Which one offers you the best tasting and most nutritionally sound product for the right price?
In a market that is becoming more populated does either Whole Fuel or Huel allow you to ditch solid food in favour of a nutritionally packed drink?
Huel launched first in the UK in 2015 which has given it a couple of years to refine its pioneering meal replacement offering.
Whole Fuel launched in January 2017 but it comes from fitness powerhouse, Myprotein which is known for high-quality and reasonably priced health supplements.
Here we review both Whole Fuel and Huel to find out which meal replacement brand is the best one for you. Both of which come in a variety of different flavours so to make it a fair comparison we have used the vanilla flavour for both.
A little history of meal replacements
As early as the 1920s film and TV has been interested in how humans might one day ditch solid foods entirely and move onto a more easily consumed type of nutrition.
In those early days, future gazers thought meal replacement pill would make up the bulk of your diet. You would simply pop a pill and it would provide you with all the nutrition your body needed for the day.
Indeed, watch Back to the Future Part II where a small dehydrated pizza has to be rehydrated to make it edible. While not exactly ditching solid foods it shows our obsession with how we can minimise food intake.
Since the 1990s there have been a wave of nutritional drinks come on the market. High proteinand high carb or high protein and low carb or high protein and zero carb. Intoday’s market carbohydrates are optional but protein is a must.
Some of the ‘mass gainer’ variety have enough calories in one serving that will put you over the recommended daily amount.
Then Soylent camealong which made people look at meal replacements in a different way. Launched in 2014 from a crowdfunding campaign the previous year, Soylent posed the question, “what if you never have to eat again?”
It opened people up to the possibility that perhaps they don’t need to eat solid food provided their bodies could receive all the required vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs from a drink.
The story of Huel
Huel launched in the UK in 2015 following the success of the Soylent in the US the previous year. Co-founder, Julian Hearn, says the concept of Huel had been in development as early as 2012.
Hearn brought in sports nutritionist, James Collier, and together they developed Huel to be, what they say, is an all-natural vegan formula made from real food.
According to its website, Huel’s ingredients contain “a carefully chosen blend of oats, pea protein, flaxseed, brown rice protein, MCTs from coconut, sunflower lecithin, a bespoke vitamin and mineral blend, vanilla flavour and a sweetener.”
The story of Whole Fuel
The story of Whole Fuel is, well, there isn’t one really.
It appears MyProteinlaunched Whole Fuel to no fanfare other than a small Facebook competition and the product video below.
There’s no real reason a company like Myprotein would make a song and dance about a new product when they have literally thousands for sale. The benefit of buying from a large company like Myprotein is it gets its ingredients in bulk, therefore, they can bring the costs down to the consumer. But is this the case?
In essence, it’s a Huel alternative. Whole Fuel’s ingredients are very similar to Huel’s and contain pea protein, flaxseed, brown rice protein and vitamins and minerals.
Are meal replacement drinks good for you?
It’s a good question and, like anything to do with good health, it’s one that requires nuance in its response.
Are meal replacements like Whole Fuel and Huel a scam?
Certainly not. They are made from ingredients that contain a whole raft of nutrients that are vital to the human body. Essential vitamins and minerals that allow your body to function and perform better.
It’s when people assume that meal replacement drinks are the complete answer to their dietary needs that brings problems. In reality, good health is about much more than one supplement or one form of exercise or, indeed, one nutritious drink.
Good health is actually a puzzling myriad of foods, activities, genetics, social relationships and sometimes just plain luck.
Meal replacements can be a part of the puzzle. They help you get your daily intake of vital nutrients in a convenient way but they are the be all and end all.
Some people use them for VLCDs (very low-calorie diets) which are normally obese people under medical supervision.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. Which has the greater nutritional value?
Both Whole Fuel and Huel contain a range of macro and micronutrients providing your body with the vital nutrition it needs from a meal replacement.
Which one provides the most nutritional value? Let’s start by looking at the numbers for both.
Both Whole Fuel and Huel have relatively similar macronutrient values. Whole Fuel contains 3g more sugar per 100g serving. That may not seem much but each 100g serving equals one meal so four of these a day has a difference of 12g of sugar each day.
The NHS recommends no more than 30g of sugar per day for an adult so, assuming you don’t consume any other foods containing sure, you’re within the limits. These measures are all relative to the person’s age, size, activity and so on.
Both Whole Fuel and Huel have similar micronutrient values and both often surpass each other for a particular vitamin or mineral. For example, Whole Fuel contains more Vitamin A, Huel contains more Vitamin D etc.
Huel comes into its own with additional nutrients such as Omega 3s, Omega 6s and Medium Chain Triglycerides, which Whole Fuel does not.
If the nutritional value is your priority when choosing a meal replacement (and it should be) then go with Huel.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. Which tastes best?
Taste is important. It can mean the difference of being consistent with a product or not. If you don’t like the taste you’re less likely to consume it over the long-term.
I bought the vanilla flavour of both to make the taste comparison as fair as possible. Vanilla is not my usual first choice for a health drink so something to bear in the taste test.
If vanilla is not your flavour of choice either, Whole Fuel comes in chocolate also. Huel, on the other hand, comes in a further nine different ‘sweetener’ flavours including rhubarb and custard, strawberry, toffee and banana to name a few.
Vanilla Huel taste test
Huel’s taste isn’t bad at all. Mixing it up is a doddle and requires a scoop or two along with half a litre of water. Give it a good shake with the shaker and you’re good.
Huel provides their own branded shakers when you buy directly from them. I bought this packet from eBay so used my own shaker.
I previously read that Soylent doesn’t taste great. In fact, I heard that it doesn’t taste much at all as there is no flavouring in it. With this in mind, I was expecting similar with Huel but turns out it actually tastes nice.
To me, it tastes like porridge which is not surprising since Huel is partly made out of oats. It’s not too sweet, the vanilla taste is not overbearing and it went down easy.
Vanilla Whole Fuel taste test
Given there is 3g more sugar per 100g serving Whole Fuel tastes sweeter than Huel. My pallet is fine with sweet tasting foods so the extra sweetness didn’t bother me. Although as of writing I have an after-taste in my mouth despite finishing the drink five minutes ago.
The consistency of Whole Fuel was thicker than Huel which, despite giving it a good shake, there were still clumps of unmixed powder in it when I was drinking it. This happens to me with protein drinks all the time so it’s something I’m used to.
You can taste the oats in it like Huel though the sweetness seems to dull this down somewhat.
For those who are sensitive to sweet-tasting foods, Huel may be preferable over Whole Fuel. But if you enjoy thick sweet drinks and you don’t mind the clumps (or can mix it better than I did) then Whole Fuel is for you.
Personally, I enjoyed the taste of Huel over Whole Fuel and with the additional flavours, there is more variety.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. Which costs more?
If you intend to usea meal replacement like Whole Fuel or Huel over the long-term price is extremely important. Using the least expensive could save you a lot of money over the months and years, particularly if you drink a couple of them a day.
So out of Whole Fuel and Huel which is the most expensive?
Myprotein currently sells a 1kg Whole Fuel pouch for £15.99 which equals £1.60 per serving.
Huel currently sells two 1.75kg bags for £45 which equals £1.61 per serving.
Huel has UK delivery included in the price whereas Myprotein slaps a delivery charge on you just before you pay.
Myprotein constantly run discount deals and offers and just today they have a 30 percent offer on it bringing the price down substantially.
Huel also offers subscription-based discounts for people intending to buy it regularly.
In short, both cost about the same. A minimum purchase requires you to buy more of Huel but itstill works out at the same price. Sometimes Myprotein may be running a deal where the price at that time is cheaper but then you’ll still have delivery to pay.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. How easy is it to buy?
It’s relatively straight forward to get hold of either. Simply order from their websites and you should receive it within days.
There tends to be more of Huel selling on other sites like Amazon UK (no US yet) and, in my case, eBay where some customers are offloading their previous Huel purchases.
Purchasing either Whole Fuel or Huel is straightforward and simple.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. Which brand is best?
Some people don’t care about the company behind the brand and that’s fine but if you’re like me sometimes you want to buy into the story and message.
Comparing Whole Fuel vs Huel in this regard is not completely fair since Huel is the brand, whereas Whole Fuel is a product of Myprotein, which is the brand behind it.
I like Huel’s brand. I like that the company took a risk and launched in the UK early. Everything from the story behind the product, the product, its website, its use of social media and, of course, the brand itself resonate more with me.
It’s messaging is more about lifestyle as opposed to fitness. It doesn’t use steroid-enhanced Instagram fitness models in its communications, unlike Myprotein.
Thumbs up for that.
While Whole Fuel is not a brand as such, Myprotein is and in fact one of the biggest health supplement brands in the world. It’s a behemoth in the supplement world andit’s a quite faceless and corporate.
I buy other products from Myprotein but their use of social media is a bit scammy. In the Instagram pic below the guy is blatantly been in shape before and is pushing his belly out for effect.
I don’t like this kind of marketing and the fitness industry is rife with it.
I prefer the Huel brand.
Whole Fuel vs Huel. Which should you go for?
Whether you buy Whole Fuel or Huel depends on what you want out of a meal replacement supplement.
If it’s a case of the sweeter the better and you don’t mind taking in extra sugar then WholeFuel is for you. If on the other hand, you prefer a taste that’s less sweet but contains more nutrients then go with Huel.
Huel has a better brand promise when it comes to meal replacements. It’s the company’s only product so is focussed on it 100 percent of the time. Whole Fuel and thus Myprotein has thousands of products.
That said, Myprotein provides you with the peace of mind that comes with buying from a large company where economies of scale can bring the price down to the consumer. Although right now both products cost the same.
Your choice but Huel is the winner for me.