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A couple of years ago, I started noticing advertisements for a ‘meal substitute’, appealingly named Huel.
At first I didn’t think much of it; plenty of people get offended by advertisements popping up on their social media feeds, apparently unaware that this is par for the course with any product or service purporting to be ‘free’ to its core user base.
As the infamous saying goes: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”
After seeing the various ‘outraged’ comments being left almost religiously by certain users, I decided to read up a bit more on Huel. I was happy to discover that Huel, itself, is vegan. Although I am not vegan, it makes me happy to see more companies embracing this shift in culture, to become more sustainable.
It also seemed that they were putting genuine thought and innovation into their product, despite what some reactionary commenters would have you believe. I decided to give Huel a shot, and this is what I found out.
Huel is not a diet product
Although Huel has been marketed to help people lose weight, it’s not a diet product. Its core purpose isn’t solely to make you lose weight. On the contrary, I’ve read accounts from plenty of people using it to gain weight. What Huel does do, is help people who want to count calories. It’s also a miraculous time saver, as not everyone has the time to prep food every morning.
Not everyone needs to consume the amount that Huel recommends.
When I started trying Huel, I stuck to the recommended ‘3 scoops a serving’, which provides 456 calories. Huel recommends that a person trying to retain weight should have four of these ‘meals’ a day. However, I think that this is probably working on the assumption that Huel’s general customer base is male. I, on the other hand, am a 5ft1 female, and I need far fewer calories to survive. So, instead of three scoops, I take 2, at 304 calories a pop. This works out well for me, as I only use Huel once a day as a light lunch.
Huel can be effective in helping you lose weight.
Although Huel isn’t a weight loss product, it can be used to help you shed a few pounds. When I made the switch to Huel, I also decided to change my attitude towards food. I used the change to drastically cut down on my sugar intake. As I was no longer sitting down for a ‘traditional’ lunch, this also came with forgoing my post-lunch treat of a teacake (or two), crisps, and anything else that might find its way onto my plate.
To date, I estimate that I’ve lost about a stone since I first started. Of course, this isn’t all down to Huel – I also do four hours of cardio a week, but, as the saying goes, “you can’t outrun a bad diet”.
The cost of a product is always one of the most important parts. Huel had me pondering for a bit – at £45 (£35 with my referral link), it was more than I was currently spending on lunch every month. However, I figured that if I visited the shop less to buy bread, I would also be less likely to purchase sugary snacks, saving both my waistline and my wallet.
All in all, I’m happy with Huel. Although it is a little on the pricey side, it’s both convenient and has helped me make more conscious decisions about what I put into my body.
Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.