So this has been a bit of life altering experience for me for the last few weeks. As a background, I am 47 year old male with type 2 Diabetes on medication for the last 15 years and a vegetarian. Suffer from the occasional bouts of IBS. My job requires substantial travel - both domestic and international. So all the good work I do with my diet, goes for a toss when I travel, jet lagged and you get some of the most unhealthy options in the name of vegetarian food. My A1C levels have been a clear indicator of my travel related stress and has never been showing a high level of control.
My colleague mentioned Huel a few weeks ago and i just tried a sample - i immediately fell in love with the concept and taste. As I did my research about the product, it occurred to me that this could be my solution when I travel - just carry the powder and the shaker and you are good to go! with that in mind I started my Huel journey and I am right now on my 5th bag. The great news is - My sugar levels are under amazing control - random readings never over 140. I have had 3 domestic trips in which I was able to stay with my 2 out of 3 meals as Huel.
I have replaced 2 of my 3 major meals with Huel - breakfast and lunch and my dinner is “regular” food. I can easily see my weight steadily but very slowly move towards the right direction and small but perceptible difference in my waist line. I still have the occasional bouts of IBS - but I do have my own theory on it - the one thing I notice is - after a few days on Huel, all the other tastes are so amplified and almost hits you. Salt / Sugar / Spice - everything gets amplified a lot. I think it is my 3rd “regular” meal that is becoming the culprit in triggering the occasional IBS episode.
I enjoy the vanilla / sweetened version and contrary to most posts, I enjoy it with more water and the mildly gritty texture is actually something I like - so no blender for me
Also, I chug it in a matter of couple of minutes - which would be highly unhealthy with regular food, but I am glad the low glycemic index of the Huel ingredients has not caused a spike on my sugar levels.
Since my regular diet is spicy, i thought the unflavored version would be an ideal base for trying various spice mixes - and boy did I try to make it work. My final conclusion on this topic is - there is something fundamentally wrong about a cold / lukewarm concoction with spices in it - it just does not work. I am powering through my 2nd bag of unflavoured version with vanilla syrup and I am just going to stay with the flavored sweetened version.
Adding some cinnamon to it improves the flavor but i am just a fan of the basic sweet version…
I am due for my A1C levels to be checked and I am hoping that it validates my day to day experience - will update once i have the numbers.
I fundamentally like the almost 2 dollar a meal / complete meal replacement / no waste / responsibly sourced bit and hope that this becomes a much greater phenomenon !
Didn’t realize The Obesity Code is a Dr. Jason Fung book. Interesting. I’ve seen his youtube videos and explanations on intermittent fasting (which I have been practicing myself.)
Insulin. It’s all (or, mostly) about insulin. Body fat is regulated the same as all other tissue in the body: via hormones. The main hormone that determines body fat deposition or release is insulin. Insulin fluctuates more than any other hormone in the body and we have the most direct control over insulin verses any other hormone in the body. Our meal composition, timing, and volume determine most of the insulin made by our pancreas.
And the situation of insulin resistance makes the problem of obesity worse. Our liver and muscles fall resistant to insulin, but the fat cells remain sensitive. especially the fat cells in the gut area.
Basically, insulin resistance is the cause. Excess body fat and elevated blood sugars are the result. We really need to relabel Type 2 diabetes as “Insulin resistance with elevated blood sugars”. Unlike Type 1 which is an auto-immune disease and not curable. Type 2 is completely caused by diet and completely curable by dietary changes.
Dr. Jason Fung’s “2 compartment model” is a better explanation than the old “calories-in-calories-out” model which is based on a 1 compartment model of energy storage. Indeed, the body stores energy as two very different forms, glycogen and fat. And the body will not access the fat if the insulin is too high.
Lowering insulin levels via exercise, certain meds, ketogenic diet, low Glycemic Index diets, or Intermittent Fasting, is the answer. They all tackle the hyper-insulin problem in different ways, but end up at the same destination.
So I got my A1C numbers back - 6.2 ! has never been this low in a few years and it is down from 7 at the beginning of the year - best part is, I could do this while reducing my diabetes medication. Unthinkable a couple of months ago and my primary physician was really surprised to see my results. All my liver enzymes / cholesterol numbers are really good. Lost 3 pounds in 8 weeks of switching to 2 Huel meals a day. I have cut back my medication to 1/3rd of what it was.
Honestly, I now feel that regular food is overrated ! On a serious note - this has opened my eyes. Managing Diabetes cannot be a passive exercise of just taking medication and staying physically active - I needed to grab it actively and make whole sales dietary changes.
finally, I feel like I have my life back and will be working towards managing my life without medication.
I am also type 2 diabetic, on metformin but not on a vegan or vegetarian diet. I am sad to say Huel causes my sugar to spike to very high levels, following a Atkins or Paleo diet my sugars are stable. I tried to replace a couple of meals with Huel for the nutritional value and the sheer convenience. The cost per meal savings was just another plus.
So I checked my sugars in the morning (which for me are normally high, I was average 150 - 200, yes I know these are high I am waiting like many Veterans to get into VA to adjust my meds, I exercise and eat low carb, after drinking Huel I checked my sugars an hour later…333…HOLY #############), I thought it was a one time fluke, I have been on Huel for a week now, and every single time with the exception of once my sugars shot above 300. It did not matter if it was just water and Huel or Huel with fruits mixed in with almond milk.
I am at a loss. Reading the forums others are not experiencing this problem, Today I am taking a break from Huel and returning back to low carb for the weekend to see the difference in my sugars, so far today 175 this morning, two hours after breakfast and meds 143. I am thinking Huel with only be able to replace one meal and be used as a pre workout drink, I cannot afford those huge sugar spikes.
Very sorry to hear this. You might have a significant degree of insulin resistance. Even though the glycemic index of Huel is pretty modest, the glycemic load is fairly significant. In your case, it seems to overwhelm your liver and muscle’s ability to process the digesting starches in the oats.
I hope you are able to get your appointment soon so your doc can increase or change your meds. Hopefully not put you on insulin injections, which although help control blood glucose, will ultimately accelerate the insulin resistance.
Indeed, low carb diets are a very effective way to improve insulin sensitivity. Intermittent fasting does very well, too. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity to a moderate extent. And certain drugs like metformin can have a modest impact as well.
Well, interesting findings!! I did go back to low carb for the weekend and my sugars leveled. When I was making my Huel during the week, I was using a vegan based pea protein to add additional protein to the huel, what I did not notice was the additional carbs from this product, I tried Huel again without this protein, and poof, very minimal change in my glucose levels…SO back on the wagon again!!!
that is great…I know struggles involved in keeping the sugars under control and glad that this might work for you.
Also, I am reading a couple of books from Jason fung - The diabetes code and the obesity code - there are a few you tube videos from him as well. Really changed my outlook towards the way I have been looking at Diabetes.
I posted this before I saw your update about adding pea protein to your shakes.
I am also type 2 diabetic trying to control my numbers without meds.
I’m just curious as to how you mix your Huel shakes.
Are you using water, or milk?
Are you adding ANY flavoring of any kind?
I’m just trying to wrap my head around the sugar spike, and possible causes.
Is there anything that you can think of that might be causing the spike(other than the Huel) in your blood glucose level?
I am sure that an answer to this problem could help many people, so I thank you in advance for any other input you can give.
Thank you for this post!! I just received my first order of Huel - Ready to Drink.
I’m 36 and Type 2 as well. I’ve been searching for 3 years for something like this. I’ve been disappointed in everything I’ve tried but I’m really excited that Huel May be the answer after reading everyone’s experiences on this forum.
Aha. Incidentally, both the powdered and RTD versions of Huel have a slightly lower glycemic index than their corresponding Soylent counterparts. I am wondering (and suspect that) an oat-based formulation, like Huel, will work better for a type 2 than a maltodextrin based formula. Maltodextrin is a starch (minus any fiber) and just a component extracted from starchy foods. Whereas the oats in Huel are the entire whole grain, including all the resistant starches and fibers. Also, Huel has whole flaxseeds blended into it.
Berries and apples. Those are a type 2 diabetic’s best friend. I was reading a review article on the various studies of fruit on certain diseases. Whole fruits, despite having some sugar, have very strong results in helping people lose weight and improve insulin resistance. The two main fruits that I kept seeing over and over in these studies were berries and apples (although most fruits are beneficial). If you could find a good way to snack on berries and/or apples that would be a real good option. Many of my afternoon snacks at work are chopped up apple, berries, and I spinkle some raw sunflower seeds on it. Easy to eat with a fork or spoon. That would be an ideal meal for you.
In my early 30’s I had a BMI of 38.5 and my hemoglobin A1c was 8.9% Today my BMI is 20.5 and latest A1c is 4.7. So, I know all-to-well the struggle of diabetes.