Huel / Saturo / Soylent / etc

I was wondering more about the actual product. I doubt it’s positively dangerous, looking at the nutritional information, but are there any reasons it would be a bad idea for toddlers, preteens, teens etc?

Looks like this is the page you need :slight_smile:

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The amount of helpful and carefully researched information Huel provide and make easy to digest is astonishing, and I think is the single most important aspect that sets them apart and ahead of their competitors. Their products might not be the best tasting, but their ethos and wealth of knowledge more than makes up for it.

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This discussion (coupled with some spare time on my hands!) lead me to take a more in depth look at Huel. Actually ended up ordering some! I’m probably coming at this from a different perspective than most so I thought I’d share my thoughts for anyone else curious…

As a full time replacement for all other food I can’t see this is a good idea, indeed even the founder of the company only uses Huel for 10 meals a week. There’s no research on the long term effects of switching to a diet entirely of this kind of food and there’s plenty of nutritionists who have warned it’s probably not a good idea. For one thing, if you were to get all of your calories from this you would be taking in far more than the RDI of a lot of nutrients and there’s some evidence that’s not healthy long term. If you’re trying to massively restrict calories then in the short term maybe it would be suitable.

Now, as a replacement for one/two meals a day as part of a balanced diet or used as a supplement? Hell yeah! I’ll actually be replacing my current protein supplement with Huel Black from this week as gram for gram it is ahead on every relevant metric. It’ll also work out cheaper for me too. As a plant based guy with a muscular build getting the required amount of protein alone is always going to be a real challenge for me so 40g in 400kcal at this price point is excellent.

They also managed to go from me ordering to it arriving in (almost exactly) 24 hours - which is really impressive at the moment.

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Needs to go in the referral wiki @coffeemadman:

Oops!

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Does anyone use this in addition to eating normally?

Most people do. The usual recommendation and most popular approach is to use them for one or two meals a day, usually breakfast and/or lunch.

It always replaced my lunch meal at the office - cheaper and more healthy than meal deals.

I really don’t see the point in such food-replacement products. I take such enjoyment from planning, preparing and eating real foods - not to mention combining them with appropriate beverages - that I find it difficult to believe anyone would want to inject a shake instead. Can someone explain?

I used to work for the International Red Cross in war zones, and we occasionally found ourselves in pretty tough situations - such as the earthquakes in northern Afghanistan in 1998, or the Rwandan refugee camps in 1996. In such situations, when we found it difficult to get food from the locals (or didn’t want to, for fear of depriving them), the gold standard was the French Army MRE (Meal Ready to Eat), and they came in so many different flavours - including coq au vin with gratin, with apple pie for desert. I could imagine someone very busy resorting to eating those now, but just don’t see the appeal of something like Huel.

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I used to love the MRE packs in the British Army. So many different packs, and doing a mix and match with colleagues. I honestly don’t get these replacement/supplement things…

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We used to get sent a whole range - depending on which armies were feeling generous or simply needed to rotate their stock. The French and German ones were the best - in my opinion - with the US ones (and much more basic protein bars also available) less appealing - at least taste wise.

We had a small bottle of hot sauce for the bland ones :joy:

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It’s fantastic for you that you have the time, knowledge, facilities and motivation to plan, prepare and eat three balanced meals a day. A lot of people are missing one of those four and I think that’s where the appeal may be. I probably wouldn’t replace one of my meals with something like this but I can totally understand why it’s appealing to people. That’s not even taking into account the cost for those who would otherwise be buying lunch on a work day. The powdered Huel is less than £1.50 a meal - you can’t even get a coffee in London for that.

(You both have very different recollections of military rations to me. We called them ‘Rat Packs’ for a reason… :joy:)

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Yes, it’s quite a luxury. Money, time and the right state of mind are hard to come by for some.

Remember also that MREs are designed for highly active young men. The same diet is not going to work for someone in their 40s in a sedentary job

Thank you for taking the time to reply. It feels like it’s down not only to time, but also to priorities. I have a friend on twice my salary who focuses all his spare time on producing music - and so has turned to Huel to cover some of his needs. Which does baffle me.

I wouldn’t say each of my meals individually is balanced, but overall, the nutrition they provide me is.

Another factor is I get no enjoyment working out how to make a meal as healthy or nutritious as possible - especially over lunch when I want something quick and easy to make and eat. Hence why I go RTD for lunch.

Some people love cooking a big chicken and sub dividing it into meals to last the week but it’s not something I have ever wanted to do (for example).

I’m not even sure I’d know if anything I have ever eaten is balanced by modern standards. Used to be you threw some meat in there and some veggies and that was it, now there’s all sorts of rules - a look at the back of a bottle of saturo is brain melting (mind you, I grew up with <random tomato sauce based product of the day>+chips, as my childhood predated decent ready meals, so back then we weren’t even trying).

I know that half my calories came from a balanced source, that puts me in a good starting point. The rest I can’t do much about, so I just eat what tastes nice and hope.

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The “Eatwell Guide” is a good starting point for what the UK consider “balanced” - it splits out into food categories rather than pure nutritional facts, which may be more useful: (link)

In terms of actual pure nutritional intake, this table from here is a good starting point, and foods with ‘traffic light’ guides on the front will give you an overall indication if what your eating is low / medium / high in the various macro nutrients.

Energy 8,400kJ/2,000kcal
Total fat less than 70g
Saturates less than 20g
Carbohydrate at least 260g
Total sugars 90g
Protein 50g
Salt less than 6g

And if you look at how Huel, for example, performs, scaled up to 2000kcal, you get this:

Nutrition Per 2000kcal % RI per 2000kcal
Energy 8400kJ / 200kcal 100%
Fat 65g 93%
of which saturates 12g 58%
of which monounsaturates 12g
of which polyunsaturates 39g
Carbohydrate 186g 69%
of which sugars 2.9g 3%
Fibre 36g 120%
Protein 146g 292%
Salt 3.6g 59%

YFood have just released a vegan version of their drink that uses Soy instead of milk like Saturo and Soylent. I’m curious to see how it tastes compared to Saturo.

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