Comparison to Huel


#1

Huel has a page comparing themselves (favorably, of course) to Soylent: https://huel.com/pages/comparison-to-soylent. I would love to see an official Soylent response.

Till Soylent decides to respond, I am interested in hearing from people who tried both and chose Soylent.

FWIW, I like the taste of vanilla Soylent 2.0 much better. The bottles are far more convenient, though I do feel guilty about using bottles.


#2

Mostly favorably to Soylent, but to me Huel doesn’t win in all cases. I’d rather have soy protein than pea and brown rice. Otherwise Huel looks pretty good; in particular I like oats both for health reasons and because I think they add a nice flavor.


#3

Huel probably has higher levels of heavy metals because they are using rice protein which Soylent abandoned for this reason.


#4

More than just that reason, rice protein also settles more and does not mix as smoothly. The soy change was happening regardless of heavy metals.

To your original point, we don’t do side by side comparisons. Our product stands on its own merits.


#5

Huel claims that heavy metals are at a safe level: https://uk.huel.com/pages/food-safety-and-quality-controls (See the UK version; I got an error when I tried to view the US version of the page).


#6

“We don’t do side by side comparisons. Our product stands on its own merits.”

Is that wise, though? Someone who is considering both Soylent and Huel will hear only one side of the story. Unless that person is a food scientist, how are they supposed to know if the points have merit? I know that I like the taste of Soylent better, and I trust Soylent as a company, but don’t understand if/how Soylent is better nutritionally.


#7

Because it starts a spiral of wasted marketing efforts of us vs. them. Time spent comparing your self to others and trying to win over their customers is time better spent growing your company to a wider audience.


#8

I agree with @Conor although not for the same reason. I think it inappropriate for any company to do a direct comparison to another, because skeptical observers will doubt their fairness and expect a slant. Makers should concentrate on marketing to their strengths and leave comparison and reviews to users and other third parties.


#9

Here is Soylent’s info re their heavy metal levels:

Compare that to whatever data Huel has provided.


#10

It is hard to compare, because Huel’s data is in mg/kg and Soylent’s is in microgram/400 cal serving. Assuming that 500 cal of Soylent = 106 g, or 400 cal = 85 g, this is what I have in mg/kg:

Soylent powder
Arsenic: 0.014
Cadmium: 0.009
Lead: 0.006

Soylent drink
Arsenic: 0.050
Cadmium: 0.050
Lead: 0.025

Huel
Arsenic: 0.022
Cadmium: 0.117
Lead: 0.044
Mercury: 0.007

So Soylent is significantly better for heavy metals. The question for me is, what is worse in the long run? The extra heavy metals, or the extra sugar? In 2000 cal, Soylent powder has 76 g, Soylent drink has 36 g, and Huel has 6 g. I wish that Soylent was simply better in all respects :frowning:

(I am obsessing over this a little bit because I have been using Soylent for most of my calories, and anything bad will be compounded over the decades. On the other hand, both companies could change their formulas in the next few years and the comparisons can be very different.)


#11

A glysemic index comparison is probably a better comparison than a grams of sugar comparison:

Soylent Powder (v1.6) Glycemic Index: 60
Soylent Drink (v2.0) Glycemic Index: 49
Huel v2.0: 27

Huel is lower but not as much of a difference as one might expect from the grams of sugar comparison that Huel publishes.

As to whether low heavy metals or low sugar is more important, I don’t know but my guess would be low heavy metals.

Also consider whether the taste of one of the products would prevent you from drinking it on a regular basis. In my view, Soylent 2.0 tastes great and Soylent powder is not as good but definitely does not taste bad. Many people love the Soylent Cacao powder. I haven’t tasted Huel.


#12

I’ve been on Soylent cocoa v.1.9 90% for about 3 months. Dropped about 35 lbs so far. I’ve had a good experience so far. I mix 360 grams of powder (1600 calories) with water and ice and couple Tbs of PB fit powder and a scoop of Naked protein powder blend in blender and store in the pitcher Soylent gives you I top off the pitcher with water to fill the pitcher and it’s the perfected consistency to drink.
Now I just got a couple bags of Huel Unsweetened/Unflavored and made first batch yesterday. I made it the same way I make my Soylent I used 375 grams (1500 calories) of Huel. Now this is were Huel is different using same amount of water and my Soylent pitcher the consistency of Huel is basically paste lol. I’ve had to add so much more water to get consistency down to drinkable level that I couldn’t finish it. Now for the taste, Huel U/U basically has no taste it smells of oats and taste like oat water. I added baking cocoa powder and PB fit to it and it still has no taste to it. So moving forward with Huel I think I will start by just making smaller servings though out the day instead of making full day (less convenient) or get a much bigger pitcher. I think Huel U/U is made to be really doctored up with stuff, Frozen fruit and banana’s sound good to try.


#13

Huel is clearly superior to Soylent v1.8, although, it should be pointed out, that soy protein isolate is the better choice, especially if the SPI has a PDCAAS score of 1.0 (which a combo of pea and rice has anyway). Huel brags about their product lacking soy as if it’s a plus, which it’s not (soy is really great stuff; by far, the best bean ever).

That said, retinyl palmitate (not “retinol palmitate”, lol), is clearly better than retinyl acetate, because our bodies convert beta-carotene into retinyl palmitate anyway, so that makes Soylent 1.8 technically better on that point because retinyl palmitate is the first transition step before our bodies convert it into retinol and retinoic acid. However, from an environmental/biodiversity perspective, it’s a good choice to not support the palm oil industry (think about the wild orangutans!). Retinyl palmitate can be synthesized vegan however, but I’m not sure if Soylent does this? From what I’ve read, retinyl palmitate is the only vegan form of vitamin A, so retinyl acetate means Huel isn’t fully vegan.

To Huel’s advantages:

  1. K2 (extremely important, essential and too often neglected micronutrient).

  2. Phytonutrients (although both lack phytosterols, Soylent should contain some phytoestrogens, which is a plus to Soylent).

  3. Low sugar content (seriously, maltodextrin is just pure crap, avoid it like the plague).

  4. More fiber.

  5. Lower fat (and I assume, a better fatty acid profile; canola is not a particularly good fat source, but I assume it’s used by Soylent because it’s cheap).

  6. More protein.

  7. Lower glycemix index (there’s no good reason for Soylent to use anything but isomaltulose).

  8. Cheaper.

So yeah, I agree with them, that Huel is technically better than Soylent.

On a related point to the phytonutrients, both lack important plant pigment antioxidants, like chlorophyll, anthocyanins and beta-carotene (although, Huel does have some lycopene, which is great).


#14

I’m familiar with Huel since a few years back, but I never bothered to look up its nutrition in details, and didn’t compare it with Soylent until I saw this thread (imho, while SoyIent has improved a lot since 1.5, it’s still not a product I can endorse due to its maltodextrin content, lack of K2 and other issues; I’m a DIY soylenter, so to say, it’s more control over my nutrition that way, and cheaper, and also, I get to choose the most superior nutrients thanks to the full control I exert over my diet), so I just had a look over at Huel’s nutrition data, v2.3:

Specifically, this image:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0578/1097/files/Huel_-Powder_Labels-_Vanilla_1024x1024.png?v=1524151665

^^ Now that’s a solid nutrition label. That’s how you do it. Not sure why though, but the link is malformatted when I post it here. Anyway, more of Huel’s advantages:

  1. Methylfolate. Can’t stress enough the importance of methylated B-vitamins. Soylent 1.9 still uses the inferior folic acid (synthetic crap, especially for those with mutations on the MTHFR gene). Both use cyanocobalamin instead of methylcobalamin though (Soylent doesn’t list it as cyanocobalamin, just “B12”, but given the lack of nutrition expertise over at Soylent headquarters, I seriously doubt it’s methylcobalamin; that would be quite cutting edge for a meal replacement).

  2. Vegan D3. Soylent apparently only uses D2, which is okay, but vegan D3 is quite impressive. Huel has both D2 and vegan D3, that’s how it’s done (they’re actually great in combination, but if you have to choose, go with vegan D3 any day of the week).

  3. Way more omega-3, and the omega-6/3 ratio is 1:1 (it should be between 1:1 to maximum 4:1, whereas Soylent 1.9 due to the switch to high oleic canola oil, has like 6 times more omega-6 than omega-3).

  4. MCT fatty acids. This is not a huge advantage, but can be useful.

  5. More potassium, and slightly more sodium. Both have okay potassium/sodium ratio (which should be 2:1, and they both qualify in that department), but Huel has more potassium at equal calories.

  6. Cheaper. Soylent is ridiculously expensive, lol. My DIY Soylent costs like more than three times less than Soylent 1.9, and although Huel is expensive too, it’s cheaper than Soylent.


#15

Can you elaborate on that a bit? I’m newly dabbling in DIY. Canola is high in MUFA, isn’t it? Is the problem the relatively high omega 6/3 ratio in the PUFA that you mentioned?


#16

Huel uses too much protein, some of which will go undigested in a lot of people and cause gas problems down below. Read their amazon reviews. It also uses raw oats which can be hard to digest for some folks too.


#17

Well the only valid reason I can think of, for Soylent to use canola, is because it’s cheap. Canola isn’t the worst fat source, it’s just not particularly impressive. Ordinary canola has an omega-6/3 ratio at 2:1, which is quite optimal, because it should be between 1:1 to 4:1, but the switch to high oleic canola makes no sense (cutting costs?), because now Soylent has like 6 times more omega-6 than 3, something like that; they’re not transparent with it.

If Soylent was really hardcore, they’d straight up go with hemp seed oil, which has a perfect omega-6/3 ratio at 3:1, but hemp seed oil is way too expensive for now (it’s not subsidized and so on). I guess they use canola just to increase the calorie count and keep the saturated fats low, but 60% of the fat in canola is monounsaturated (omega-9), which isn’t a disastrous fatty acid but it’s not actually essential. It has been argued that olive oil isn’t healthy, and guess what? Olive oil is loaded with omega-9:

Now obviously canola is healthier than olive oil, in part, due to canola’s better omega-6/3 ratio, but the two only essential fatty acids, are omega-6 linoleic acid (LA) and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). That’s it. Other fatty acids like omega-3 EPA/DHA/DPA/SDA and omega-6 GLA (the last two of which, are found in hemp seed oil) are healthy, yes, but they’re not essential. So what’s the point in using canola, and high oleic canola at that? Because it’s cheap and increases the calorie count, not because it’s the most superior fat source.

So Huel is far better on the fat. Look at how they did it: mixing flax seeds and sunflower seeds, to get a much more preferable omega-6/3 ratio at 1:1, and as such, Huel has more room for protein calories because the calorie distribution doesn’t have to be wasted on omega-9 (oleic acid). All that omega-9 means you need a lot of canola just to reach acceptable quantities of omega-6 LA and omega-3 ALA. This makes Soylent 1.9 a poor dieting powder, whereas Huel is far more preferable for vegan bodybuilding. Personally I think Huel should have gone with chia seeds over flax, which would have been an even better choice, but in any case, this solution is much better than canola.

Overall, while Soylent 1.9 has a few advantages like soy protein isolate, and retinyl palmitate (which again, can be manufactured synthetically, i.e., vegan and no palm oil environmental issues), clearly Huel 2.3 is a superior product. And I’m not saying that as in Huel 2.3 being slightly better than Soylent 1.9, but way better.

Soylent should address these issues immediately if they’re serious. Completely ditch the maltodextrin and go 100% isomaltulose, try to use hemp seed oil, or at least a chia/sunflower oil blend or something (for now those are unfortunately cheaper than hemp seed oil), and include some K2, vegan D3, methylfolate, methylcobalamin and so on.

Personally, my DIY Soylent, I use hemp seeds (not oil, just the seeds), raw cocoa nibs and chia seeds for the fat plus some extra protein, I use oat flour and soy protein isolate, and the complete price tag is many times cheaper than the official Soylent 1.9 powder. So I won’t be buying Soylent until they get their act together with the ingredients, and currently, the competition is like blowing Soylent away it seems, which is a shame. I was impressed by Rob Rhinehart when he started Soylent, and he really inspired me to start doing my DIY Soylents and so on, but I can’t buy his products when he’s using these inferior ingredients for no good reason.


#18

Huel does not have too much protein. Huel v2.3’s macronutrient profile is far better optimized for vegan bodybuilding (and dieting if anything), that’s for sure. Personally I think they could go for an omega-6/3 ratio at 3:1, but either way, currently, if you want to do vegan bodybuilding, Huel v2.3 is a far better choice than Soylent v1.9 in pretty much every way, and cheaper at that, so Huel is win-win in most areas.


#19

Would you be willing to share your exact recipe, and your personal opinion on the taste comparison of your recipe v. Soylent Cacoa? I’m intrigued and would certainly like to know more.


#20

I can put together my recipe in a new DIY Soylent later today, or maybe tomorrow. It’s just a hassle to write down every micronutrient in every ingredient, so I just stick to my calorie app(s) when I do my DIY Soylent recipes.