In June 2015 we launched Huel v1.0 and, over the following 2-3 months we tweaked the formula very slightly and produced Huel v1.2 which has been sold for over 10 months. Huel v1.2 was a great formula, but we felt there were a few changes we could make to improve the formula even more. Some of these changes were following suggestions following feedback from Huelers, others were due to our own innovation.
The main ingredients in Huel are unchanged, ie they’re still oats, pea protein, flaxseeds, brown rice protein, MCT from coconut and sunflower lecithin. However, the amounts of the ingredients have been tweaked and the following are the main improvements and why we’ve made the changes:
1) Addition of Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two phytonutrients are antioxidants that occur naturally in nature. Although they are not essential per se, as in not consuming them will not give rise to clinical deficiency, they have both been shown that they may have a role in eye health by slowing down the process of macular degeneration in the elderly (1,2,3). We felt that as many people are choosing to consume Huel as a bulk of their diet long term, lutein and zeaxanthin should be included for optimal health.
2) Addition of Lycopene
Lycopene is a naturally occurring carotenoid phytonutrient. Lycopene is especially high in tomatoes and is partly responsible for their red colour (meaning that Huel may have a slight red fleck). Lycopene is a potent antioxidant with a range of benefits (2). Antioxidants are required to quash free radicals, and can slow the aging process, reduce cardiovascular disease risk and reduce the risk of some cancers. There is particularly good evidenced that the long term use of lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer (4,5,6,7). We’ve added lycopene to Huel v2.0 as we feel its inclusion is of significant benefit to health.
3) More vitamins and minerals from natural food sources
We’ve been able to reduce the amounts of some of the added vitamins and minerals in our bespoke vitamin and mineral blend. This is because we’ve altered the amounts and ratios of our six main ingredients to enable us to do this. Also, we now have more accurate data from our food ingredients, where previously we were cautious.
4) Replaced Folic Acid with L-methylfolate Calcium (1,000 times more expensive than folic acid)
For our source of folate, we’re now using L-methylfolate calcium, the biologically active form of folate instead of synthetic folic acid (8). L-methylfolate calcium is over 1,000 times more expensive than folic acid, but we felt it an important improvement.
5) Changed our vitamin B12 source to Methylcobalamin
For the source of vitamin B12, we’ve swapped to methylcobalamin from cyanocobalamin. In the body, cyanocobalamin is converted into the biologically active form methylcobalamin, so using methylcobalamin in Huel removes a step in metabolism and it’s more bioavailable (9). Although it’s very uncommon, some individuals do have an allergic response to cyanocobalamin, but this is even rarer with methylcobalamin.
6) Optimised the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 polyunsaturates
We’ve tweaked the ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturates to an optimum ratio for cardiovascular health. Both omega-6s and omega-3s are essential; for more information read our article Good Fats & Bad Fats.
7) Xylitol is now the principal carrier for our bespoke vitamin and mineral blend
Huel’s bespoke vitamin and mineral blend requires a carrier; previously the principal carrier was maltodextrin, but in v2.0, we’ve replaced this with xylitol a natural ingredient.
8) Addition of finely ground sea salt
We’ve added a tiny amount of finely ground sea salt to help maintain adequate sodium intake.
As well as the above changes, we’ve decided to be more accurate in respect of supplying information to our customers in regards to the macronutrient energy split. Most people think that only carbohydrates, fats and proteins supply energy and only these should be counted in macronutrient energy split; however, in reality, there are a number other constituents of foods that also supply energy (to be discussed in more detail in a future article), the most important one being fibre. The ratio of the macronutrients in Huel v1.2 was 40 : 30 : 30 - carbohydrate : fat : protein; i.e. 40% of total energy comes from carbohydrate, 30% from fat and 30% from protein. These three macronutrients most people think of as supplying energy with each gram of carbohydrate and protein each supplying 4 calories and each gram of fat supplying 9 calories. As fibre contributes about 2 calories per gram, and is such a significant component of Huel - and indeed any healthy diet - we feel this needs to be included in any macronutrient energy calculations. Therefore Huel v2.0 is 37 : 30 : 30 : 3 - carbohydrate : fat : protein : fibre split as its macronutrient profile.
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