Is this good for people trying to be in ketosis?

I was at 190lbs and had to make a change in my life. I had to quit alcohol (but slowly got back into it), and I started using apple cider vinegar. It worked wonders and I dropped weight. I also got on Ancient Nutrition’s Keto Fire and try to eat keto and fast a but. I also joined a CrossFit cuz I kept going to the free Sat morn ones and they got mad I was using open gym. Well, sometimes when I step on the scale in the morning I hit 175, but I’m sure with eating and the day going by I get up to 180.

San Jose, CA is a very expensive place to live, especially feeding yourself. I’m tired of ordering Uber Eats all the time and I also even used Freshly before. I want to try Huel though cuz it keeps popping up on my freaking screen! Well I ordered it so can’t wait for delivery :yum:

Hello @TigerKneeCrush. Great to hear the progress you’ve made! So you’re wanting to try the Keto diet. To grossly summarize, Keto is a diet that has high fat, adequate protein, and low carb content.

Due to the nature of Huel (oats being the primary ingredient) it has a relatively high amount of carbs for someone wanting to go on a Keto diet (47g per serving).

Here are the macros, 16g of fat (mostly poly and mono unsaturated, considered the “good” fats), 47g of carbs, and 37g of protein per 500 calorie serving.

Now, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to replace one of your meals a day with Huel and still be able to be under the carb threshold for a Keto diet as long as you monitor your other meals throughout the day.

Before you try your first sip of Huel I would recommend reading up on the Huel articles on their sites about best practices when preparing Huel and read some user feeback. That way you’ll have realistic expectations before trying it!


Huel is low glycemic index, and many of us have used Huel as part of a body fat loss program.

However, I doubt you will achieve ketosis while using Huel. 40% oat powder, by weight, oats are the biggest ingredient. I mean, even if you only had one 2-scoop serving a day, there’s enough carbs in that serving that you’d have to painstakingly watch everything else you ate that day to ensure you didn’t exceed the 25 or 30 gram limit of carbs per day to achieve ketosis. And in that sense, your intake of Huel would be so limited, you’d still need to buy other food for the majority of your total food intake, and it would defeat the purpose of ordering Huel in the first place.

Realistically, Huel is not a practical option for ketogenic diet. It can be used successfully for body fat loss, just not via ketosis.

Just out of curiosity, what is your height, if you don’t mind me asking? Those weight numbers you mention don’t seem that high. I’m 5’ 11" male. I weighed roughly 215 lbs last year. Last time I stepped on the scale I was 194 lbs. My goal is to get into waist size 36 pants which will put me somewhere in the 180 to 185 pound range, roughly. The ideal body weight for me is like 170 lbs, but that ain’t happening :joy:

I’ve been reading a lot about intermittent fasting and have started practicing the 16 hour daily fast for a few weeks now. For me, intermittent fasting frees me up to be able to eat whatever I want during the 8-hour feeding state. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be eating stuff that I clearly know is junk food. But what I I mean is that I don’t have to count calories or count carbohydrates or worry so much about what I do eat during the FED State. My main focus is trying to go 16 hours from dinner to next day’s breakfast. I use Huel at work for it’s convenience and it’s low GI.

Remember that the one goal of a ketogenic diet is to lower your insulin. If you are practicing some form of intermittent fasting, your insulin levels will be very low deep into the fasted state. So, you can get benefits from just practicing fasting and not necessarily also eating a ketogenic diet. But doing both will be even more effective. Depends on what you want to achieve and how quickly.

Hey, @Deron, I’ve got a question for you about intermittent fasting. I’ve seen your posts on here quite a bit, and you seem very knowledgeable. I’m hoping I can pick your brain! :wink:

I tried intermittent fasting for a few weeks, and it seemed relatively easy to do. I would only have water in the morning, then be able to eat from 10:30 - 6:30 (maybe pushing to 7:00), and then nothing until the next morning at 10:30. Here’s where I don’t think it worked for me…

I do Orangetheory Fitness every weekday morning, and I wasn’t noticing any difference at all in the way I looked. I’m not overweight, but I could stand to tone up. That just wasn’t happening. I then read an article that said a person really needs to eat ~25 grams of protein within an hour of working out.

So, what’s the right answer? That’s a loaded question, I know, but I would really like to know your thoughts on that.

Thanks in advance!

Hi Jolly, I’m not @Deron, but I’d like to offer my thoughts.

I also practice intermittent fasting. I don’t eat from 7pm to 11am. Just coffee and water in the early morning. At 11am or 12pm (depending on how crazy work is :roll_eyes:) I’ll have my Huel lunch.

I exercise when I get home from work and shortly after I have a nice dinner. Bottom line, you will get the most benefit from your workouts by consuming a high quality meal shortly after exercising. I’ve noticed this from my own experience.

Exercising in a fasted state has its benefits, but afterwards your muscles are completely starved and will need the proper nutrients to recover and get stronger. I think having a serving of Huel soon after your workouts would be a fantastic recovery meal.

If you want to continue intermittent fasting you may need to adjust your feeding hours if you have that flexibility in your schedule.

Remember, as with anything in life, the formula for improvement is: time + consistency = results! Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll get to where you want to be.

Intuitively it would seem that consuming a meal within a short period after rigorous exercise would contribute to “muscle building” and therefore improve the results of a training program. That is the conventional wisdom. However, I am not sure there is any direct evidence of this. I don’t know if delaying eating till much later in the day will hamper strength gains, so long as the average weekly amount of protein is adequate for you and your training. I honestly need to search for this.

Remember that muscle and fat are both highly regulated by hormones. Insulin has a big impact on fat storage and carbohydrate metabolism and storage. But growth hormone plays a role in fat release as well as muscle building. We know that growth hormone increases a little when we sleep and GH tends to go up the longer we are into a fast. Perhaps the slight increase in GH during fasting makes it okay to NOT eat right away after a workout. We also know that a post workout meal will increase insulin significantly and decrease GH. GH is lowest during post meals and is suppressed while in the fed state. I do think insulin can contribute to muscle growth, as well as GH. But it seems that when one is up, the other is down. I’ll have to see if there is any studies on this.

Remember that protein consumed does have a modest impact on insulin secretion from the pancreas. I think I read somewhere that a whey protein shake, in liquid form, can stimulate insulin release fairly significantly. Not that having a protein shake after a workout and breaking your fast is a bad thing. But, it’s just something to be aware of.

And you can thank @Robat for getting me started on an intermittent fasting regimen. His mentioned that in his posts a month or so back, and that triggered my curiosity to do some reading. I am at hour 20 right now and I will say that it gets easier with each time I try it. I even built a Google Sheets document that I can track my fasting times, with stats at the bottom for average time fasted as well as percentage of fasts greater than certain time thresholds.

as far as why Orange Therapy didn’t give you noticeable results, there may be many factors. Does orange therapy have a lot of resistance training? That would be needed to hypertrophy muscles. Also, it appears as if muscle growth in humans is pretty slow, even in people who train hard. It may take a few months of training to “see” a difference in the appearance of your muscles. Also, your testosterone levels are lower than your male counterparts, so you don’t have that extra hormonal boost for muscle growth that guys do (sorry, don’t blame me. I didn’t design humans). Genetics can also have in impact on how easy or hard it is to gain muscle. Age plays a contributing factor for muscle gains as well, since our GH decreases as we age.

personally, I time my strength training exercise near the end of my fast. Then I can eat soon afterwards. I do this simply because I fear I may be sluggish and craving food. Today I walked for 3 miles instead and have remain fasted for several hours afterwards.

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Ok, score one for @Robat . It does seem there is evidence that “hyperaminoacidemia” (giving extra amino acids to a subject and raising the blood levels of amino acids) can help stimulate muscle growth.


And here’s another interesting article

The study was on the use of injected insulin and amino acid supplementation together. So, it’s not completely what we’re talking about, since noone here is prescribing insulin injections post-workout. But it is interesting to see the results. The abstract seems to indicate that consuming extra protein will stimulate muscle growth and insulin does not seem to have a big impact on this. That will be our journal club for today, boys and girls. :slight_smile:


Ok, ignore the post above with those technical studies, unless you really want to read some technical stuff. Here is the article addressing the issue of food timing after exercise:

In the discussion, the authors say "Despite claims that immediate post-exercise nutritional intake is essential to maximize hypertrophic gains, evidence-based support for such an “anabolic window of opportunity” is far from definitive. "

An interesting excerpt from the article brings to light the problem with these studies:

“It also should be noted that measures of Muscle Protein Synthesis assessed following an acute bout of resistance exercise do not always occur in parallel with chronic upregulation of causative myogenic signals [66] and are not necessarily predictive of long-term hypertrophic responses to regimented resistance training [67]. Moreover, the post-exercise rise in MPS in untrained subjects is not recapitulated in the trained state [68], further confounding practical relevance. Thus, the utility of acute studies is limited to providing clues and generating hypotheses regarding hypertrophic adaptations; any attempt to extrapolate findings from such data to changes in lean body mass is speculative, at best.”

To translate: Studies showing an increase in muscle protein building after a post-workout meal only show this in the immediate period (a few hours) after the exercise. (And it should be noted that some studies showed no benefit of a post-exercise meal.) Muscle growth and adaptation from an exercise program is likely something that occurs over longer periods of time, many hours to days. We intuitively know this since we are often sore for a day or more after exercise. We even tell people to rest in between exercise sessions or else you won’t give the muscles enough time to recover.

The analysis also stated that untrained subjects (ones who did not exercise) still had an increase in muscle protein synthesis when given food. And we certainly cannot assume just eating protein in and of itself (without training) will make you stronger. So then, is that muscle synthesis from post-exercise meals shown in these few studies a normal response that occurs after any meal, regardless of any exercise just finished? And it was just a coincidence?

These limited and mixed-result studies of short-term muscle synthesis after a post-workout meal may not mean anything. True adaptive muscle growth may be a process that takes many hours or days to complete, and these studies cannot tell us that a post-exercise meal is necessary to experience strength gains from an exercise program.

Bottom line is: although a post-exercise meal is not harmful and may help you feel better, there doesn’t seem to be strong evidence that it’s necessary. I would say to exercise whenever you want, fasted or fed. Then eat whenever you feel your physiological hunger coming on. That may quickly follow a vigorous workout, or it may not. But I don’t see enough evidence to prescribe “everyone consume xx grams of protein within xx minutes of an exercise session.”

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Wow! Thank you so much, @Deron and @Robat! I am blown away by the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of your responses.

Your information has been a great help. I have not read all of the articles referenced above, but I definitely plan to get through them all this weekend to see what else I can learn.

This information is so helpful, I think we should start a new thread with your responses in it.

Thank you again!

The study in the last link I gave was a review of many studies, a meta-analysis of sorts.

I get the feeling that supplement/food companies looking to promote their protein powder or post workout powder might cherry pick a few of the small studies to back up their assertion that consuming protein within a certain time window is important. And, certainly, this might be true. And, it probably doesn’t hurt.

But the bigger question of: “is it necessary to consume protein within 30 minutes of an exercise session to avoid missing a window of opportunity?” is much harder to answer. The meta analysis I cited above was not able to back this up.

And doing muscle biopsies, like some of the studies did, may not necessarily tell us the whole story. Just merely showing protein synthesis occurred after a post work-out meal doesn’t necessarily translate into strength gains. It could be some other type of protein synthesis, not related to the actin-myosin proteins that do the actual contraction.

To answer this question definitively, you’d have to have some kind of outcome study, where actual strength gains were measured. And this is hard to do. How do you control for variation in starting strength levels between different subjects? Not everyone is the same. Also, people’s strength varies depending on time of day, level of sleep, if they’re being watched, etc. You’d have to have one group who definitely had protein 30 min after a workout, with the other group delaying any meal until xx hours after a workout. The exercises would have to be the same. Anyway, it sounds way too complicated for something that is probably not important anyway.

The mantra “consume xx grams of protein within 30 min of a workout” is likely a creation of the food supplement industry. They’ve even gone so far as to divide your proteins into further categories: “whey protein is rapidly digested so use it post workout, whereas casein protein is slower digesting so use in at bedtime to last you all night.” It sounds logical. But, there’s no real evidence. To think there is some golden time frame for every person where you need to slurp down protein or else miss out on your one shot… seems like a stretch. I think the body is more flexible than that. Humans have been getting stronger and eating food loooooong before these supplements have been available.

[The real reason body builders are bigger today than the 70s is the hormone injections, not the protein supplements.]

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Great post. I’d like to add one thing…thanks to protein supplement advertising we tend to overestimate the amount of protein we need to build muscle and neglect perhaps the most important factor…drinking plenty of water. Best advice I ever received (which led to my best gains in strength, performance, etc.) was to ditch the protein supplements and focus on staying hydrated before, during, after and between workouts. Muscle tissue is nearly 80% water and muscle production decreases exponentially beginning with even the slightest amount dehydration. Most people already get enough protein, especially if Huel makes up a good part of your diet. If you wanted to add 25lbs of muscle in a year (which is probably the natural limit) you only need an extra 7g of protein per day. Focus as much on drinking water and avoiding things that dehydrate you (caffeine, alcohol, etc.) as you do on protein intake and it’ll make a big difference.

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@HuelBrynner, your post had some good information in it, but I’m going to have to come back later to re-read it. I’m still cracking up over your user name, and I can’t concentrate on a word you wrote. Brilliant!

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@HuelBrynner Could you please clarify what you mean by the recommended protein amount per day to build muscle - my understanding was that the recommended amount of protein for muscle gains was between 1.2x to 2x the amount of lean body weight (in kilograms) one had.