Huel… the Right Fuel for You?

Huel has exploded in popularity in recent years becoming one of the most well-known meal replacements on the market. But how good is Huel? Is it something we should be using? Or is it yet more snake oil providing little meaningful nutrition to those who put their health on the line. Just more empty promises (and calories).  Throughout this blog, we will examine the Huel formula for any half-truths that their marketing team might be spewing in our quest to help you Live Healthy for Longer. With or without this new HUman fuEL alternative.

Huel... the right fuel for you? blog

Huel whose name derives from (Human + Fuel) is a meal replacement alternative option to whatever you typically consume. Claiming to be a nutritionally complete food, this is a plant-based vegan-friendly meal alternative. So it ticks all the marketing boxes -what’s not to like?  Without delving too far into the weeds, we have already covered veganism and its many pros and cons in another blog. Essentially, this diet can absolutely be healthy but you have to work hard, plan well and supplement otherwise you’ll be missing out on vital nutrients you naturally obtain by eating animal-based products! For example iron: a vital mineral typically found in red meat at around 2.47 mg per 100 g of meat.  Whereas Huel’s “Daily A – Z Vitamins” has only 0.63 mg per 100 g. In essence, you’d need to consume over 1kg of Huel to obtain the same amount of iron as you’d get in a 300g steak! …..and that presumes that the iron contained in Huel is absorbed into the body equally well as the iron found naturally in your favourite steak!

What does Huel promise its customers?

Huel claims to be a “Quick, affordable, nutritionally complete food, with everything your body needs”.  Whilst this can indeed be a quick and convenient food… we are far from convinced that Huel is truly nutritionally complete. In fairness, the process of making a meal from Huel is very quick and straightforward. Your instant meals can be ready within 5 minutes.  Some of their products come in powder form, which is even more straightforward. (As long as you don’t mind the powder taste you could probably make  this meal in a rush on your busier days!)  Additionally, Huel offers instant meals. These are comparable to instant meals from the supermarket, which should speak volumes. Instant meals aren’t designed to be “nutritionally complete” so Huel could certainly offer a healthier alternative than popping into a supermarket for a couple of pots of instant noodles at £1.00 each.

Instant noodles
Huel pot meal

Huel vs other food companies

Huel has many competitors. For example, “Hello Fresh” offers a meal kit that allows customers to prep healthier and planned meals throughout the week. This company provides all the ingredients but still requires customers to do some cooking. Avoiding the need for food-prep does give Huel a unique benefit. But it raises the question of what matters more? Convenience or your health? Let’s face it, for many of us convenience trumps all. We all have busy lives and because of this, we can’t always think about finding the time to cook a healthy meal when something tasty albeit less healthy can be ready in just 5 minutes.

Hello fresh logo

Huel’s clever marketing tactics

Besides what Huel promises its customers, it’s no secret that Huel is simply everywhere! From online advertising with influencers and celebrities to even physical vending machines! We’re not sure whether to be impressed or repulsed by the sheer marketing power behind the brand! Irrespective we can’t escape the Huel marketing machine, so we are driven to take a long hard and scientifically honest look about what the brand’s influencers claim vs what is actually factual.  The influencers are obviously conflicted in as much as more sales of Huel translates into cash-for-influencers. With this in mind its obvious that paid-for influencers will big-up the Huel brand to drive sales.

Recently, The Guardian Newspaper carried a damning article about the price promise behind Huel’s marketing claims. The ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) have demanded the take-down of two of Huels adverts which they said were misleading consumers as the anticipated “savings.”  To be clear, we’re not suggesting Huel is extorting people, but the truth is they aren’t cheap-as-chips either.

Huel product range

What other options are available?

Alternative options that we highly recommend to achieve what Huel promises its customers are: Following pre-planned low-carb recipes. Although it might sound long and drawn out to follow a recipe, we can assure you that most recipes from sites such as Diet Doctor take about 20 minutes to cook. This is far from the eternity some recipes can take. But more importantly, you can obtain the proper nutrition that your body craves. Thus, helping your entire body feel better than ever and improving your mental health too. This also allows you to gauge exactly what is going into your body. Unlike meal replacement companies like Huel, where you will never really know what is going into their products.  All you can know is that they are certainly better than companies like Pot Noodles that don’t even pretend their products as healthy. Lastly, it’s important to note that some people can be deficient in certain nutrients even with a good diet. People in this situation might be spoon-fed the notion that these meal replacements can resolve the deficiency. However, life is rarely that simple! To these people, we suggest eating a real-food diet and supplementing based on proper blood tests such as those we provide working with Dr Michael Bazlinton:


Back to the main point: in fairness, Huel IS an OK option for people who want to become healthier on an occasional basis.  It is, for sure, healthier than your average Pot Noodle and it’s far cheaper AND much healthier than your average takeaway. All of that said, it’s only a first step towards improving your overall health. You can never truly be in control of your health when relying on prepackaged “meals” from a company. Cooking from scratch might seem a bit of a pain but we regard it as one of life’s simple pleasures! Cooking your own meals is the best tried and true way to improve health and longevity.

We accept Huel’s claims to be healthier than a takeaway,  or a  Meal-Deal, but there again that’s a very low bar!  They have jumped on the food-related bandwagons beloved by millennials. For us there remains a simple truth which can be summed up in just three words:  EAT. REAL. FOOD !!

Pot noodle

Book a FREE 15-minute consultation with our founder, Graham Phillips so that we can ensure we give you the best possible advice. There’s no charge for an initial consultation so what do you have to lose?

Huel… the Right Fuel for You?
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