Low Carb Huel - Two Hacks

People’s definitions of ‘low-carb’ vary considerably, ranging from anything below 40% of total energy coming from the total carbohydrate content of a diet, down to as low as 10 or even 5%. However, most people feel that a level of around 20% of total energy coming from carbs is considered ‘low carb’. Huel provides 40% of total energy from carbohydrates, and we’ve had requests from Huelers for a ‘low-carb’ version of Huel. As we have no plans to produce this at the moment, this article provides a couple of Huel ‘hack’ recipe options.

How many calories do the macronutrients supply?

Before we go any further, it would be useful to know how many calories come from each of the four macronutrients:

  • Fat provides about 9 calories per gram
  • Protein provides about 4 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrate provides about 4 calories per gram
  • Fiber provides about 2 calories per gram

    You can read more about each macronutrient in our The Beginner’s Guide to Nutrition article.

    Ketogenic diets

    In a human diet, where the amount of carbohydrate in the human diet comes from below 10-12% of total energy, this is referred to as a ketogenic or ‘keto’ diet. Ketogenesis is a metabolic state where the body uses different substrates, known as ketone bodies, for fuel, as well as the small amount of carbs. In fact, the brain and heart rely on them for fuel; they are a survival mechanism that comes from the breakdown of protein and fat. ‘Keto’ diets, such as the Atkins diet, are a type of extreme low-carb diet and can be effective for some people who want to lose body fat, but there are concerns over their safety.* They are therefore not recommended by registered dietitians and registered nutritionists.

    Low-carb Huel hacks

    We have come up with two simple recipes for Huel to suit Huelers who wish to adjust their Huel intake to suit different requirements. Both are based on a carb level of around 20% of total energy, and both just require a blender and the following ingredients:

    • Huel - Vanilla flavor or Unflavored & Unsweetened
    • Desiccated coconut - can be purchased online or at any supermarket
    • A high-quality 90% protein isolate powder - this could be a high-quality whey protein isolate, or there are vegan alternatives like pea protein isolate; both are available from a number of online sports supplement retailers

    Please bear in mind that these Huel hacks have only been designed to meet macronutrient requirements. While the recipes will still contain good amounts of the vitamins and minerals from the Huel, requirements will not be met at 2,000 calories like they would if you were consuming Huel alone, so these recipes should only form part of your daily diet.

    It’s also important to note that these recipes are only approximations and the amount of each macronutrient provided may vary a little depending on the ingredients you use.  But they are a useful guide.

    Hack 1: Low-carb, high protein, moderate fat - ideal for gym goers

    This Huel hack recipe provides of total energy approximately 20% carbs, 45% protein and 35% fat.  It’s a great shake for someone who wishes to increase their protein intake, like a bodybuilder, strength athlete or just a regular gym goer, while keeping their carb intake relatively low.

    Ingredients per 100g

    • 45g Huel
    • 39g 90% protein isolate
    • 16g dessicated coconut


    Put 500-600ml of water in a blender, add ingredients, blend well and consume.

    100g provides

    Total Carbs - 25g; 20%TE**

    Protein - 50g; 45%TE

    Fat - 17g; 35%TE

    Hack 2: Low-carb, moderate protein, high fat

    This Huel hack provides of total energy approximately 20% carbs, 30% protein and 50% fat.  This is suited to Huelers who aren’t so concerned with their protein intake but still wish to keep their intake of carbs relatively low.

    Ingredients per 100g

    • 48g Huel
    • 22g 90% protein isolate
    • 30g dessicated coconut


    Put 500-600ml of water in a blender, add ingredients, blend well and consume.

    100g provides

    Total carbs - 29g; 20%TE

    Protein - 36g; 30%TE

    Fat - 27g; 50%TE

    * References

    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14672862
    • https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Carbs.pdf
    • http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/how-to-diet.aspx
    • http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/the-truth-about-carbs.aspx
    • http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/loseweight/Pages/top-10-most-popular-diets-review.aspx

    **%TE = percentage of total energy


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