’re watching those. Regardless, that’s another option for using Huel if you want to add it to your diet and are tired of drinking it or want some variety. Plus, it makes your recipes healthier!
If you’re concerned about carbs or on a low-carb diet, Huel has help for that. The company suggests a couple hacks with its Unflavored & Unsweetened powder that will fit with a low-carb diet while still providing Huel’s complete nutrition. In fact, it may even be a healthier option for some than an extreme keto diet.
Claims vs. Reality
The main claim that makes Huel stand out from the rest is, according to the company, that it “can be your sole nutritional source.” While that’s a fairly bold claim, it does seem based on the ingredients and information that it may be plausible. Surely, if Huel is your entire diet, you would get sick of it pretty quickly. But the point is that the proteins, carbs, EFAs, and fibers included in Huel provide you with complete nutrition so that you could potentially survive on it and thrive if Huel were all that was left on Earth.
Huel seems to be fair and transparent with their marketing.
Safety and Side Effects of Huel
The most-mentioned side effect of Huel—and it still only affects a small percentage of consumers—is digestive issues. Some have had gas or bloating issues, but for many, these go away after a few days of use. There’s still the possibility of food allergies for some individuals, so perhaps this is the case.
The only other potential issue is for people with chronic liver disease due to the manganese content in Huel, since high manganese content is often found in those with chronic liver failure. Huel should also be used with caution if you have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. For the most part, Huel is safe for the majority of individuals, but those two categories should consult a doctor prior to use.
A few have been concerned with heavy metals, which do occur naturally but can accumulate in some foods. Of course, heavy metals can have negative effects on the body in large quantities, but Huel tests for heavy metals regularly to be sure the levels fall within the safe range. That being said, it’s probably best not to overdo your servings of Huel per day if you’re concerned about that. Replacing one or two meals a day with Huel is probably safe, though.
Aside from these concerns, the only other possible negative mentioned by some is Huel’s taste. While many love it, some do not—especially the Unflavored & Unsweetened variety. The good thing is, Huel offers a few Flavor Boost options, sweetened with stevia and made with natural flavors. That way, you can create your own flavor or cocktail your Huel. Or you might just find that adding honey, fruit, or coconut sugar can help you find your flavor sweet spot.
Where to Buy/Costs
Huel is largely available on its website and Amazon, but a few vitamin or supplement stores near you may carry it. The company’s website also offers a few accessories so you can become an official Hueler—with your shaker, bottle, tote, or T-shirt.
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As for cost, Huel’s regular formula is $1.75/meal ($59.40) when you subscribe or $1.94/meal with a single purchase ($66) on their website. The gluten-free formula comes out to $1.96/meal with subscription ($66) and $2.18/meal with single purchase ($74).
For the Ready-to-Drink option, the subscribe price is $89.10 ($3.71/bottle) for a pack of 12. Single-purchase price is $99 ($4.13/bottle). (And you can get a free T-shirt with your first order!)
Since Huel has a one-year shelf life, it’s economical in that you should have no food waste, and its packaging creates very little waste as well. One really cool thing about Huel is that the company donates a percentage of its profits to charity Vitamin Angels, helping mothers and children who suffer from malnutrition. Just another thing that makes Huel stand out from the rest!
We’ve had quite a few questions come in since our initial Huel review. You can find the answers to the most common questions below.
Is Huel Actually Good For You?
Yes, Huel is good for you when used properly. You can’t simply add Huel to an unhealthy diet and expect to see results. Huel is healthy when used as advised. Huel should be used as a meal replacement or to satiate hunger when you otherwise would have snacked.
The formula is packed with a lot of healthy ingredients, but you still need to be conscious of your overall calorie intake. This leads to the next two questions.
Is Huel Good for Losing Weight?
Huel is good for losing weight if you use it as a meal replacement shake. Each serving contains 400 calories, which is much lower than most meals (especially fast food options). If you replace one meal a day with Huel, you are likely to see good results. Of course, you still need to be conscious of calorie intake. The goal is to replace a higher-calorie, unhealthy meal with Huel’s shake.
Can You Gain Weight With Huel?
You can gain weight with Huel if you use it as a mass gainer supplement. When used as a meal replacement shake, Huel is more likely to help you lose weight.
If you want to put on mass, you should use Huel alongside your normal meals. Huel can be used to add 400 healthy calories to your diet as a snack, post-workout shake, or however you prefer.
Conclusions for Huel
As it turns out, a company can stand out in a saturated market of diet, weight loss, and meal replacement options. What’s more, Huel users—called “Huelers”—have actually created a community to help each other out. It’s kind of like a secret club where people share tips, recipes, stories…whatever they feel will help someone out. Not too many companies can say that!
The reviews of Huel are phenomenal. We were impressed by what we found during our review as well. Huel is definitely worth trying if you are looking for a healthy and convenient shake.
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