The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

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Steve Sokolowski
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The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:06 am

I'm a big fan of nutritionally complete foods, and have recently used Huel as a staple of my diet. I have been getting questions about my use of complete foods recently, so I thought that I would write down my experiences in one article that I can reference from many sites. There are also a lot of discussion threads on various forums from people who are "just starting out" or on "day two," and a few studies of people who have eaten Huel or Soylent for only 30 days. Having used complete foods for six months, I hope to contribute more about the long-term effects of these products. The purpose of this post is to review how complete foods have changed my life, and what new users can expect.


Introduction

In 2017, before cryptocurrency prices were high enough to support full time employees at Prohashing, a colleague at my previous employer spent a few minutes browsing the Soylent site during a lunch break, using a conference room projector after he had concluded a meeting. While I didn't order any at the time, I went back to the same room for a Toastmasters meeting in August 2018 and seeing the same projector triggered my memory. I decided to order some original Soylent.

After trying Soylent for a few weeks for breakfast, I wanted to find something with higher protein content and decided to try Huel instead. Later, I added Soylent back in so that my caloric intake now consists of about 75% Huel, 5% Soylent, and the remainder are favorite dishes like pecan-crusted tilapia, grilled chicken, or pizza. In general, I'll have zero or one meal per day of traditional food. Many days, I eat the traditional meal at lunch so that I can leave the house and have lunch with my employees, and will consume Huel for breakfast and dinner. I've been using this eating habit for about four months, but the proportion of complete foods has grown over that time. My daily intake varies between 2200-2800 calories; given continued weight loss, I will likely increase that (see below).

While I don't share nutritionists' concern that complete foods may be missing important nutrients or consuming a variety of "superfoods" like spinach and blueberries is better than complete foods, I do believe it is possible that a quality control issue in a single batch could cause a vitamin deficiency. Using two different products protects against the manufacturer accidentally forgetting to include a vitamin in one batch.


Medical information

I am a 35 year old Caucasian man, 5' 7.5" in height, in good health, who does not currently suffer from any serious illnesses. I lift weights 4 times per week. In the summer, I swim about 1.5 miles per workout. In May, September, and October, I visit bike trails and ride about 50 miles at a time; during the winter I do high intensity interval cardio twice per week. Once a week or so when it snows, I'll walk through the woods in deep snow to exert myself.

I recognize now that when I was younger, my health was poor. When I completed graduate school, I was underweight at 117lb, had minimal strength, suffered from severe insomnia, encountered anxiety, had suboptimal performance in college due to concentration difficulties, had acid reflux, often encountered gastrointestinal complaints, was constantly dealing with pimples and skin problems, and other more minor issues. Now, I have none of these issues. Some of the improvements have simply been due to advances in technology (lamotrigine, for example, was not approved until 2003), but much of it is due to my philosophy on health.

While some people believe that they should only visit the doctor when they are very sick, my philosophy is to use science to do whatever is possible to feel perfect. That's why I make use of the medical system for more minor complaints than many people do, and why I take more drugs than the average American (who uses 4):
  • Doxycycline (for acne, higher doses in the winter)
  • Fluciticone propionate nasay spray (for allergies, to dust and mold, higher doses in the winter)
  • Desloratidine (also for these allergies, taken only in the winter)
  • Hydrocortisone 2.5% cream (for eczyma, used only in the winter)
  • Lamotrigine (to prevent manic episodes)
  • Divalproex sodium (to prevent manic episodes)
  • Ambien (used occasionally to fall asleep)
  • Dexmethylphedinate (to improve concentration; stopping this)
  • Vitamin D supplement (to get levels above what complete foods provide)
  • EPA supplement (to improve mental health)
  • Creatine monohydrate (to increase muscle mass and to try to reproduce the effects of a study demonstrating improved cognition in patients who have had mental health issues)
I also had taken a One-A-Day multivitamin until December 2018, but stopped it once my complete foods intake had increased enough that it was no longer necessary.

Other than the dexmethyphenidate, which causes enough side effects I plan to stop it, the only side effect that I can attribute to any of the other drugs is vertigo, which sometimes causes me to hit my hands or feet on things and cut myself. This list of drugs and supplements was arrived at after years of trials, and I'm now at the point where I have no symptoms of any kind and haven't contracted a cold in four years. After figuring out the drug and supplement regimen, I then got my exercise right. Unfortunately, diet was the last piece.

Exercise is easy, because all you have to do is show up and do it - running on a treadmill for 45 minutes takes no skill or thought. Diet is hard and takes a lot more time than exercise. There are so many diets, it's not possible to buy healthy foods at most restaurants, many healthy foods have such a poor taste that it takes a long time to eat them, and it takes a lot of time to perform research, buy, and cook foods manually. That's why complete foods are a godsend and why they helped me get the last missing piece in place.


Experiences

Huel significantly improved my quality of life. It is cheaper, faster, and more nutritious than eating traditional food. More importantly, Huel makes me feel much better than other food does. When people offer me desserts and I decline, they often comment to me that I would enjoy eating the dessert and that I don't need to be so strict about living longer. They don't seem to understand that the reason more and more of my diet is consisting of complete foods is because I simply feel better eating them. If I eat a hamburger, I get thirsty, have low energy a few hours later, and have greasy skin. That doesn't happen with Huel.

Soylent is more of a substitute for traditional food. It has a nutritional profile much more similar to the standard American diet. When I used Soylent, I had no positive or negative changes, other than the reduced time and cost of preparing meals.

Here, I'll present a list of possible effects that have changed over the past few months. It is very important that readers understand that the only conclusions that can be drawn from these effects is that no very bad outcomes occurred, and that a sample size greater than one is required to conclude a cause-effect relationship on any particular event.

In describing these effects, I will state the facts and avoid theorizing on the causes because I am not a doctor. One of the reasons why I only use supplements recommended by doctors is that (as is true with all things in life), what will cause you the most problems isn't what the studies you read say, but what you don't know you don't know. Therefore, I'll state all of the changes, even those that may seem far-fetched to be related to complete foods, because omitting something could also inadvertently draw a conclusion.

Reduction in weight and body fat

Between the time I started using Huel for a good proportion of my meals and today, my body fat fell from 18.6% to 13.4%. One of my goals was to reduce my body fat to 12%, and I've almost achieved that after four months. I had never been able to reduce my body fat so dramatically before I drank Huel.

During the same time, my weight declined from 153.0 to 137.6 pounds. Given that my starting BMI was 24.5, I was not overweight. The weight loss was unintentional, and it is somewhat concerning. Some of the weight loss can be explained by the lack of hunger caused by Huel. It is very difficult to drink enough calories because Huel satiates hunger for me more than traditional foods do.

The part that causes concern is that my weight declines on Huel even if I carefully scoop an exact number of calories of Huel one day and I compare it to eating exactly the same number of calories of normal food another day. To avoid the unhealthy range, I plan to stop Huel if my BMI falls below 19, since I can't fully explain what is causing the weight loss. I hope to be able to come to an answer before that happens.

I imagine that people are overweight would do well on complete foods. One friend lost 35 pounds simply by switching to Soylent for two meals per day, even though she did not exercise.

Energy level

Huel had two positive effects on energy. First, it significantly reduced my energy level, to the point where I can think much more clearly and the low-level manic symptoms that didn't respond to the drug regimen were eliminated. Second, Huel eliminated the afternoon crashes I previously had, where I would tend to fall asleep at 3:30 or 4:00pm - or whenever it was two hours after lunch. Now, I have as much energy at 3:30pm as I do at any other time of the day, and am able to get more accomplished during that time.

While Soylent had few negative effects initially, changing my breakfasts from cheerios and orange juice to Huel initially resulted in extremely low energy, difficulty thinking, dizziness and a feeling like I was going to vomit. This issue resolved with continued use of Huel after two weeks.

Insomnia

On days when I drink 2500 calories of Huel and nothing else, or if I eat a small lunch and drink Huel late in the evening, I have a greater probability of insomnia than on days when I drink less Huel or drink it earlier in the day. On average, it usually takes me about 45 minutes to fall asleep; on these nights, it generally takes about two or three hours.

Growling stomach

Every multivitamin I've ever tried caused a growling stomach and a period of acid reflux, starting at hour 4 after breakfast and ending when I would eat lunch at hour 6. Since I don't need to take a multivitamin anymore, this side effect has been eliminated.

Concentration

My ability to concentrate on average diminished as Fall went on, and has rebounded slightly as February began. During the periods of poor concentration, I still get the same amount of work done, it feels like it takes more willpower to do it, and I feel more exhausted. Overall, the concentration seems tied to energy level. Both are far more even, and both are at a lower level than before I started complete foods.

Bowel effects

Some of the most dramatic effects over the past six months have been on bowel movements. For the 20 years prior to drinking Huel, I was plagued with diarrhea, which would occur every few days. I tried and failed to figure out what could be causing the problem, but never came up with anything definitive. It seemed to occur more often on Mondays than on other days of the week, and seemed to occur more often on days after I ate pizza, but those were the only two associations I was able to make. Fortunately, even when the problem did occur, it did not have a huge impact on any activities.

With Soylent, there was no change in bowel habits.

With Huel, the diarrhea seemed to increase in frequency to every day over the first two weeks. Then, it reduced to the level it was at before for the following ten days. After three months, for the first time I can recall, I no longer had episodes of loose stools. This effect has continued until the present day.

Strangely, the amount of waste produced has increased by a factor of three (!) over what was produced before. That doesn't mean that I have to use the restroom more often, but it seems that more comes out. In fact, it seems implausible that so much waste could be generated given the comparatively low amount of powder being consumed. But despite getting rid of so much each time, I actually use the bathroom less frequently than I did before.

Blood pressure reduction

My blood pressure fell dramatically. Last summer, readings usually averaged around 132/85 with pulse of 70. Before writing this article, while drinking Huel with the same drug regimen, I achieved a reading of 124/76 with a pulse of 62. On a day while I was drinking Huel and on which I was experimenting with not taking the dexmethylphedinate, I achieved a reading of 115/66 with a pulse of 53.

Blood tests

When this article was originally published, I promised to add blood results on April 8, 2019. These results are displayed in the image below. In the three months before the blood tests, I had eaten about 75% Huel. During the two days before the tests, I purposely ate nothing but Huel, and then fasted for the last 12 hours.

I believe that the doctor had it exactly right when he stated that the test had found "no clinically significant abnormalities." Given how many people online drink complete foods for a year and then show how their tests had miraculously changed, I had expected Huel to change the results of these blood tests significantly. Instead, everything is almost the same as it was in the 2014 tests. The lipid tests, in fact, were almost the same as the 2008 values. It seems that Huel has had a pretty much neutral effect.

Image

Hair loss

Since starting Huel, my hair appears to have fallen out in the front of my head. Whereas I previously had a straight line of hair stretching across my forehead, it now has a "V" shape with the middle at the same level as it was previously and two spots of scalp on both sides higher up. The image in my profile picture was taken last year, and now the hair to the left and right at the center of the forehead starts slightly farther back.

Strength gains

My strength increased significantly. My bench press increased from 115 pounds to 170 pounds (at 8 reps). When combined with my decrease in body weight, my percentage of body weight pressed increased from 75% to 123%.

Less thirst

I am significantly less thirsty than I was before starting complete foods. Previously, even after drinking a lot of water, I would still get thirsty quickly. Now, I rarely develop thirst, except after workouts. My amount of urine has remained the same.

Reduced tooth stains

Throughout most of my life, when I have visited the dentist, (s)he has noticed significant tooth staining and yellowing. At one point, I was advised to brush my teeth three times per day and to have cleanings performed three times per year. During the first visit to the dentist after I started significantly consuming Huel, there was almost zero staining and significantly less plaque.

Elimination of cramps

After about four months of using complete foods, I thought back in time and realized that at some point I no longer was having muscle cramps. Cramps would often occur in the middle of the night when I would move right after waking up, after swimming during those two or three days when the outdoor temperature got above 90 degrees, or after clenching my foot. I haven't had any cramps during the past three months, for any reason.

Less greasy skin

My skin seems to be less oily than it was before starting Huel. Oil would be particularly prevalent after eating foods like pizza or chick-fil-a sandwiches. With Huel, I can wipe my forehead with a paper towel at any time of day and the towel will not have any residue on it.

Stomach pain

Stomach pain occurs when I use Huel without taking Beano enzymes first. It lasts for a few hours and can be severe; however, taking the enzymes fully resolves the issue. I still encounter stomach pain after drinking carbonated sodas or eating more traditional American foods, and the more Huel I drink, the less the pain occurs. When pain does occur due to eating traditional foods, it happens in the late evening and is completely absent the rest of the day.

It should be noted that there was some stomach pain during the initial few weeks. But even without the Beano, there has been a significant improvement.

Shaking

A few times after drinking Huel, I developed a strange uncontrollable shaking. It's happened four times I can recall - once during a power outage and thrice while I was getting out of the shower. In each case, I had consumed a bottle of Huel a few minutes before. I decided that I would visit a doctor if it continued, but each time the shaking resolved 15-30 minutes later. The issue is so rare and resolves so quickly that if I did visit a doctor, he would likely not be able to reproduce the issue and it would remain a mystery.


How to prepare Huel

A day before drinking Huel, place the entire bag of powder in the refrigerator and return it to the refrigerator after mixing each batch.

The best way to prepare Huel is to use a refrigerator with an ice and cold water dispenser. Fill up one of the shaker bottles with six ice cubes, then use the cold water dispenser to fill up the bottle halfway. Overfill one of the old 166-calorie scoops and hit it against the side of the bag to cause the powder to settle into the air pocket that tends to form on the bottom of the scoop opposite the direction of motion. Add three of these scoops to the shaker bottle.

Insert the screen. Place the lid on the bottle and rotate it in the reverse direction until it clicks down, to make sure that the tightening will start from the lowest position. Then, rotate it in the correct direction to tighten the lid. Place the cap on the bottle, and shake it for ten seconds. Remove the lid and screen to prevent the water from the fridge nozzle from splashing, and fill the bottle to about 1/4 inch from the top. Place the screen back in the bottle - if filled correctly, the screen will not be completely submerged. Repeat the process of placing the lid on the bottle, and shake again for another 10 or 20 seconds.

Open the cap and, using a paper towel, absorb the product that collected in the depressed cap so that it does not drip when the bottle is tilted back to drink. Place the bottle with the cap open in the refrigerator, so that air bubbles from the shaking leave the solution and reduce stomach pain. After five minutes, remove the bottle from the refrigerator, take a Beano capsule to eliminate possible stomach pain immediately before drinking the first swig, and enjoy.

After drinking the Huel, place the empty bottle back in the refrigerator. Since Huel is rated to last 24 hours while refrigerated, that implies that keeping the residue on the sides of the bottle cold will not cause harm. I use the same bottle for one full day and then put it in the dishwasher at the end, significantly reducing the number of bottles and effort required to prepare Huel.


Preventing flatulence

Some people who use complete foods complain of flatulence. The issue can be completely eliminated by three steps. First, after shaking the bottle of whatever you're about to drink, allow it to sit in the fridge for five minutes, so that the air bubbles are removed from the solution. Second, take Beano, an enzyme that breaks down sugars before they reach the digestive tract, with the first bite of food. Third, Devrom can be used to eliminate the smell, especially for people in the early stages who are changing from a dramatically different diet. An alternate form of the active ingredient in Devrom is Pepto-Bismol. I have not used Devrom, so I cannot speak from personal experience. Even if the reports about bismuth poisoning from the 70s were caused by overuse of these products, I would feel comfortable using them during car trips or times when I was near people, and then not using them when I was at home alone.


"Cold turkey" vs. partial diet

Reading online forums, it appears to me that a lot of complete foods consumers, of all brands, use the foods for only part of their diet. These people frequently complain of side effects.

Recently, there have been days when I've started to drink nothing but Huel, and I noticed an interesting effect. When I have consumed nothing but Huel for two days straight, I tend to feel significantly better on the second day than on days when I mix Huel with other foods. In particular, I rarely notice gastrointestinal issues after taht first day. Instead, gastrointestinal issues (which are already significantly reduced from before I started drinking complete foods) tend to occur when I drink Huel again after having a few traditional meals. The correlation seems strongest on days when I return to Huel after eating foods like pizza, and weakest after returning from eating foods like chicken or tilapia. After a bout of stomach pain and diahrrea, I feel better than ever until I return to normal foods again.

Not being a doctor, I can't theorize as to why that would be, but those who complain of gastrointestinal symptoms in particular might be well-served by changing their diets to 100% complete foods or by not eating complete foods at all. In my experience, it may be that combining the two leads to the greatest problems for people.


No cravings for traditional foods

Some people on the Internet have claimed that they feel cravings for traditional foods after having complete foods for a while. There are a number of Soylent articles where people tried a Soylent-only diet for 7 or 30 or a specific number of days and talk about how they craved solid food.

I have not experienced this effect. There is no greater or lesser craving for food when drinking Huel. I still would love to eat chocolate brownies and fries for every meal; I just have never done it, either before or during Huel, because of the consequences of that kind of diet. I suspect that if people were asked to try a Mediterranean diet for 30 days, there would still be the same number of complaints about how limiting the diet is and how the people craved other foods.


Changes in the latest version

The latest version of Huel (1.1) has significant changes over the previous version (1.0). It appears that the reason the changes are so significant is because the American formulation skipped several versions that were sold elsewhere in the world.

The nutritional profile, on average, of this version appears to be superior to the previous version. That said, there are several steps back that are worrying to me. I hope that isn't a sign of things to come like many software updates, where the vendor is constantly changing graphics and ends up making the system worse than it was in the first version.

First, the serving size was reduced from 500 calories to 400 calories. That's a minor annoyance, because it's powder and because I can still use the old scoops just fine and carry on as before. For new users, however, it seems odd to me that the company would distribute a shaker bottle that is too large for the amount of product, and expect users to measure 4/5 of the bottle. I also would never eat 400 calorie servings because part of the allure of Huel is being able to consume food in less time. Drinking 7 full or partial bottles spaced 2.5 hours apart is a lot more time-consuming than drinking five 500-calorie bottles spaced four hours apart.

Second, the company used the serving size reduction as an excuse to lower the number of calories per bag from 7000 to 6800. Their nutritionist, James Collier wrote a post trying to explain this away as a minor change to round to a whole number, which is dishonest. They should admit that they slightly increased the price. The price increase is insignifcant, but the lack of honesty is significant.

Third, they reduced the amount of MCT oil in Huel. I'm curious why they did that and have not been able to find an explanation.

The greatest change, though, is in the taste. Huel has a lot of oats, so it's not unreasonable for it to taste like oatmeal. In the latest version, they added a small amount of maltodextrin, a compound that causes liquids to become creamier. That, along with more finely milling the flaxseed and some other changes, likely caused the new formula to taste smoother, like a milkshake. I don't see why something that has a lot of oats should be made to taste like oat-flavored milkshakes instead of oatmeal, which in the South is often served in the form of grits. My mother, in particular, is very dissatisfied with the change.

They stated themselves that the size of the flaxseed milling has no effect on the nutritional value of the drink, so why make a negative change? While I don't enjoy drinking Huel as much anymore (it seems slimy now), I still consume it because it has a lot of other benefits. "Smooth" Huel is a negative because of the association between drinks (which are traditionally less filling) and smoothness. The more solid something is, the more filling it seems.

Soylent handled the issue of change well. Their "original" formula has some ingredients, like oat fiber, retained despite the "flavored" formulas having corn fiber to "improve texture", so that customers who started drinking Soylent during its early days weren't turned away. Huel would do well to mimic this model. They should retain a single "original" formula where the nutritional improvements are added but the texture and flavor is retained as close to the original as possible. That way, they aren't alienating their core customers. If the texture of Huel is changed to be even more smooth, then I can see myself changing to a "DIY Huel" formula where I copy the ingredients from the Huel website for the previous formula and mix them up in a large batch myself instead.


Ready-to-drink

Huel recently released a "ready to drink" version of their product. After sampling some myself, I determined that it is inferior to the powder in every way, and cancelled delivery of the next batch. It has less fiber than the powder, making it impossible to achieve the 38g that is recommended for a man in his 30s. It uses maltodextrin instead of 100% oats for carbs, losing some of the natural benefits that studies have shown are available in oats. The bottles are 400 calories and last only 12 hours after opening, making it difficult to drink 500 or 600 calorie meals because there's always a leftover partial bottle that will spoil overnight. Most importantly, the protein content is not high enough to achieve the 0.75 to 1.2g/lb that is recommended for maintaining and gaining lean body mass.

Finally, the taste of the liquid is awful. It's even smoother than the finely milled flaxseed in the powder Huel, which is negative but I could deal with if that were the only problem. The more significant taste problem is that it is extremely sweet, and this sweet and smooth combination is difficult to stomach.

I gave the ready to drink bottles that I didn't want to three people. One who was a fan of the powder Huel like me fully agreed with this assessment. She saw no advantages of the liquid and continued with the powder. The two who did not like the powder continued drinking Soylent. They could stomach the taste of liquid Huel, but they felt that Huel would have to improve the protein and fiber content of the liquid to be more like the powder to justify what they believed was an inferior taste to Soylent.

The agreement among these four, at least, seemed to be that Huel has a great product in its powder (even if they didn't enjoy it themselves), but the ready to drink version doesn't have any specific market. It's not focused on nutrition like the powder, or focused on price like Soylent, or has as good a taste of either Soylent or the Huel powder (which of the two was superior was split 2-2), so there is no specific consumer who would really benefit from the Huel drink.


Pricing

Huel is significantly undervaluing its product. As the owner of a company with tens of thousands of customers, I've learned that it's much easier to make money by producing a high quality product with great margins than it is to try to race to the bottom on price with high volume. Even though it's possible that Prohashing may have fewer customers than it would otherwise, charging a fee on the higher end of the range allows us to hire people to add and test new features at a rapid pace. We can provide better customer support per person because there are fewer people to submit tickets, and having fewer customers willing to pay a higher price allows us to redirect administrative expenses from things like mailing 1099-MISC forms to more low-earning customers to producing those new features.

That said, even if Huel wanted to try to capture the cheap volume market, they have a product that's too good for it. I ordered ten bags of powder for $26 each, but I would be willing to pay $100 per bag. That would be equal to spending $10,000 per year in food, while the average household spends $7,203. Why would I not be willing to spend 30% more than the average household for something that is far better nutritionally, takes hours less to prepare, tastes better than items of equivalent nutrition, and (if it were a big concern of mine) doesn't hurt animals?

If they accepted cryptocurrency, I would even be willing to pay an additional 5% premium on that increased price, too. I've repeatedly recommended to them that they accept cryptocurrency. For those of us who cannot obtain bank accounts, and who lose a lot of money in all the fees associated with exchanging coins to dollars, acceptance of cryptocurrencies would be a great step forward. However, due to Bitpay's requirement that money be moved to their wallets first before payment, I would not pay in cryptocurrency if they processed payments using Bitpay because the transaction fees, time, and custodial issues for large amounts of money using their wallet are prohibitive.


Use in weight loss

Huel and Soylent do not advertise themselves for use in weight loss. However, everyone I know who tries these products tends to lose weight. I discussed my unintended weight loss earlier. One person lost 35 pounds by replacing two meals a day with Soylent, and another lost five after just a few weeks of Huel breakfasts. Neither reported hunger. Both had gained the weight over many years and were encountering dramatic weight loss for the first time ever.

There is a study that shows that overweight people who replace traditional food with complete foods end up losing more weight than people who are told to count calories and change their diets - and that study was performed long ago, when the only drinks available were similar to the inferior high-sugar Ensure shakes that probably don't even qualify as a complete food using today's metrics.


The future of complete foods

There is a bandwagon effect that exists around complete foods. Even though I started out with this field just a few months ago, no fewer than seven people I talked to are now consuming Soylent or Huel.

The initial reaction to discussing complete foods is often criticism. For an unknown reason, I've found that people tend to view those who take the time to improve their health surprisingly negatively. Wearing sunscreen to a concert, for example, once resulted in my being criticized by my companions, who then ended up sunburned the next day while I was fine. When I stated that I spend 30-45 minutes per day working out, people criticized it as a waste of time, and yet they complain constantly about their weight while I lost 30% of my body fat.

With complete foods, the reaction is often similar. People actually say things like "it's weird" that someone would switch to such a diet. They will even state that they would never try it. One of these seven people said that the favorite hobby in his entire life was cooking. But when you give them some powder or a bottle, you talk to them a month later and find that they are now eating one meal a day and drinking the other two, and that they love the ability to keep working through lunch.

Complete foods are like virtual reality that has actual content. A lot of people laugh at commercials showing people moving around with headsets. When people are given VR headsets that actually have good content produced for them, like live sports or triple A games that aren't just rehashes of old games, they are astounded. The same is true with complete foods - they laugh at people and then suddenly they are buying in bulk themselves. They never apologize or admit fault, however.

This sort of behavior convinced me that complete foods is going to be an enormous growth industry over the next decade. Even with today's products, once people try complete foods, they get hooked. If I didn't believe that cryptocurrency had better growth potential, I would buy stock in a Huel or Soylent IPO. If the next bubble in cryptocurrency takes more than two years to arrive, complete foods might be an attractive "pivot" opportunity for us as well.

In the 2010s, the trend was away from home food preparation to remote prep or delivery by the numerous places popping up like DoorDash. I think that's just an step on the way to the next decade, where there will be so many brands of complete foods and improvements in chemistry that people who don't use them now due to what they perceive as poor taste will be satisfied. People are not thinking outside the box. There's no reason to believe that improvements in complete food taste will somehow stop at being equal to the taste of other foods. While I already believe that Huel is superior in taste to foods of equivalent nutrition, I expect that the taste of complete foods will be superior to every traditional food, even junk food, within a few years.

The traditional home meal and takeout lunch will soon be replaced by complete foods, which will in a few years be so cheap and tasty that cooking no longer retains any advantage except as a restaurant experience.


Conclusion

In conclusion, Huel is the best product I have ever purchased. That position was previously held by the iRobot Roomba, which surprisingly does a better job than the traditional method (human cleaning.) Like the Roomba, Huel provides nutrition better than it is possible to obtain using the traditional method (eating food.) One cannot obtain the amount of protein in Huel without drinking six large protein shakes, or the amount of fiber without eating 10 or 15 servings of vegetables per day, or the amount of omega-3s without replacing every item in the diet with fish. In other words, you could get a few of these things, but not all the others, without getting fat. The product is so valuable to me that I would pay four times as much as they are charging, and if they change or stop producing the powder, I would buy the ingredients and mix it for me, my friends, and my family myself.

Huel tastes better than foods of equivalent nutrition, takes less time to prepare, and costs less than a normal meal, and far less than all the foods necessary to get the same nutritional value. Huel also beats other complete foods, even though those complete foods are themselves superior to traditional eating. Despite costing less, Huel has superior vitamin forms to Soylent and its macronutrient ratio and sources are better. However, Huel's ready-to-drink formula does not have advantages over its competitors and powdered Huel is better in every respect.

Changing my diet to include a substantial amount of complete foods has likely significantly improved the remaining health complaints I had. There appears to be some correlation between objective metrics, as well. Blood pressure significantly declined, my body fat is the lowest it has ever been, and my strength is the highest it ever has been. Huel appears to have its greatest effects and least number of side effects when used for 100% of calories, rather than replacing one meal.

If you are looking for substitute for the standard American diet, try Soylent. If you're looking for optimal nutrition, try the Huel powder. There are also several brands that essentially crunch up lots of vegetable "superfoods" if you believe that is better for you and are willing to pay a lot more.

Finally, the current stage of complete foods' development is only a stopping point. Soon, these foods will taste better than all other foods, including junk foods, and there will be little incentive for most people to eat anything else.

Hopefully, this post has summarized my thoughts on complete foods. If you haven't had the opportunity to try one yourself, you should. They will change your life.

This post was updated on August 14, 2019, and the update is available at viewtopic.php?f=21&t=6532.
Last edited by Steve Sokolowski on Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:50 am, edited 6 times in total.
olkah
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel and complete foods

Post by olkah » Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:53 am

The best treatment is to prepare a soft warm bed to eat + 150 grams of vodka to melt a strictly Russian bath a good time soared to drink vodka and eat to get into bed cooked in advance and sleep through colds and flu of everyone like it didn’t happen 1 time and healthy. And do not need an expensive doctor and damn chemistry (tablets).

Самое лучшее лечение это приготовить мягкую тёплую постель покушать+ 150 граммов водки растопить строго русскую баню хорошенько па парится выпить водки и поесть залезть в постель приготовленную заранее и проспаться простуды и гриппа любого как не бывало 1 раз и здоров. И не нужен дорогой доктор и чертова химия (таблетки).
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by CSZiggy » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:26 pm

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Soylent Green is made out of people!
usegao
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by usegao » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:39 am

On the new formula, there used to be 7000 calories per bag, and there still is 7000 calories per bag. I believe you are multiplying the serving size by the calories per serving, but there is an additional half serving in every bag, they simply are not allowed to put partial servings on the bag. Its caused a lot of confusion and anger, and probably wasn't the smartest play, but there is no price increase. The bag weighs less because the new formula is more calorically dense. The new formula also contains the highly bioavailable Vitamin D3 in addition to Vitamin D2, so I actually stopped taking a Vitamin D supplement.

There is some small (0.2%) amount of maltodextrin in the new formula, which will undoubtedly be resolved in the next version, but the good news is that that's way better than Soylent's maltodextrin level, something like 33%? Can't seem to find an exact figure as Soylent is pretty secretive about their ingredients, but its high. Around a third.

I tried the Vanilla RTD, and agree with you. Its gross. Not as good as the powder. The new chocolate powder is also gross in my opinion. I haven't actually tried the new Vanilla, so I'll take your word on that being worse, but the new Berry is really good. It was my new favorite, so I gave the Berry RTD a try, and I really like it. Its all I consume these days. I don't like the tapioca or the low protein, but its easy to open, and I am nothing if not a sloth.
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Steve Sokolowski
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:20 am

usegao wrote:On the new formula, there used to be 7000 calories per bag, and there still is 7000 calories per bag. I believe you are multiplying the serving size by the calories per serving, but there is an additional half serving in every bag, they simply are not allowed to put partial servings on the bag. Its caused a lot of confusion and anger, and probably wasn't the smartest play, but there is no price increase. The bag weighs less because the new formula is more calorically dense. The new formula also contains the highly bioavailable Vitamin D3 in addition to Vitamin D2, so I actually stopped taking a Vitamin D supplement.

There is some small (0.2%) amount of maltodextrin in the new formula, which will undoubtedly be resolved in the next version, but the good news is that that's way better than Soylent's maltodextrin level, something like 33%? Can't seem to find an exact figure as Soylent is pretty secretive about their ingredients, but its high. Around a third.

I tried the Vanilla RTD, and agree with you. Its gross. Not as good as the powder. The new chocolate powder is also gross in my opinion. I haven't actually tried the new Vanilla, so I'll take your word on that being worse, but the new Berry is really good. It was my new favorite, so I gave the Berry RTD a try, and I really like it. Its all I consume these days. I don't like the tapioca or the low protein, but its easy to open, and I am nothing if not a sloth.
The new bag is more calorically dense? You're sure about that? I've been using the new Huel bags for two weeks now with the old 500-calorie scoops, consuming the same amount as before, and my weight hasn't stopped falling. How much more dense are the new bags?

I don't think the low amount of maltodextrin affects all that much. The most likely cause of that is that they probably mix the vitamins separately, and if they didn't have something to add bulk to the vitamin mix, the amount of vitamin mix would be too small to measure reliably. Maltodextrin is also found in multivitamins and artificial sweetener packets, because the sweetener is so strong that you wouldn't even be able to see it unless it's diliuted 100:1 with the maltodextrin.

The low protein in Soylent and the Huel shakes is the most puzzling thing to me. Why would they do that? Is protein more expensive than fat? Do they not agree with the weightlifting studies?
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by usegao » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:05 pm

Steve Sokolowski wrote:The new bag is more calorically dense? You're sure about that? I've been using the new Huel bags for two weeks now with the old 500-calorie scoops, consuming the same amount as before, and my weight hasn't stopped falling. How much more dense are the new bags?

I don't think the low amount of maltodextrin affects all that much. The most likely cause of that is that they probably mix the vitamins separately, and if they didn't have something to add bulk to the vitamin mix, the amount of vitamin mix would be too small to measure reliably. Maltodextrin is also found in multivitamins and artificial sweetener packets, because the sweetener is so strong that you wouldn't even be able to see it unless it's diliuted 100:1 with the maltodextrin.

The low protein in Soylent and the Huel shakes is the most puzzling thing to me. Why would they do that? Is protein more expensive than fat? Do they not agree with the weightlifting studies?
James Collier has stated that there are still 7000 calories per bag.
https://discourse.huel.com/t/huel-now-w ... 5?u=omikes
Whether it is true or not, technically I can't say for sure, but they have been pretty transparent about which ingredients they included and why so far, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt for now. I can't really explain your continued weight loss, although I have been eating mostly Huel for ten months now and my weight hasn't stopped dropping either, using either formula.

I think, as you implied in your guide, that there are probably times we would have eaten but simply didn't due to the fact that we are already getting everything we need, and most spontaneous meals are probably just cravings for some vitamin or nutrient that we are deficient in. Measuring out the same amount of calories of other foods and comparing them to Huel could imply that Huel has less calories than they claim, or the other food has more calories than it claims, or the macro ratio/low sodium content of Huel is simply less conducive to water retention compared to the other food, etc. It sounds like you might have had some weight building up in your intestines for a while before you started having Huel, so that could be a factor as well.

With regards to the protein content of the RTD, I have no idea. I find it really annoying in fact, especially since James Collier himself is a bodybuilder, and undoubtedly knows better. My best guess is that the RTD is just a gateway Huel, designed to convert a few curious Soylent users while also making Huel more accessible to people who are not quite curious enough to buy a bag of powdered food. I've been having RTD out of sheer laziness, which hasn't been an issue due to my sedentary job and lifestyle, but I plan to start going to the gym after I've lost a few more pounds and when I do I will be going back to the powder, aside from maybe my work lunch, as I don't really like explaining what Huel is to people only to have them voice their concerns about how unhealthy it must be.

Edit: With regards to the maltodextrin, it appears you are right on the money. https://discuss.huel.com/t/maltodextrin ... ts/11676/9
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Steve Sokolowski
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:52 pm

usegao wrote:
Steve Sokolowski wrote:The new bag is more calorically dense? You're sure about that? I've been using the new Huel bags for two weeks now with the old 500-calorie scoops, consuming the same amount as before, and my weight hasn't stopped falling. How much more dense are the new bags?

I don't think the low amount of maltodextrin affects all that much. The most likely cause of that is that they probably mix the vitamins separately, and if they didn't have something to add bulk to the vitamin mix, the amount of vitamin mix would be too small to measure reliably. Maltodextrin is also found in multivitamins and artificial sweetener packets, because the sweetener is so strong that you wouldn't even be able to see it unless it's diliuted 100:1 with the maltodextrin.

The low protein in Soylent and the Huel shakes is the most puzzling thing to me. Why would they do that? Is protein more expensive than fat? Do they not agree with the weightlifting studies?
James Collier has stated that there are still 7000 calories per bag.
https://discourse.huel.com/t/huel-now-w ... 5?u=omikes
Whether it is true or not, technically I can't say for sure, but they have been pretty transparent about which ingredients they included and why so far, so I am giving them the benefit of the doubt for now. I can't really explain your continued weight loss, although I have been eating mostly Huel for ten months now and my weight hasn't stopped dropping either, using either formula.

I think, as you implied in your guide, that there are probably times we would have eaten but simply didn't due to the fact that we are already getting everything we need, and most spontaneous meals are probably just cravings for some vitamin or nutrient that we are deficient in. Measuring out the same amount of calories of other foods and comparing them to Huel could imply that Huel has less calories than they claim, or the other food has more calories than it claims, or the macro ratio/low sodium content of Huel is simply less conducive to water retention compared to the other food, etc. It sounds like you might have had some weight building up in your intestines for a while before you started having Huel, so that could be a factor as well.

With regards to the protein content of the RTD, I have no idea. I find it really annoying in fact, especially since James Collier himself is a bodybuilder, and undoubtedly knows better. My best guess is that the RTD is just a gateway Huel, designed to convert a few curious Soylent users while also making Huel more accessible to people who are not quite curious enough to buy a bag of powdered food. I've been having RTD out of sheer laziness, which hasn't been an issue due to my sedentary job and lifestyle, but I plan to start going to the gym after I've lost a few more pounds and when I do I will be going back to the powder, aside from maybe my work lunch, as I don't really like explaining what Huel is to people only to have them voice their concerns about how unhealthy it must be.

Edit: With regards to the maltodextrin, it appears you are right on the money. https://discuss.huel.com/t/maltodextrin ... ts/11676/9
I actually submitted a support ticket to Huel and asked them if the company would like to make any comments before I publicize this post, so perhaps someone will see what we're talking about and comment on it.

I wonder if the reason for the lack of protein is because fats taste better than protein, and they want to get people to like the taste. Think about protein shakes - they often add carbs or fat to them because whey protein by itself doesn't taste good. Maybe they think that there would be fewer customers willing to stomach the protein taste.

I make more money than most, but I still find it hard to believe you would pay $2 more mostly for ease of use, as you said. That's $2800 per year spent to avoid shaking powder. Do most people really think that way? If so, we should be spending our time streamlining our site to save a few seconds here and there instead of trying to improve mining profitability.

But the one thing that's true of both Soylent and Huel is that they confuse consumers by calling the liquid and the powder the same thing. In both cases, the liquid is completely different nutritionally and in taste.

It's interesting to hear that you are now the fourth person who is losing weight due to Huel, and the second person who is not intentionally doing that. This is something I think is worth looking into, and perhaps if the company does reply they will address this issue. My worry is that the reason for the weight loss is a nutritional deficiency - especially given that Depakote is notorious for weight gain, and I'm using that concurrently. The counterargument is that every other indicator like body fat and blood pressure has improved dramatically. Nobody reading this should take that as fact, because I have no evidence - it's just something that has shown up in several people and should be investigated.

I also found this: https://vitals.lifehacker.com/exercise- ... 1441213545. Is it possible that this "thermic effect of food," where it talks about how protein requires more calories to digest, is to blame for the weight loss since calories can't be directly compared if the macronutrient ratios are different?
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by usegao » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:03 pm

Steve Sokolowski wrote:I make more money than most, but I still find it hard to believe you would pay $2 more mostly for ease of use, as you said. That's $2800 per year spent to avoid shaking powder. Do most people really think that way? If so, we should be spending our time streamlining our site to save a few seconds here and there instead of trying to improve mining profitability.
The way I buy them, with the maximum quantity and the 10% subscription discount, the RTD is $1.42 more expensive (almost twice as expensive as the powder) and yes that is quite a lot to pay for the luxury of not having to stir something, even for those of us who make more money than average. I don't like to throw money away for trivial reasons, and am going to return to the powder once the last 7 pounds are lost and I have had some time to settle into my new weight. I did not start having Huel with weight loss in mind, but I welcomed it happily as my BMI was safely in the obese range. Now, having lost 76 pounds, I am focused on getting my weight down to the center of the "normal" BMI range. The first few months of being a healthy weight has historically been when I revert to my old eating habits, so I am trying to lower that risk by making things as easy as possible for a little while. I don't believe a typical user would go 100% Huel RTD indefinitely because, as you pointed out, it wouldn't make much fiscal sense to do so.
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by Steve Sokolowski » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:04 pm

usegao wrote:
Steve Sokolowski wrote:I make more money than most, but I still find it hard to believe you would pay $2 more mostly for ease of use, as you said. That's $2800 per year spent to avoid shaking powder. Do most people really think that way? If so, we should be spending our time streamlining our site to save a few seconds here and there instead of trying to improve mining profitability.
The way I buy them, with the maximum quantity and the 10% subscription discount, the RTD is $1.42 more expensive (almost twice as expensive as the powder) and yes that is quite a lot to pay for the luxury of not having to stir something, even for those of us who make more money than average. I don't like to throw money away for trivial reasons, and am going to return to the powder once the last 7 pounds are lost and I have had some time to settle into my new weight. I did not start having Huel with weight loss in mind, but I welcomed it happily as my BMI was safely in the obese range. Now, having lost 76 pounds, I am focused on getting my weight down to the center of the "normal" BMI range. The first few months of being a healthy weight has historically been when I revert to my old eating habits, so I am trying to lower that risk by making things as easy as possible for a little while. I don't believe a typical user would go 100% Huel RTD indefinitely because, as you pointed out, it wouldn't make much fiscal sense to do so.
FYI, once you do go back to the powder, it's often cheaper to use purse.io and spend cryptocurrency on Huel, since it is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Huel-Starter-Kit ... words=huel. While it costs $37.50 there, and you'll end up with 15 bottles like I did, Purse earners are often willing to give 25% discounts and that pushes the price below what they offer on Huel's site.

If you don't own any bitcoins or bitcoin cash, you can buy some and send them to Purse immediately to eliminate the exchange rate risk.
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Re: The Ultimate Guide to Huel, Soylent, and complete foods

Post by usegao » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:40 am

Steve Sokolowski wrote:FYI, once you do go back to the powder, it's often cheaper to use purse.io and spend cryptocurrency on Huel, since it is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Huel-Starter-Kit ... words=huel. While it costs $37.50 there, and you'll end up with 15 bottles like I did, Purse earners are often willing to give 25% discounts and that pushes the price below what they offer on Huel's site.

If you don't own any bitcoins or bitcoin cash, you can buy some and send them to Purse immediately to eliminate the exchange rate risk.
Wow. Thank you!
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