Five Weeks on 100%-Huel


#1

Hey guys,

Here in the UK office we have completed a small trial looking at the impact of having Huel Powder (EU formulation v2.3) for 100% daily nutrition for 5-weeks. The EU version is similar to the US.

A short summary version can be found [here] which links through to the full write up, inc Appendix.

At the time, we weren’t necessarily going to formalise the trial & it was for internal findings only, but as we like to be transparent, we thought we’d share the info. As such, I’d like to call out that there were a couple of limitations to the trial. The write up was based around 4 core participants, although we had post-trial blood results for 13 participants in total. Ideally, we would have had all measurements taken for all participants, but we simply did not have the resource at the time of the trial. Similarly, we would like to have had more vitamins and minerals tested for, but our partner clinic couldn’t facilitate. If we decide to run a similar trial in the future, we would look to address these limitations.

Happy reading!


#2

Thanks for sharing! Did you measure significance levels for each person? The methods are unclear as to what “Difference” means. An interesting read regardless.


#3

@Rebecca_Huel Thanks for choosing to share this with us. I will comb through the results more when I have time. I read the summary already.

One thing that stood out to me, but not necessarily alarming, is the increase in uric acid levels in the four core participants. We know that uric acid is one the “nitrogenous waste products” along with BUN that are (if I am correct on this) waste products from amino acids. Unlike fats and carbohydrates who are eventually burned and the waste product is carbon dioxide, a gas we breath out, the waste from proteins is a soluble, solid waste that must be eliminated via our kidneys. We know that some people have problems with a build up of uric acid (either from too much production or impaired renal elimination of it) and this can precipitate in joints (Gout) or in renal collecting ducts (kidney stones). This is a little close to home since my kidney stones have been the ones where uric acid is the core and allows calcium oxalate to form around it. One touted benefit of reducing meat in the diet is improvements or cure of Gout. Gout patients are specifically instructed to avoid red meat, for example.

Huel has a rather high protein content, one that is almost mimicking an omnivore diet. So although it uses plant proteins, it’s total protein content is on par with a person eating animal products with every meal (eggs, chicken, beef, yogurt). If you look at whole food plants, the lion’s share (no pun intended) are high in carbs and low in fat and protein. A little more protein than fat, but still much lower protein content than what we see in dairy, beef, chicken, etc. Some exceptions. Nuts can have more protein, although the predominant macro in nuts is fat.

The only reason I bring this up is that Huel seems like it is trying to mimic a whole food plant based diet or a vegan style diet, in spirit. And certainly, it does contain only plant foods and plant ingredients. And I am not criticizing Huel for not being fully “whole food”. I’ve been eating it for a year now and it’s been a tremendous boon to my health. I guess what I am getting at is this: is Huel’s formulation being unconsciously influenced by the omnivore and meat-eating general population? Are ya’ll afraid to go low on the protein for fear it will invoke criticism and people won’t try it or is there a real advantage to a high protein plant-based formulation?

Look at the macro makeup of things like sweet potato, brown rice, black beans, lentils, kale, fruits, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, spinach, coconut, sunflower seeds, peas, etc. These are all foods that are universally considered healthy and if a person ate a diet consisting of things like this we’d label them as a healthy plant eater. But look at the overall protein content of this diet. It’s significantly lower than someone eating an all-Huel diet. Yes, even legumes (beans and lentils) do not have the protein content per unit of weight that a Huel serving does.

@Rebecca_Huel I was wondering what you opinion is on protein content. In particular, the natural amount of protein found in plant foods. And do you think society places too much emphasis on protein intake?


#4

Hey @Deron thanks for reading through and taking the time to comment, it’s great to see that the trial has been of interest to you guys.

Re. protein content of Huel. The current recommended daily amounts for protein intake are based on sedentary individuals, and we firmly believe that protein content should go beyond these requirements. Protein is essential for millions of processes in the body like hormone production, supporting the immune system, providing the structure and function of tissues etc etc.

It’s more of a challenge for individuals who predominantly get their protein content from plant-based sources, as typically they provide less protein per 100g compared to animal-derived sources and are considered ‘incomplete’ sources of protein (there are exceptions). This means that they do not provide all, or enough of, all essential amino acids. However, Huel has been formulated with 2 main sources of plant sources of protein to ensure good protein content. There’s also questions around protein quality and bioavailability.

Take a look at the Guide to Protein Quality, Digestion and Absorption, it explains it really nicely.


#5

@Decieven we didn’t measure significance levels as the power with only 4 core participants was too low. So it would be negligible. If we do the trial again in the future, we would try to recruit more participants and therefore have enough power to complete a comprehensive study vs a trial.

‘Difference’ literally meant the difference between pre- and post-trial values.


#6

Cool. Thanks for the reply.

Although I still am not fully convinced that I need so much protein in my diet. I have been reading a book where the author discusses some different recommended levels of daily protein intake from various citations. They do not all agree. But a few sources are giving numbers such as 30 to 80 gram ranges per day, depending on your size. Numbers that are roughly half of what an all Huel diet would entail. Theoretically, I would think overconsumption of protein wouldn’t be necessary or healthy, coupled with the fact that mother nature doesn’t put a lot of protein in plant foods, leaves me to think there may be a valid argument for doing a modest or low protein diet.

I need to look at those vegan body builders and see how much they are getting. It would be interesting to see how much they consume.

I also read info on the doctor who was giving his patients an all rice diet, like 90% of their food was white rice. His results with obesity and type 2 diabetes were remarkable. I only bring it up since rice is low in protein and these sick patients did very well on this diet. I know this is comparing apples to oranges, but it’s certainly interesting. It really made me think outside the box and question my beliefs that we need a lot of protein and need to eat a wide variety of foods. Or the story of the fat Australian guy who ate only potatoes for a year and lost weight and felt great.


#7

@Deron you’re right that protein recommendations vary. Protein content depends hugely on physical activity - the type of exercise you do, if you lift weights or you’re more endurance focused, what your physical goals are, your body weight etc etc. These figures range from around 0.8g/kg body weight/day t0 2.5g/kg body weight/day.

Also, it’s widely accepted & reported in the scientific community nowadays that unless you have pre-existing kidney or liver function problems, high protein intakes are not longer considered a cause for concern. And in fact high protein diets can be preferential.

I’m not sure I should comment on the rice/potatoes bit - it’s making me frown so much that i’m worried about where my eyebrows will end up haha :sweat_smile:


#8

You must be psychic @Rebecca_Huel. I was just reading some stuff tonight about protein intake. A few things noted in this really long article

“An increasing body of evidence indicates that high-protein diets may improve blood lipid profiles (119–123) and thereby lessen the risk of CVD.”

"Epidemiologic evidence supports the clinical data, which shows a cardiovascular protective effect of dietary protein. Protein intake has been shown to be inversely related to CVD in a cohort of 80082 women (126). "

Are just some examples in their section about protein. The entire article is a very interesting read. It’s this

And if it makes you feel any better, Rebecca, I prefer the sweet potato Boniato to a white potato. But when it comes to rice, I gotta go white over brown. Sorry.


#9

If you ever need some guinea pigs in the United States, I would be happy to help. I was on 99% Huel for about four months, starting August 17th, with the 1% being green tea with a little sugar. I had some supplements off and of too, but mostly it was just Huel for the first several months. Aside from that, I did have to take some medications. I am at roughly 95% Huel now, regarding calorie intake, but I added a variety of vitamins and supplements starting in January. I can’t say I can tell the difference with most supplements, so I could go off of them again for a period of time. I am still using Huel as the foundation of improving my gastrointestinal issues further, so I have no intention of switching away from Huel in the near future, and maybe not at all. I decided to add a small amount of carrots, potatoes and kale, just to keep my wife from worrying too much over a Huel only diet, but I honestly don’t even like eating them. Too much hassle to prepare, and without adding a lot to them, the vegetables are boring to eat anyway. My point is that I have completely adapted to Huel only, so if you ever want to give me parameters to follow for a study and take blood work, I am more than happy to help. I currently consume a little over 1 gallon of Huel per day, which is right at 3000 calories. Once the weather gets warmer and I can be even more active, I will be back up to 3500-4000 per day.


#10

haha me too, sweet potato is the best, but for 90% of my diet :tired_face:


#11

Hey @JohnnieD72! Great to hear you’re loving Huel & that your experience has been positive. Thanks for the offer - I’m always up for more studies, so you never know! Maybe in the future I can head over to the US!


#12

The study of the people on the island of Okinawa, Japan, showed that the majority of their calories came from sweet potato.

“In short, the Okinawans circa 1950 ate sweet potatoes for 849 grams of the 1262 grams of food that they consumed, which constituted 69% of their total calories.[4]” from Wikipedia article on Okinawa Diet.

Interestingly, they ate fish and pork, but this constituted a very low amount. They also had some greens and some legumes, and a little seaweed. But we can see that these people definitely ate a “starch based diet” in that starch provided the lion’s share of their energy needs. (perhaps a wrong metaphor since lions don’t eat much starch)

“An Okinawan reaching 100 years of age has typically had a diet consistently averaging about one calorie per gram of food and has a BMI of 20.4 in early adulthood and middle age.[8]” That’s almost exactly my current BMI of 20.6.

Now, if we can create some Huel centenarians, you can get your own Wikipedia page.

Unfortunately, not all ended well: “The traditional Okinawan diet as described above was widely practiced on the islands until about the 1960s. Since then, dietary practices have been shifting towards Western and Japanese patterns, with fat intake rising from about 6% to 27% of total caloric intake and the sweet potato being supplanted with rice and bread.[9] This shifting trend has also coincided with a decrease in longevity, where Okinawans now have a lower life expectancy than the Japanese average.[10]”