- One container: 17 servings
- Price: $66 per container
- Serving size: 2 scoops (100g)
- Serving suggestion: The general principle is to first add 5 parts water to a blending bottle or blender, then weigh or scoop the amount of Huel that you need. Add some ice if you require, and shake or blend for 10 to 20 seconds. Then simply add a little extra water as you see fit to attain the consistency you require. Huel can be consumed ‘thin’ like water or ‘thick’ like a milkshake.
- Refund policy: 30-day refund or exchange.
Time is the most valuable asset anyone could ever have. And to have more time, people try to cut corners in otherwise time-consuming activities.
One of the most time-consuming activities we all have to live with is eating. Not just the act of eating itself, but the whole “prepare and cook” stages too. This is why there is a growing trend in an instant, or quick, meals in today’s bustling economy.
Home-cooked meals take time and preparing a sandwich may not be as filling, let alone as nutritious as a real meal. Well, what if you could just drink a filling and nutritious meal?
The people at Bodyhack Limited don’t think so. They produced Huel, a meal replacement shake powder designed to provide a nutritiously complete meal in a bottle.
Imagine not having to worry about the time it takes to cook or eat your food. That’s what Huel sets out to do.
Let’s check if Huel is the meal replacer it claims itself to be.
Who Makes It?
Bodyhack Limited has sold over 50 million meals in over 80 countries. They pride themselves in producing nutritionally complete, convenient, and affordable food products without harming animals or the environment.
They say Huel was born from the desire for people to eat healthily, but haven’t the luxury of time to do so.
Marketing Claims Made
Bodyhack Limited has made the following claims about Huel:
- Nutritionally complete: It’s not difficult to get enough vitamins and minerals if you have a proper diet. The body doesn’t need more than a few milligrams and a good number of multivitamins (men’s & women’s) and minerals supplements are available at almost every retail and drug store. The “complete” aspect isn’t hard to prove, but we do have to question how they determined the “ideal” value of each vitamin and mineral. According to their website, they reviewed published studies that basically suggest the current DV is too low or too high for a number of nutrients. The problem with this approach is, each body is unique. Sure, there’s an average range but at the end of the day, individuals require a personal approach to their health.
- Convenient, simple, and saves time: All you have to do is pop open a pouch, pour it in a glass of water, add ice, and blend. That shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.
- Save money: This claim would only work if the consumer doesn’t have the need to eat a real meal shortly after drinking Huel.
What’s in It?
Let’s take a look at what’s inside Huel:
- Oats and flaxseed: Fiber is nature’s gut cleaner, so to speak. On top of helping our bowel movements be easier, fiber has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health (2). Huel says it contains 158% of the daily recommended fiber and it gets them from these two ingredients. The current DV of fiber is at 28 g per day, so a 158% dosage would be at 44.24 g. For context, one cup of cooked broccoli contains only 9% dietary fiber (3).
- Pea Protein and Brown rice protein: These two ingredients were how Huel was able to get the vegan label. The current DV for protein is at 50 g per day, but Huel says it contains 143 g of protein for a whole day. This is equivalent to almost 23 eggs or about six servings of Salisbury steak (3).
- Vitamin and mineral blend: The bulk of the vitamins and minerals are listed at 100% DV for four servings. Only 11 nutrients exceeding the recommended DV, and only 5 have a DV of 200% or more. When it comes to vitamins, in particular, the form matters most for bioavailability. We noticed the forms of vitamins D, B6, and B12 are in their cheapest, least bioavailable forms. For vitamin D, D3 or cholecalciferol is better because it’s the natural form the body produces from sunlight. P-5-P or Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate is the way to go for B6. For B12, methylcobalamin is superior to plain cyanocobalamin (4).
- MCT powder: MCTs are short for medium-chain triglycerides, fatty acids found in coconut oil which can serve as an alternative fuel source for the brain. They’re also the type of fatty acids that aren’t bad for your cardiovascular health. In fact, a recent study showed coconut oil was not only better at reducing LDL and Total Cholesterol but also better at increasing HDL compared to butter and olive oil (5).
- Sunflower oil: Humans require two essential fatty acids: Omega-3 and Omega-6. While most diets get most of these fatty acids from animal sources, Huel sourced them from plants: Sunflower oil for Omega-6 and flaxseed for Omega-3. These fatty acids are necessary to maintain heart and brain health (6).
Huel Supplement Facts Label
Other than getting your daily vitamin and mineral requirements in a glass, the benefits of consuming Huel is mostly reflected in the amount of time you save from preparing, cooking, and eating. Having more time for yourself is the main goal of Huel, and we like to think it justified its claim.
There could be benefits for digestion and intestinal movement if we’re to consider the amount of fiber Huel has per serving.
For those who are trying to manage their weight or caloric intake, knowing exactly how many calories you’re eating is critical. Huel’s nutrition label gives us 500 calories per serving or 2000 calories for four servings – the basis for general nutritional advice.
While we do like the idea of just drinking meal replacers to save time, nothing beats getting nutrients from real food. Therefore we would never recommend a meal replacement powder to be your main source of nutrition.
The human body evolved to get nutrients from sources that we either harvest or hunt. Real foods also have certain enzymes and other compounds you can’t really find in meal replacers like Huel.
If you’re pregnant or with specific dietary needs, it may be best to first consult a health professional or dietitian before trying Huel.
We recommend you speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
How to Take It
Based on what it says on the label, you should first add five parts cold water followed by one part Huel. You have the option to add three ice cubes before blending.
In case you don’t have a blender with you, vigorous shaking for ten seconds is recommended. They do remind consumers that the amount of Huel required is dependent on your personal requirements. You can adjust the ratio of liquid to Huel for the consistency you need.
Huel comes in Chocolate, Vanilla, Berry, and the Unflavored & Unsweetened variety. Chocolate and Vanilla are their best sellers.
Number of Servings
One container provides 17 servings which can last about half a month if you take one serving per day.
Top Alternative to This Product
Huel vs Soylent
The most popular meal replacer that competes with Huel is Soylent, one of the first meal replacers in the industry.
Both Huel and Soylent have similar nutrient content, both can be consumed by vegans, and both can help you save time and perhaps even money. However, Soylent has the upper hand on flexible pricing as well as different sizes.
That makes Soylent more appealing to consumers who might want to try meal replacers first before fully investing on them.
Soylent also offers a serving size per 400 calories, which could be beneficial for those who are extra careful with how much they eat.
We looked at reviews from Huel’s website as well as retail sites like Amazon and found that most consumers are moderate to highly positive about Huel.
They also have an excellent rating at Trustpilot for their customer support (7). When they do have a complaint about shipments, a representative is seen replying to customers within a span of 24 hours.
Some consumers find the smell and taste unlikeable, while others have difficulty in swallowing the product due to coarseness despite vigorous shaking.
Based on our findings, we find Huel as a decent enough product that can definitely find a solid following in the meal replacement industry.
They justified the amount of nutrients they added with sound science, they have a competitive price range, and have more than enough fiber content to keep you feeling full until your next mealtime.
The bulk of the drawbacks come mainly from its physical properties such as taste, miscibility, and smell, traits that can be fixed through quality control and attentive customer service.
Other than that, we don’t really see anything about Huel that would discourage us from recommending it as a supplement to a proper diet. Like we said above, we do not recommend any meal replacer as your main source of nutrition, no matter how convenient it may be.