When I was first looking into various meal replacement options and stumbled across these forums, the multitude of posts about GI distress, shipping issues, and everyone’s seeming desire to go 100% Huel had me a little concerned. I’m writing this post in an attempt to alleviate those concerns for anyone considering using Huel casually.
Background: I’m a fairly busy med student who weightlifts 4-5x a week and was looking for a way to cut back to ~2000 calories/day while maintaining my protein intake (150 g/day*). I’m pescatarian, so most of my protein comes from whey, soy, or fish. I enjoy eating, and had no intention of forgoing solid food entirely.
My Search: I looked into Soylent, but decided against it for a few reasons. I already eat a decent amount of tofu-based food products, and wanted to maintain my protein diversity. Plus, the ratio of 20 kCal/1g protein was well below my 13/1 target. I found Huel, which comes in at 13.5 kCal/1g protein, and despite my concerns about the content of this forum, I ordered two bags.
My experience: I decided to replace my lunch with 3 scoops of Huel, I’ve eaten it every day for the past four weeks, weekdays and weekends. I have maintained my previous water intake of 80-120 ounces per day.
Taste: I mix two scoops U&U with one scoop Vanilla in ~550 mL cold water. The base tastes kind of like oatmeal, and has a thick, somewhat flaky (but not chunky) texture when mixed adequately in the shaker bottle. At this ratio, the vanilla is subtle, but I can tell I probably wouldn’t like any more of the artificial sweetener taste than I’m already getting. I might switch to straight U&U in the future.
Ease: Both my shipments have arrived within 5-6 days of placing the order. There is some static in the bag, so I end up needing to wipe off the table I make the shake on. The shaker they supply is perfectly adequate and doesn’t leak. The bags seem to seal well. The T-shirt is fine. Probably won’t wear it much.
Fullness: I’m used to eating 700-1000 calories of solid food per lunch, so I was expecting to feel hungry for most of the afternoon. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened. While I wouldn’t say Huel makes me feel full, it does a good job of suppressing hunger, and the cutback doesn’t seem to have affected my performance at the gym. There have been a few times I’ve drank another scoop + water on longer days to tide me over until dinner.
GI Distress: For me, there hasn’t been any change in my bowel habits.
The moral of the story: you can use Huel without going all-in or over-taxing your plumbing, although individual results may vary in that regard. It tastes pleasant without any of their sweeteners, the texture is fine, and it does a good job of mitigating hunger. As long as the information presented on their website is accurate (I have no reason to believe it isn’t), their product is nutritionally well-balanced on a macro and micro level. I ordered four more bags, and am quite pleased with my $2/day lunch.
*To pre-empt the comments about this being too high, I’m a 6’5", 230 lb guy who lifts weights regularly. My full calorie/protein breakdown is:
Huel: 500 kCal/37 g protein
Whey Protein: 280 kCal/40 g protein
Skim Milk: 270 kCal/24g protein
Dinner: Variable. 800-1200 kCal/20-50g protein