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Huel Ready-to-drink vs the Turkey Sandwich

The turkey sandwich is the most popular sandwich in the U.S.[1], but just how well does it stack up against Huel Ready-to-drink? A turkey sandwich is perceived as one of the healthier lunch options. However, the nutritional value can vary greatly between sandwich shops and the options you choose, e.g. type of bread and sauce choice.

The nutritional information from five of the most popular sandwich chains was used to calculate an average[2]. Where possible, the standard option was chosen. We scrutinized the two from a nutritional perspective looking at the nutritional labels (see table below) a little deeper to provide you with a fair comparison.

Per serving Ready-to-drink Turkey sandwich
Calories 400 578
Total Fat (g) 19 25
Saturated Fat (g) 4 6
Cholesterol (mg) 0 56
Sodium (mg) 276 1536
Total Carbohydrate (g) 37 60
Dietary Fiber (g) 6 4
Total Sugars (g) 3 8
Added Sugars (g) 3 0
Protein (g) 20 31

Carbohydrates, Sugar, and Fiber

Huel Ready-to-drink, when compared to a turkey sandwich, has 2g more fiber per serving; this is great as fiber is beneficial for gut health and has several other positives such as helping to keep you feeling full[3]. It’s recommended that we aim for 28g fiber per day based on a 2,000kcal intake[4].

Huel Ready-to-drink is lower in sugar, at 3g of sugar per bottle (vanilla flavor). However, this is labeled as added sugar as the flavorings that contribute to the sugar content of Ready-to-drink are added during production. Despite this, Huel has a low glycemic index (GI) of 25[5] as slow release carbohydrates are used in the form of tapioca maltodextrin, oats, and brown rice flour. White and brown bread have a high GI (above 70)[6].

Sodium

A turkey sandwich contains over five times the amount of sodium per serving found in Huel Ready-to-drink. Some sodium is essential, but too much can have negative consequences such as increased blood pressure[7]. As such, we are advised to limit the amount of sodium we consume per day to 2,300mg[4].

Protein

A turkey sandwich has, on average, 11g more protein per serving than Huel Ready-to-drink. However, when looking at the percentage of calories that come from protein the difference is only 1% (21% vs. 20%). This is mainly because a turkey sandwich contains more calories (discussed below). Protein is critical for many bodily processes such as the immune response and the maintenance of normal bones and muscle mass[8]. Additionally, like fiber, protein is filling.

Fat

Huel Ready-to-drink contains 2g less saturated fat compared to a turkey sandwich. Additionally, the saturated fat in Ready-to-drink is mainly in the form of Medium-Chain Triglycerides from coconut and these are metabolized differently from longer chain fatty acids so are not associated with cardiovascular disease[9]. Ready-to-drink has a good ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids (2:1), while a turkey sandwich does not.

Calories and Micronutrients

A turkey sandwich provides 178 more calories per serving than Ready-to-drink. A bottle of Huel Ready-to-drink contains 400kcal and is nutrient-dense. This means you get a high amount of nutrients compared to the number of calories provided. A turkey sandwich lacks certain vitamins and minerals. For example, it will only provide around 1% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin D and calcium while Ready-to-drink will give you 25% and 20% respectively. A turkey sandwich will also be low in vitamin A and C (about 10% each) versus 20% and 67% in Ready-to-drink. It is important to get enough essential vitamins and minerals as they have a variety of bodily functions and can only be obtained in adequate amounts from our diet. Huel provides at least 100% of the DV for all 27 essential vitamins and minerals at 2,000kcal. You can delve into the detail a bit more here.

References

1. Business Insider. The 30 Most Popular Sandwiches In America. Date Accessed: 25/03/19. [Available from: https://www.businessinsider.com/most-popular-sandwiches-in-america-2014-10?r=US&IR=T].

2. Table comparing five popular sandwich chains’ turkey sandwich to Huel Ready-to-drink

 
RTD
Turkey sandwich
Per serving
Subway 6" Sub Jimmy John's #4 Turkey Tom Jersey Mike's #7 Turkey Breast & Provolone Sub, White Regular Firehouse Subs Medium Smoked Turkey Breast Arby's Roast Turkey & Swiss sandwich Average
Calories 400 450 510 540 680 710 578
Total Fat (g) 19 23 20.5 16 35 28 25
Saturated Fat (g) 4 6 2.5 6 7 7 6
Cholesterol (mg) 0 50 40 65 60 65 56
Sodium (mg) 276 1060 1160 1590 1940 1930 1536
Total Carbohydrate (g) 37 41 56 64 58 79 60
Dietary Fiber (g) 6 2 4 4 4 5 4
Total Sugars (g) 3 6 0 8 9 15 8
Added Sugars (g) 3 0 0 0 0 0 0
Protein (g) 20 19 25 40 35 38 31

 

3. Anderson JW, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews. 2009; 67(4):188-205.

4. Food and Drug Administration. Food Labelling. Department of Health and Human Services. 2018; 21(2).

5. Lightowler H, et al. Glycaemic Index Value for Huel Vanilla Ready-To-Drink. Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health, Oxford Brookes University; 2018.

6. Harvard Health Publishing; Harvard Medical School. Glycemic index for 60+ foods. Date Accessed: 03/25/19. [Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load-for-100-foods].

7. He FJ, et al. Salt, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Current Opinion in Cardiology. 2007; 22(4):298-305.

8. Harvard T.H. Chan; School of Public Health. Protein. Date Accessed: 03/25/19. [Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/].

9. Dean W, et al; NutritionReview.org. Medium Chain Trigylcerides (MCTs) Date Accessed 03/25/19. [Available from: https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/].

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