Can You Replace All Meals With Huel?
Can you replace all meals with Huel? It’s a popular question that we get asked by customers a lot, and see being asked frequently online.
'Huel Powder can be the sole source of nutrition if consumed at an amount of at least 2,000kcal per day, although this is not something that has been actively recommended. The results of this trial support the claim that Huel Powder can safely be consumed as a total nutrition source.’
We wanted to do some more digging around this topic.
Read on to discover what we found…
Why Would Anyone Want to Replace All Meals With Huel
Honestly... we don't know! But some people do.
Usually, the people asking this question are always on the go, and trying to follow a strict calorie-controlled diet.
Sometimes it's hard to eat the right amount of food and calories needed for your physique goals. However, replacing a meal with Huel could be a very convenient way to help you lose weight or bulk up.
With no cooking or preparation involved, you can simply grab a ready-to-drink bottle and off you go without having to worry about tracking your calories.
Some people take this to the extreme by replacing all their meals with meal replacements - and it's easy to see why. Glossy magazines promote fad liquid diets, and influencers advertise meal replacement shakes.
Replacing all your meals with Huel is not recommended. Huel should be consumed alongside a balanced diet.
Many people who simply can’t be bothered to cook may also want to replace all meals with Huel, however in the long run this wouldn’t be the recommended route.
Thoughts From Those That Have Replaced All Meals With Huel
As replacing all meals with Huel has been given the green light from the brand themselves, many users have put this theory to the test, documenting their experience along the way.
In Business Insider’s ‘I gave up solid food for a week and lived on meal replacement drink Huel’ article, Rob Price states, ‘You don't have to give up solid completely food to use Huel. Cofounder Julian Hearn says he has Huel "during the day to replace my time pressured meals, e.g. breakfast and lunch. Then sit down to a 'traditional' family meal in the evening. This gives me the best of both worlds." But I didn't want to do things by half.’
‘Here's the thing: I didn't like the taste of Huel. That should be obvious. But it definitely *worked*. So long as I remembered to drink enough, I didn't feel hungry, or tired, or like I was missing anything. I missed real food terribly, but I didn't feel any different to how I did on a normal, solid diet.’
‘When I went climbing that week in the Forest of Dean, I felt great. I had plenty of energy, and managed some pretty tough climbs. It was easy to prepare too — I could definitely see its utility for someone on the move, or in a rush.’
‘And because everyone wonders, even if they're awkward about it: My stomach was fine. Huel actually warns that it can cause gassiness or flatulence, but I didn't experience any ill-effects from my Huel-only diet.’
On MyFood24’s article ‘Trust Me, I'm a Doctor - are Huel shakes as healthy as they claim?’ writer Devon Legge said, ‘Dr Alain Gregoire undertook an experiment, eventually converting his diet to solely Huel shakes for 4 days. Alain continued his normal diet for the first 3 days, then introduced one Huel shake a day for 3 days, followed by two shakes a day for 3 days, before consuming only Huel shakes for the last 4 days.
Over the course of the experiment Alain lost 1.6 Kg in weight. This could be attributed to the fact that on average he consumed 400 calories less each day whilst on the Huel diet. Alain's blood fat levels, which were high when starting the experiment, had come down to a healthy level. This was especially significant after his evening meal.
However, the downside to Huel shakes was the rapid energy expenditure. For the solid food breakfast the number of calories used by Alain's body and his fullness, was sustained for longer than when having Huel. This is because solid food is digested slower by the body, keeping you fuller for longer. Alain also commented that he missed the social aspect around food, eating with friends and family, and the enjoyment of prepping and cooking a meal.’
Can You Replace All Meals with Huel?
While it is possible to replace all meals with Huel, there are advantages and disadvantages to converting to liquid meals.
- Huel products especially Ready-To-Drink require no or little time to prepare and can be enjoyed straight away making it super easy for those on the go
- Nutritionally balanced with a good mix of macros
- Low cost
- Well-balanced diet including all of the nutrients that you need could improve your health
- Easy to count calories if wanting to lose weight
- No cooking involved
- Long shelf life reduces food waste
- All ready-to-drink bottles are made from 51% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable
- Boring and repetitive
- Not tasting or chewing real food
- Hard to stick to over time
- Missing food
- Social situations such as going out for meals with friends or family
- Body not having a range of food types which we need.
On National Library of Medicine’s, ‘A Pilot Pre and Post 4 Week Intervention Evaluating the Effect of a Proprietary, Powdered, Plant Based Food on Micronutrient Status, Dietary Intake, and Markers of Health in a Healthy Adult Population’ journal, completed the below study:
Assessing the effect of solely consuming Huel on micronutrient status, dietary intake and markers of health was achieved through a 4-week intervention of solely Huel powder.
Habitual energy intake was assessed through a one-week lead in period with healthy adult participants (aged 18 or over) logging their food intake, after which only Huel was consumed for 4 weeks.
Although energy intake decreased during the intervention period, the adherence to recommended micronutrient intake, as quantified by the dietary Total Adherence Score, significantly increased which tallies with the preservation or improvement of micronutrient status. This study potentially demonstrates that consuming only Huel for 4 weeks does not negatively affect micronutrient status.
On Reddit’s ‘Can you replace all meals with Huel’ forum, user u/glaciesz said, ‘Not really big on food prep, eating etc it feels like a bit of a chore and I usually forget. I’ve ordered a load of huel because I know it can at least replace 2/3 of meals and it might encourage me to remember mealtimes more, and I like the idea of easily cutting animals out of my diet. Not worried about taste - I’ve done the (non huel) protein shake route before and they were grim but it made it easier to remember that I had to have one soon.
Can you replace all three with it and be relatively healthy? I’ve found conflicting results on google, but if anyone has personal experience with it that would be solid.’
CharlotteHuel replied with, ‘Of course, Huel contains all essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre, phytonutrients, and at least 100% of the Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals.
Most customers only use Huel for 1-2 meals a day and then have a home-cooked meal too.
If you do go 100% be sure to ease yourself in over a few days to let the body adjust.’
What Meals Are Best to Replace with Huel
Breakfast and lunch are better suited for replacement with Huel as they are usually on the go for many adults, often rushing to work with not much time for preparation.
Using Huel at breakfast and lunch could also reduce consumption of snacks during the day and satisfy hunger for a longer period of time.
Can You Lose Weight Replacing One or Two Meals with Huel?
Swapping a more calorie-dense, less filling snack for a Huel meal replacement can help you feel more satisfied for longer, with less calories being consumed overall.
By satisfying your appetite, Huel can also prevent further snacking on ‘empty calories’ that could cause you to enter a calorie surplus.
It depends on the individual, their lifestyle, access to nutritional foods, their eating habits and their goals for using a meal replacement, but with a 400-calorie serving in each meal, Huel is advised to be used for weight loss up to one or two meals a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet.
We’d recommend the rest of your diet should preferably consist of balanced meals that are rich in nutrient-dense whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats.
For more information visit: Using Huel For Weight Loss - Everything You Need To Know
Sample Meal Plan Using Huel
Snack- Piece of fruit
Dinner- Chicken with wholegrain rice and vegetables
Dos and Don'ts of Replacing Meals with Huel
- Use to support your goals
- Use alongside a healthy balanced diet
- Introduce slowly to your diet starting with a couple of days before building up
- Evaluate Huel products and decide which one is best for you
- Keep a Huel ready-to-drink shake in your car, desk or bag, so when you’re rushed for time, you have something to help you feel full
- Keep track of your calories
- Replace all meals consistently with Huel
- Cut meals out and begin with Huel straight away
Why You Probably Shouldn’t Replace ALL Your Meals With Huel
Although advised as safe to use for all meals, Huel is best used as a meal replacement to aid weight loss as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
Using Huel in this way allows you to receive all nutrients from the meal replacement drink as well as those from food groups that are imperative for optimal health.
Huel ready-to-drink is also available in plenty of flavour options including chocolate, banana, vanilla, berry, salted caramel, strawberries and cream, iced coffee caramel and cinnamon swirl.