What does Nutritionally Complete mean?

Huel as a meal provides the right amount of protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins & minerals.

Huel products have been created with nutrition at the forefront. The nutrition gives Hueligans enough energy to feel great, not just with active day-to-day tasks, but for those Hueligans who like to exercise regularly. Not only this, but the ingredients of Huel products keep you feeling as full as you would if you ate a similar meal based on traditional whole foods.

There’s no legal definition of “nutritionally complete”, so this is how we define the term:

Huel products are “nutritionally complete” at 2,000 Calories through high quality, optimally-sourced ingredients and provide ideal amounts of all essential nutrients as well as beneficial levels of other important nutrients for optimum health, energy and performance.

Whilst that does describe nutritionally complete, it doesn’t tell you a whole lot. So, here we’ve expanded on our definition.

Huel is nutritionally complete at 2,000 Calories

The ingredients in Huel products have been selected as they provide high-quality nutrition that’s sustainable and affordable. A 2,000-calorie-intake of Huel provides a good amount of each essential nutrient for optimum levels of nutrition.

An essential nutrient is one that can’t be made within the body in a sufficient quantity so we have to get it through our diet. This is why a serving of Huel contains an amount of these nutrients that are proportional to what you require in a day. 2,000 Calories is the level you would at least meet the recommended daily amounts (RDAs) of all essential nutrients.

What are RDAs?

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is a generic term that refers to a reference value for a particular nutrient in a specific nation or region, e.g. in the EU the terms are Reference Intake (RI) or Nutrient Reference Value (NRV); in the US it’s DV (Daily Value); in Japan, it’s the Nutritional Standards.

RDAs have been set to ensure people are getting a minimum intake amount of each nutrient that’s sufficient for the vast majority of a population (typically, at least 97.5%).

Essential nutrients

However, there’s a lot more to “nutritionally complete” than merely hitting the RDAs. There are further nutrient intake levels that Huel products need to have to make the nutritionally complete claim. This is so we can make sure they provide not just basic nutrition, but optimal nutrition in a convenient and sustainable form.

Huel products provide optimum amounts of all essential vitamins and minerals, protein, essential fats, carbohydrate and fibre. By optimum, we mean, as well as meeting the RDAs, Huel products contain higher levels for those nutrients where it has been demonstrated by sound science that achieving a certain intake level has a health benefit. Where appropriate, Huel products meet desirable levels. Examples of these include vitamins C, D and B12, folate and zinc.

Non-essential beneficial nutrients

As well as nutrients that have been identified as being essential, Huel products provide several other beneficial non-essential nutrients, like, choline, phytonutrients (substances found in plants that have a role in optimum health), vitamin K2 and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Whilst, for example, choline can be synthesised within the body, to get the amount required for optimum health, you also benefit from consuming it. In the US, choline is considered “essential” for this very reason and has been ascribed a DV.

Minimum levels of nutrients

For some nutrients, although in some regions there are no legal minimum values, there are defined minimum values for good health by formal nutrition advisory bodies. For example, fibre in the EU, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids and the nine essential amino acids. Huel products meet adequate levels at 2,000 Calories.

Maximum levels of nutrients

There are some population sub-groups that are advised to keep to a maximum intake level. If this advice is aligned with what current science deems as correct for optimal health, the Huel products have been designed to stay within these limits based on a 2,000-calorie-intake. Examples of this are saturated fat, sugar and salt.

If this is not achievable due to palatability or processing limitations, or because the Huel product has purposely been designed to have a macronutritional profile that doesn’t allow for these limits, then it’s fine as long as this level is achievable at a 2,000-calorie intake when the Huel product in question is consumed in combination with other Huel products.

Antinutrients

Some constituents of food, in particular plant-based foods, have been shown to interact with some of the nutrients. These are known as antinutrients. Examples of this are phytic acid, a naturally-occurring antioxidant found in many plant foods which has been shown to reduce the bioavailability of some minerals like iron and zinc, and calcium which hinders the absorption of iron. Although Huel is high in phytic acid and calcium, we’ve addressed this potential concern in all Huel products and you can read more about this in our articles here and here.

So, that’s what we mean by nutritionally complete. We’ve created Huel with optimal nutrition as the most important factor, and we’ve been able to achieve this with all our Huel products.

References

1. Food Drink Europe. Guidance on the Provision of Food Information to Consumers. 2013. Available from: https://www.fooddrinkeurope.eu/uploads/publications_documents/FDE_Guidance_WEB.pdf.

2. FDA. Nutrition Labeling of Food. 2018.

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