This article will provide you with a scientifically-backed answer to the question:
Can you live-off Huel?
Huel is a savior in itself as it offers nutritionally complete quality food that can replace every meal of the day.
But despite the convenience and nutritive blend of balanced macronutrients, healthy fats, satiating protein, and all essential micronutrients, it cannot beat the goodness of traditional meals.
To find out why?
What is Huel?
Huel came into existence in the year 2014 and was established in England, the UK, to provide vegan and environmentally friendly products.
Julian Hearn came up with the portmanteau ‘HUEL’ that combines two words’ Human’ and ‘fuel.’
The formula blueprint of the first product, ‘The Huel powder’ was proposed by a certified nutritionist James Collier.
The motivation behind Huel products is to offer a pocket-friendly and nutritionally complete meal replacement for all that you can just whip up and gulp down for weight management, nutrition supplementation, or merely a convenience.
Thus, all products are developed with a balanced macronutrient ratio and 27 essential vitamins and minerals.
Huel products have a nutrient profile that is analogous to the recommended daily amount (RDA) and FDA and HHS dietary guidelines.
Instead of going all synthetic Huel products are made with sustainable plant-based ingredients like oats, flaxseed, quinoa, pea protein, brown rice protein, coconut oil (MCT).
To mark a large chunk of the population as ‘Huelers,’ the company came up with a gluten-free variant in 2016. They are also soy-free, dairy-free, lactose-free, and GMO-free.
By 2017 Huel started moving towards an international expansion and began shipping its products to the US.
The company has now expanded to make its products available in more than 80 countries and is headquartered in the UK (London) and US (New York).
It ranks 20 among the top meal replacement shakes of 2022.
As of today, Huel’s product range comprises black edition powders, white powders, protein bars, snack bars, Hot and savory meals, complete protein powders, and ready-to-drink shakes.
Even with all that variety and nutrition that Huel places on your plate, it is still not a diet that can be pursued in the long run.
Keep reading to find out the underlying reasons.
Can You Live Off Huel Alone?
No, You can’t live off Huel.
Supplements don’t drive your wellness; a wholesome meal does.
Why? Because a nutrient overdose is not essentially equal to a health boost.
No matter how ‘complete’ a powdered meal seems, it is impossible to incorporate the whole goodness of over 2000 vegetables and fruits that you can derive from the balance of nature.
Huel has added a bit more vitamins and minerals than the recommended dietary intake in its proprietary blend, which isn’t necessarily going to be more beneficial in the long run.
It is impossible to have over 10,000 taste buds on your tongue and spend the rest of your life tasting the same 5 or 6 flavors every day.
Cravings are a part of existence, and you can’t control your brain to not crave the food you once tasted after putting yourself on a Huel diet.
And once you are in your 50’s, you may be left with only 5000 taste buds.
So, wouldn’t it seem compelling enough to relish the sweet, spicy, meaty, cold, hot, tangy, and sour of the different delicacies around the globe while you can, rather than feeding off the same boring Huel meal every day?
What you eat affects the structure and function of both your brain and gut.
I am sure you have also heard the saying, ‘good food is equal to a good mood.’
And the scientific explanation for this phenomenon is that your Gastrointestinal tract is known as the ‘second brain in one body’ because healthy gut bacteria can release the happy hormones dopamine and serotonin that directly affect the brain and influence mood.
The probiotics, prebiotics, nutrition content, and ‘sugar’ of your diet determine the composition of your gut microbiota.
The happiness that comes with reveling sweets is only short-lived as they increase the ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut if consumed in excess.
Huel powders are sweetened with sucralose and stevia. Research has found that both artificial and natural sweeteners have adverse effects on gut microbiota.
Sucralose can turn beneficial gut bacteria into pathogenic bacteria, and stevia hinders effective communication between the gut microbiome. Refined sugars like stevia can worsen depression as well.
Even though Huel has added the spore-forming bacterial strain Bacillus coagulans and kombucha as a source of probiotics to its powder, these are not enough to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Moreover, the safety of Bacillus Coagulans in pregnant or breast-feeding women is not established as such.
Kombucha is a fermented food and another source of probiotics in the Huel powder.
It provides lactobacillus species, yeast, and some bacteria, which also cannot measure the diversity of trillions of bacteria, yeast, viruses.
Moreover, kombucha is fermented in sugar and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and can increase infection risk, stomach problems, and other side effects.
The fiber and nutrition content in Huel is not enough to sustain a healthy gut, and we require organic foods like garlic, honey, onions, and other fruits and vegetables and their whole deal of macrobiotics rather than just extracted nutrients to sustain a healthy gut.
Having a meal together has social, cultural, and traditional roots to it.
Living off the Huel diet means that you will miss out on some of the quality gatherings because you have shifted to some shakes and instant food to fulfill your nutritional requirements.
But is it enough?
Research has shown that family eating improves depression, health, and well-being of individuals.
Food helps us deal with emotions, and there is various research done on food therapy for different psychological disorders.
The University of Oxford also found that eating with others promotes social bonding and self-satisfaction.
No wonder they say the man is a social animal.
Cooking has soothing effects and is found to increase focus and reduce anxiety, instant meals 4 or even 5 times a week is okay, but you will miss out on the therapeutic effects of cooking if you are thinking of living off them.
Other reasons that make it unrealistic to rely on Huel, in the long run, are:
- It is not satiating enough for some people
- It can disturb the stomach and cause symptoms like constipation, abdominal cramps, gas, change in stools
These side effects may be caused by high fiber and protein contents or probiotics.
Even if Huel powders have FDA recommend daily amount of nutrients, these meal replacement shakes are not FDA regulated.
The Clean Label Project tested more than 130 well-known shakes and detected traces of heavy metals, contaminants, and reproductive toxins in them; pesticides, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and bisphenol A (BPA) to name a few.
These can adversely affect your health.
Then, consuming more than two protein shakes per day comes with its risks. It is recommended to consume 0.36g per pound of protein per day, which is approximately 46g for women and 56g for men.
Huel complete protein offers 40g of protein per serving (2 scoops). Whereas, Huel powder in the flavor vanilla v3.0 offers 30g per serving (2 scoops).
While these Huel shakes might be beneficial to achieve weight loss or weight gain goals in the short term.
In the long term, this high protein diet may cause some adverse effects.
According to this research, a high protein intake can be toxic to the kidney, liver, bones and can be cancer-causing as well.
Rosanna cooney lived off Huel for 3 months and wrote in her review that she couldn’t feel the satisfaction of gulping down an easy meal rather, she felt guilty that it was going to turn our generation lazy.
Everything Else to Know about Living off Huel
Do you feel hungry after Huel?
Yes, Although Huel products are protein-rich and protein is more satiating, consumers have reported getting hungry sooner after consuming liquid shakes.
How long can you drink Huel?
Huel powders are good for consumption for about 1 year.
And the prepared Huel powder can last for a day in the refrigerator. The expiry date of Huel products is mentioned on the product labels.
Is Huel worth the money?
Yes, Huel is an affordable meal replacement that has a nutritional content certified by nutritionists.
Can Huel make you fat?
Yes, If you consume Huel to for attaining a calorie surplus it can help you gain weight.
How much does HUEL cost per meal?
Huel hot and savory costs $3.76 per meal.
Does Huel ready to drink need to be refrigerated?
No, the Huel ready-to-drink remains perfectly viable at room temperature as it is bottled aseptically, so there is no risk of degradation of nutrients. But you can also toss it in the fridge if you want to enjoy a chilled drink.
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To conclude, it is unrealistic and unhealthy to live off Huel regardless of how nutritionally complete it may seem; as the saying goes, ‘excess of everything is bad.’
Even if ready-made stuff seems appealing, stuffing too many nutrients from one source can lead to their decreased absorption in the body, so it is always a better choice to derive your daily intake of macronutrients and micronutrients from nature rather than synthetic powders.
Moreover, nothing can match the nutritional goodness of farm-fresh whole fruits and vegetables or the value of wholesome home-cooked food that you can enjoy with your friends and family.
As it is essential to enjoy food rather than just eating it to fill the tummy.