Huel and intermittent fasting

Hi everyone, I’m new to Huel and I’m starting to do IF with Huel to lose weight. Any suggestions? And does it work as well? I’m doing calorie deficit with IF, is it worth it?
Thank you and have a good day!

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Hey @Raulst. You will lose weight as long as you are in calorie deficit. Intermittent fasting may help you achieve this because you have a smaller window to consume your calories in each day but it is not necessary.

This article may help:

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Well… there’s more to it than a simple calorie deficit, Dan. Yes, a fasting window may help a person eat less total calories in a day. And this may contribute to the lowering of total daily insulin. But there may also be some benefits from a daily fast towards lowering insulin resistance which then promotes a more favorable insulin response (read: less insulin needed from the pancreas) when the person eats during the feeding window. And this may be independent from any change in total calories consumed. I think there was some research in which people were simply asked to change the timing of their meals but not alter total calories, (i.e. do IF but not calorie restrict) and they experienced some weight loss. There is also something I read where the liver processes fats differently when a person eats starting in a low insulin state verses a state of higher insulin. I.e. a fasted state where the person has low basal insulin causes the body to process food differently when
they break that fast than if they were to eat only a few hours after their previous meal. (I need to search my notes for this reference.). Also, during fasting when insulin levels are low/basal, fat more readily comes out of adipose tissue and is available to the rest of the body. Higher insulin levels keep fat locked away in adipose tissue. So going through a daily period of a fast allows the body some more time to be in fat releasing and fat burning mode.

But I also think there is some evidence that IF causes people to spontaneously eat a little less, so it may be hard to separate the effects.

Fasting has some other beneficial effects apart from insulin. It can raise certain hormones during the fasted state like mildly increase growth hormone and epinephrine. There is some evidence of apoptosis during a fast. Fasting may have beneficial changes for gut biome. And there may be some psychological benefits.

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Yes, IF works very well for many people. Not all. Some people cannot go too far without eating. And some people are not that insulin resistant so it may not work as well for them.

In 2018 I basically practiced a 16-hour or 17-hour daily fast, ate an omnivore meal for my breakfast, and then ate Huel as my dinner at work. On my days off I would do omnivore meals during my feeding window but still maintain a 16 to 17 hr fast. In 2019 I have eliminated meat and dairy but still do the 16 to 17 hour fast, and do mostly Huel as my work meal. I’d estimate that Huel comprised about 40 to 50% of my total food intake over the last 14 months. I also exercise most days of the week about 30 to 45 minutes, mostly during the fasted state.

In the start of 2018 I was 2015 lbs. Today I am 145 lbs. 5’ 10" male. Was a waist 40. Now am 32 or 34 inch waist. I am skinny now, but have gained a good amount of strength from exercise.

Many years ago I was 275 lbs and type 2 diabetic. I have a history of insulin resistance, so that may play a role in why IF and Huel combo worked so well for me.

Completely agree Deron but sometimes it’s good to answer a short question with a short answer. We can certainly go into the nitty gritty of why IF works for some, I would argue many is a stretch based on current data.

In the general population i.e. those who are not diabetic or pre-diabetic the issue of insulin becomes less of a factor. Even in type 2 diabetes this is before taking into account other hormones and neurotransmitters e.g. leptin, ghrelin NPY, individual biological and psychological differences and overall fat mass.

I feel you are coming at it from a diabetic point of view, which is just one sub group of the whole population (although a growing one) and even then it can be one method of “success”. Although this does centre around insulin.

Here’s a good comparison of the more traditional continuous weight loss method vs IF:

I would love to see the study on altered meal times causing weight loss without a change in calories, feel free to message me it.

Apoptosis has been seen in animal models but this has yet to be demonstrated in humans. In fact, most of the benefits that have been seen in animals in regards to IF have failed to translate to humans.

This paper is not specifically about IF but highlights really well the issue with pinning down benefits of a single diet and applying them to all of the general population. One of the most important considerations is: can you stick to a healthy diet for the long term.

"Yet, no one dietary strategy is consistently superior to others for the general population. "


I use IF and Huel. IF just started last month, but have been using Huel for two meals a day, most work days, and I’m happy with the results so far, since Nov 2018.

If I am able to work out three days a week, then I see more weight and fat loss. I’m 56 in July and menopausal, so my metabolism has slowed down a lot. I was 167 with fat in my mid section…shoulders to knees. I’m now 151 and lost a bunch of fat.

You know, fat has to be breathed and sweated out…it doesn’t just disappear. There’s a good Tedtalk on where does fat go.

Anyway, the IF helps me control when and what I eat. By keeping my insulin spikes limited during the 24 hours, I have found my body is more responsive to the nutrition I give it. I like the ease of Huel. I like to add frozen strawberries and the flavor booster, or I use ice cubes and the Chai boost. It works for me.

Also, when I travel to visit my mom, I have the ready to drink Strawberry Huel sent to her house. Easy breakfast and sometimes a second meal. I do prefer the powder consistency over the RTD.

I hope this helps someone. :slight_smile:


Question for those on this thread who use IF successfully: how do you adjust when unexpected life circumstances delay your final meal outside of your prescribed eating window? Do you make an exception to your timing to accommodate a meal, or do you skip it and break your fast earlier the next day? Just wondering how rigid you are to the eating window, if that means you end up having a really low calorie intake for the day or if it’s better to step out of the usual schedule.

I’m imagining an eating window of noon to 8 pm, meals at 12:00, 4:00, and 8:00. If you can’t get dinner in “on time”, instead taking a super-rigid “too bad, so sad” attitude about it would mean you’ve eaten 4 hours, then fasted 20 hours by the next day’s noon “breakfast”. That’s not impossible, but it would be pretty difficult for some people. Anyone know the science behind it? I’m not sure what dieticians study things in the context of “if you’re gonna mess this up, this is the ‘best’ way to fail so you still have some positive results.”

My feed window is 6am to Noon. I am strict and rigid.

I don’t eat outside that window. If there’s an event, or some other eating invitation, I attend, but do not eat on “doctor’s orders” if I am asked. I don’t get into my IF plans, or Vegan needs, or my Healthcare architecture, or Workout schematics.

For me if I end up eating dinner past my usual cutoff time of 7 pm, then I delay starting my breakfast the next day such that it’s at least 16 hours past my dinner. I then try to stick to my 7 pm cutoff time that next day. So, in essence, I still try to go the 16 hours fast and then the following day my feeding window is shortened.

I was more rigid while losing body fat. Now that I’m slim, I sometimes break my fast at the 14 hour mark with a few pieces of fruit, right before my exercise session. A lot depends on the size the final dinner the previous night. If I feel I can exercise fasted then I prefer that. But if I feel like my fasted exercise would have me run out of steam really quick, then I break the fast early with some easy digesting fruit. Banana, orange, medjool dates are my go to pre workout stuff.

At least once a week I will purposely skip exercise to allow me to eat less. I can also skip exercise in order to maintain a 16 he fast if I had dinner late the night before.

And every once in a while I just ditch the 16 hour fast. I was very regimented while losing weight. But I don’t need to be these days. I’ve been on vacation the last 3 days so my schedule is all messed up.

I’d say it pays to be regimented for the first few months. Once that happens, the brain is adjusted and you’re better able to have a " cheat day" without fear of losing mental progress.

There are many benefits to IF, beyond pure fat loss. So much so that I still do it today even though I’m at my correct weight.

But the first and most obvious science behind IF is its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. When fasting, the basal insulin levels drop, thus allowing stored fat to more readily come out of adipose tissues to be burned for energy. (High insulin levels tell the body to burn carbohydrates primarily and store fat.) And people will really notice this as they get accustomed to IF but are still overweight. After a few months, my brain was fully adjusted but I was still at a BMI around 28. I could actually go 20 or 22 hrs without food with no problem. I even rode my bike for 20 miles while in the 16 hour fast mark. Now that I’m slim I don’t have the excess fat stores so I cannot go as long without food.

There are some studies that show that the pancreatic insulin response is blunted when a person eats a meal after a fast. So not only does the insulin go down during the fast, but the insulin response is muted during the meal that breaks the fast. So the benefits of IF continue throughout the feeding window.

During a fast your liver also uses up some of its stored glycogen reserves. When the fast is broken, more of the carbohydrates eaten are used to refill these glycogen supplies and thus less of these eaten carbs will be converted into fat (de Novo lipogenesis) and stored. This is another supposed benefit of IF.

Fasting also induces the body to recycle old tissues and old cells. This autophagy is another benefit of fasting.

There are mental benefits to IF. The act of denying food can help a person break food cravings. It can help a person better understand true physiological hunger. They learn that some of what they thought was hunger was mere psychological and habitual. In an age of nutritional excess, it is good to deny yourself food every once in a while. You learn that you aren’t going to die by skipping breakfast. You discipline your “inner toddler” that throws a fit if you don’t give in to his/her desire for something sweet or a midnight snack. IF can be viewed as a form of asceticism; a form of mental training and mental strengthening.

And then there’s the idea that people will spontaneously eat less total food in a day if they force themselves to consume all food in a narrow window. We sometimes lose track of how much total food we eat when we “mindlessly” snack between meals.

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