Huel is a meal replacement powder that promises a complete range of vitamins and minerals in the form of a balanced, plant-based diet. It comes as a powder that is mixed with water and it offers a healthy balance of carbs, protein, fat and fibre with the addition of digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals.
It’s all you need to live off and it’s a cheap and easy way to stay healthy, or at least that is the case in theory, But what does it taste like, is it any good and is it worth the money? In this Huel review we have asked our resident fitness fanatic, who has been using this product and products like it for over 2 years, to give his thoughts.
Huel Meal Replacement Powder
I just want to get this out there right away: I love Huel. I am a big fan of these drinks in general and for me, this comes the closest to perfection. There are some issues, admittedly, and I will get to those in a bit, but it’s the closest you can get.
I workout a lot and I am also a workaholic, so time is precious and I rarely have the time to sit and eat. Meal replacement drinks have therefore always been a great way for me to get the calories I need. A decade or so ago this was limited to super-sweet products sold by supplement companies that mainly focused on bodybuilders. I then ventured into protein powders like ON Gold Standard, merely adding oats to bulk up the fiber and carbs.
Soylent helped to change that a little for me, but it seemed to be lacking, so when Huel came along I was happy to try it out and delighted that I did.
Huel looks great from the minute it arrives. It uses a clean helvetica design not unlike Apple and the way the bag peels open is one of the many small joys in life. It sounds stupid, but this really is a big thing for me. I can’t tell you how many bags of MRPs and protein powders I have opened that are ragged and inevitably rip or that just don’t seal properly once you get them open. This is the case with the big bags of oats sold by MyProtein. The oats themselves are cheap and good quality, but there is just no way to reseal that bloody bag once you get it open, so you have to leave a 5 kilo bag of oats just sitting open in the hope that your cat or kid (or, let’s be honest, myself) won’t knock it open.
Huel is nicely flavored and is not too overpowering. It’s palatable, let’s say, and it also provides everything you could need. In terms of packaging, speed of delivery, customer support, flavor and ingredient profile, it’s sound. But there are some issues.
Huel Review: Downsides
My main gripe is that there are a lot of lumps. A few days before I ordered my bags of Huel I noticed an announcement on the forum that said they were changing the recipe because customers had complained about clumping and that future bags would not clump. Apparently, all orders sent after that date would be the new recipe. But my order was supposed to be one of those and if that was the new recipe, then they need to go back to the drawing board because it clumped quite badly. Ironically, I had tested the powder a few weeks prior to that and that bag didn’t clump nearly as bad, although it was still an issue.
The only way to get a non-clumping Huel is to blast it in a blender for a few seconds, because shaking just isn’t enough.
Another gripe I have is the iron content. For me, Huel is something I drink once a day, often for breakfast as that’s when I’m rushing the most. As a result, I get a fairly small dose of iron and it’s all good. But if you go on an all-Huel diet as several fans of the product have, then you are getting 280% of your Recommend Daily Intake of iron. That’s a lot, and considering that some people will be taking a multivitamin with this, it puts them in dangerous territory.
Those things aside, it’s a great product and I have become a regular user. That rarely happens and of all the stuff I have reviewed here, it’s only happened a couple of times, with ON Whey, Beyond Greens and matcha tea.
Other Huel Reviews
Generally, Huel has been very well received and there are many favorable reviews out there. Some of the ones they like to focus on and use in their marketing campaign include a quote that Huel is “Ready Brek on Steroids”, referring to an oat based breakfast porridge. This is actually a great and fitting description, just don’t expect it to taste like Ready Brek, because while it is somewhat pleasant, it’s a long way off in terms of flavor and sweetness.
There are a lot of negative comments aimed at Huel on social media and you will see these if you take a look at their Facebook ads. The comments are littered with snide remarks like, “I prefer my food real and not fake” and other such nonsense. We get it, you like food, but contrary to what you might think, Huel is not trying to take that away from you.
These comments actually make us appreciate Huel more because their social media team makes a point of replying to every question and comment, even those bitter and resentful ones. They don’t get angry and they don’t reciprocate, which is what I would feel like doing if I were in their position.
The Best Soylent Alternative?
Huel is not just the best alternative, it’s the best meal replacement full stop. It just seems to be so much better in every area, with the only issue being the amount of iron as discussed above. We have also reviewed the Whole Fuel that you can get from MyProtein. They seem to have copied the Huel formula and have managed to create something that is much cheaper, but just as nutrient dense, at least on the surface.
I actually prefer the taste of Whole Fuel and the price is a huge plus point as well, but the nutrient profile is not quite the same as Huel. They use cheaper ingredients and there is also fluoride in there, which has raised concerns with users of these products. It’s a good alternative if you can’t afford Huel, but in my eyes Soylent would only just make it into third place behind these two products.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. This site has no affiliation with Huel or Whole Fuel (or Soylent for that mater) and I don’t want to end up sounding like the crude and callous Facebook commentators I mentioned above. Soylent started this trend, is still a very good product and deserves a lot of respect because of it. I just happen to prefer Huel.
Huel vs Soylent
It’s actually unlikely that you will need to make this comparison right now because Huel is primarily sold in the UK whereas Soylent is primarily sold in the US. I think it’s possible to ship them either way, but with the added shipping costs, it would make much more sense to just stick to the meal replacement powder made in your country, or closest to it.
If I had to pick, I would opt for Huel, as mentioned above, but that doesn’t make Soylent any less of a quality product. As far as comparisons go, the Soylent range is a little more varied, but also has less protein and is more expensive. They both contain a host of healthy, vegan, plant-based ingredients, but I prefer the Huel profile, as the addition of Canola Oil and the lack of a gluten-free version lowers Soylent in my estimations.
Also, Huel have a version that is guaranteed to past Informed Sports testing, to ensure it is okay for athletes to consume without worrying about drug tests. Soylent has been around a lot longer, but it is less committed to including certain sub groups of consumers than Huel is.
In the battle between Huel vs Soylent, it’s Huel all of the way for me.