Not all protein shakes are created equal. Huel Complete Protein is the world’s first nutritionally complete vegan protein powder – it’s a great source of fibre, contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, and is packed with protein (naturally). We spoke to two of Huel’s leading nutritionists to help shed some light on the latest Huel product.
James Collier is the Co-Founder and Head of Sustainable Nutrition at Huel. He’s worked in nutrition and dietetics for 27 years and previously specialised in providing advice for competitive bodybuilders, strongmen, boxers and Mixed Martial Arts fighters.
Rebecca (Bec) Williams is the Nutrition Manager at Huel. She has degrees in sports science and sports nutrition and has worked as a personal trainer for Lucozade, Maximuscle and the GSK Human Performance Lab.
James Collier: Huel Complete Protein is a 100% nutritionally complete, high-protein snack made from sustainable hemp, faba and pea proteins, and it’s now available in six delicious flavours.
Bec Williams: It offers so much more than your average protein powder. Huel Complete Protein is also a good source of fibre, contains essential fatty acids and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, plus phytonutrients, while also being low in carbohydrates.
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JC: Huel Complete Protein looks and feels just like normal protein powder, but the main difference would be that we’ve made it using plant-based protein – it’s better for the environment than animal-based proteins, and we think it tastes better and has a nicer texture than other plant-based proteins.
It gives you the best of both worlds while also containing all the essential nutrients that you need, and it contains ingredients that are potentially good for health too, such as probiotics and curcumin.
BW: If you’re going for a plant-based protein, you may not be getting all the amino acids that you need. We’ve used a combination of three different proteins plus additional leucine, making Huel Complete Protein a truly complete source of protein. Nutrition comes first but at 84p per serving, price isn’t far behind.
JC: It’s been easy to think of regular Huel as a ‘protein powder’, but one of the big differences is at 400kcal per serving, Huel Black Edition is more like a meal, while Huel Complete Protein is only 105kcal – think of it more as a high-protein snack.
BW: Looking at the protein content of Huel Complete Protein, protein provides a whopping 76% of the 105kcal. Compare this to Black Edition where protein provides 40% of the protein and you can see a clear difference – as Huel Complete Protein contains more protein, there are fewer carbs and less fat.
JC: Huel Complete Protein is a powdered food that contains pea, hemp, and faba bean proteins which make up the bulk of the ingredients. There are also additional essential amino acids in there – leucine, lysine, and methionine – to contribute to its excellent amino acid profile. Flaxseed oil provides essential fats and there’s a bespoke vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient blend to make Huel Complete Protein nutritionally complete.
BW: On top of the ingredients that provide essential nutrients, we’ve also used ingredients that can be beneficial for your health. These include curcumin (from turmeric) and piperine (from black pepper) to help the absorption of the curcumin, and probiotics in the form of Bacillus coagulans.
The Huel Complete Protein Formula Explained
JC: To put it simply, it’s right for everyone! Having worked with bodybuilders for several years, I know that high-protein foods shouldn’t be limited to gym-goers. Whether you want more sustainable plant-based protein in your diet for good health – or a healthy snack to keep you going between meals – Huel Complete Protein is great to include as part of your diet.
BW: Protein doesn’t need to only be for young men or the packaging coloured pink to appeal to women. We all need protein and we can all benefit from it, whether you’re an older adult wanting to keep moving and active for the next 20 years or you’re trying to lose weight. Huel Complete Protein can be for anyone because protein doesn’t care about a company’s segmented marketing.
JC: Similar to my last answer, you can have Huel Complete Protein at any time. There’s no right or wrong way to get your fix – if you struggle with breakfast, Huel Complete Protein could be a great alternative (particularly if you normally go for low-protein breakfasts like toast or cereal). You could also have it as a snack as a way of improving your nutrient intake, reducing your environmental impact, or simply keeping hunger at bay. Your goals are yours to own.
BW: The muscles in the body can utilise around 20-40g of protein in one sitting. Huel Complete Protein can be a convenient way of getting more bioavailable protein into your diet by having it outside of your usual meals. It might be a bit odd to think of a protein shake as a ‘snack’, but you only need 30 seconds and some water to make your Huel Complete Protein.
JC: Huel Complete Protein comes in six flavours: Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Strawberries and Cream, Banana Milkshake, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Fudge and Unflavoured and Unsweetened. They taste just like a dessert but without all the sugar!
BW: I’ve tried a lot of protein powders and many of them don’t actually taste all that nice, and plant-based protein sources can taste earthy too. We’ve worked really hard to get Huel Complete Protein to taste exactly like the flavour on the label and the texture is super smooth too. For a creamier feeling, plant-based milk is the way to go.
JC: By using plant-based proteins, we’re always going to have a lower carbon footprint than alternatives that use whey or other animal-derived proteins. Plants also need less land and water to grow, helping to minimise the impact on animals.
BW: We’ve paid extra-special attention to the proteins we’ve used. Yellow peas and faba beans fix nitrogen which is vital for plants and often needs to be artificially added to soils to help plant growth. Hemp is naturally pest-resistant and so requires little or no pesticide use. These proteins may be slightly more expensive than alternatives, but we pride ourselves on nutrition and quality so it was a no-brainer for us.
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