I first tried Huel about 2 years ago. I’d seen that more and more people were experimenting with meal replacements. The simplicity of an all-in-one shake and the idea of engineering a nutritionally complete food appealed to me.
Bonus: £10 off your first order. Scroll down!
But most of the initial offerings seemed pretty unhealthy. After some research, I came across the Huel website and was impressed. Short for "human fuel", the Huel brand looked professional and clean and the core ingredients seemed much more nutritious: oats, pea protein, flaxseed, brown rice protein, coconut oil, and sunflower oil.
Furthermore, there was a reputable nutritionist behind the recipe. Dieticians who had blindly reviewed the formula also gave it their stamp of approval 🏅
But how does it actually work?
Huel is designed to fulfil all of your macronutrient, vitamin and mineral needs in one handy shake.
- Buy a big 'ol bag of Huel powder
- Scoop some Huel into a shaker. It's about 150 calories per scoop, so you put in as much as you need. Usually 3 scoops for a "meal"
- Add water, or milk, or a plant-based milk replacement. Oat or rice milk work well
- Shake it
- Drink it. Your nutritional needs are met, voila!
My first order came with a T-shirt that I still wear, a branded shaker and two bags of Huel, each providing 28 meals.
When I first tried Huel I thought the taste was a little strange but still enjoyable. I liked the oaty texture. As I drank more of it, the taste definitely grew on me. Adding milk instead of water also made a big difference.
Unfortunately, during my first few shakes, I did notice a little nausea. I don't think this is that surprising when introducing a very different food into your diet, especially when its delivered in liquid form. Either way, it quickly passed and stopped within a week. Most people don't experience any issue at all.
The Huel lightbulb didn't really click at first, but for various reasons, I eventually came back to the lonely looking bags in my cupboard and started drinking them more regularly.
The more I drank them, the more I felt the benefit, and the more I became obsessed with the taste. 2 years on I still look forward to that taste.
At the time when I really started using the shakes, they helped me eat more healthily in the office and provided great refuelling options for when I started to explore the gym. When I look back on my weight loss journey I can see that my initial Huel experiments coincided with some of my most significant weight loss:
Of course, you still need a good old caloric deficit to lose weight—no shake will free you of that requirement—but Huel certainly helped me along the way.
Why try Huel?
I am a big fan of Huel because it has a lot of things going for it at once:
Time saver. In its simplest form, just add water and shake. Done.
Money saver. It's cheap: depending on how much you buy at once, Huel can come in at £1.33 for a 500 calorie meal.
Vegan. Most meal replacements use whey, but Huel opts for pea protein.
Gluten-free option. The standard Huel is not gluten-free, but you can order gluten-free versions.
Environmentally friendly. Huel comes in minimal packaging and lasts for over a year, so in general, it will never spoil. The ingredients are also sustainably sourced.
High protein. Protein helps increase satiety and is a big ally for anyone looking to lose weight. It's probably a big part of why many restrictive diets help people lose weight.
High fibre. Fibre is probably the least sexy thing in the health and fitness world, but it quietly and reliably reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. It will also help to keep you fuller for longer.
Low sugar. A measly 4.6g of sugar per 2000 calories, which is remarkably low and contributes to its...
Low GI. Huel has been officially tested and has a glycaemic index of 27. This is officially "low" and means more stable energy and less in the way of blood sugar swings.
Micronutrient health insurance. As well as the core ingredients, Huel contains a micronutrient blend that ensures all of your vitamin and mineral requirements are met. You don't need to live on Huel, but you can, and some people do!
Simplified weight loss. Using Huel makes calorie counting very easy, and allows you to easily make shakes ahead of time. Simple food preparation and a sustainable caloric deficit are two of the key ingredients for successful weight loss.
Recovery from training. Huel makes for a good recovery shake after a training session. As already mentioned, it contains a high amount of protein for muscle repair, and the carbohydrate content will replenish glycogen stores. I sometimes add a banana for a quicker digesting carbohydrate, but the speedier glycogen replenishment that comes from higher GI foods is only really necessary if you're training again the same day.
Plenty of flavour options. The base powder comes in the following flavours:
- New & Improved Vanilla
- Original Vanilla
- Coffee. With caffeine 👀
As well as those flavours there are 11 additional flavour boosts that you can mix into the above Huel powders. They are sweetened with the plant, Stevia:
- Mint Chocolate
- Pineapple and Coconut
- Rhubarb and Custard
- Matcha Tea (includes Real Matcha Tea)
I find the new & improved Vanilla Huel so good that I rarely dabble with anything else.
Huel is taking over the World
Huel wants to be the "the food of the future." It's a lofty goal, and so far they're doing pretty well.
They have been profitable since day one, and have now sold over 20 million meals, generating £45 million revenue in the 3 years since their launch.
It's always great to see a company making money from the get-go, instead of grasping at venture capital funding before there is a solid product in place.
Huel is growing way beyond the UK and is now available in 55 countries, doing particularly well in the US:
Its launch into the US in mid-2017 has seen this market overtake the UK one already, with $10 million in sales in year one. US monthly sales were reported to be 140% higher in February 2018 ($1.2 million compared with $500,000) than they were in December 2017.
They have also really upped their product development over the last year, releasing new flavours of Huel bars, Huel granola, and the newer Huel powder flavours.
Would you like to install this update?
Personally, I didn't get on with the original Huel granola, but it has been updated since so I'm keen to try it again.
Updates rock. Most foods don't get updates. But Huel is always refining their formula in response to user feedback and new research. This makes me very happy. For example, see the changelog for v2.3 of the Huel Powder.
£10 off your first order
If your interest is piqued, why not get a starter pack? Huel also offer free next day delivery if you order before 4 pm.
Furthermore, as a valued Hueligan, I can offer you £10 off your first order. All you have to do is order through this link.
This will also grant me some money off of my next order. You'd literally be putting food on my table.
After your magical powder arrives here's something you should immediately try:
- 3 scoops of Huel
- Add 300-500ml of milk, depending on how thick you want it
- Shake it
- Leave it in the fridge overnight
- You're welcome
Want more recipe ideas and tips? You need to read 10 Ways to Upgrade Your Huel Game.