Huel is one of the most well-known meal replacement shake companies around and offers a high-protein, plant-based meal that is packed with vitamins and minerals. In this article, we will be taking a look at chocolate huel shakes, analysing the ingredients list, the flavor, the benefits, the negatives, and any alternatives that you might prefer.
Chocolate Huel Review
Huel has been in operation since 2015 and is a UK based company. It started off with its original flavor and then brought out vanilla Huel, which was a slight upgrade on the unflavored version. While both were fine, they didn’t exactly excite the taste buds. More interesting flavors were brought out such as salted caramel and a chocolate version.
The idea behind Huel shakes is to take them instead of an unhealthy breakfast or lunch, or even an unhealthy dinner. They are low in calories (but not too low), high in protein, high in fiber, and contain all the vitamins and minerals you require each day.
So far Huel has been at the forefront of the meal replacement revolution over the last few years. But increasingly, Huel is seeing more and more competition.
Products such as Instant Knockout Complete and Rootana can compete with them in taste, nutritional value, and ingredients. It will be interesting to see what new products enter the Huel line in response to this competition.
Chocolate Huel Ingredients
In this section, we will be taking a look at all of the main ingredients in chocolate huel powder. We won’t talk about cocoa powder, natural flavourings, or artificial sweeteners, because that would take too long.
Oat flour is a popular carbohydrate source in meal replacement shakes because it is so efficient. Not only does oat flour provide you with a low GI slow-releasing carb source, but it also provides a decent protein source, fiber, and healthy fats. Oat flour is also inexpensive and helps to improve the taste and consistency of the shake.
Oat flour is highly satiating, thanks to the fiber and protein it contains. This means that you will feel fuller for longer after consuming it. Oats can also help to improve your gut microbiome, which can have benefits for your immune system, digestive system, and your heart health.
Oat protein is very nutritious, and oats contain a large number of amino acids , helping to contribute to the complete protein of Huel. Oats are also very effective at lowering LDL cholesterol, helping to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and strokes .
Thanks to its appetite suppressing abilities , low GI score, high protein, and high fiber, gluten-free oat flour is an ideal ingredient for weight loss.
The protein in Huel power comes from a number of sources, but one of the biggest contributors is pea protein. This is due to peas being a superb protein source with a wide variety of amino acids.
Pea protein is an ideal source of protein for vegans, not only is it free from animal products but it is much more environmentally friendly than common protein sources. It is also a good source of iron, which can be highly beneficial for vegans.
Pea protein contains a complete protein profile, and it is a great source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) with 4.7 grams of isoleucine, 8.2 grams of leucine, and 5 grams of valine per 100 grams.
Protein derived from peas is also much higher in the amino acid arginine than whey protein and contains slightly more tyrosine. Arginine is known to improve circulation, while tyrosine is useful for cognition.
While pea powder protein isn’t absorbed quite as easily as animal protein, it outperforms almost all other plant-based proteins.
Flaxseed is a superb source of omega-3 fats, and one of the few non-fish sources available. It is also a source of good quality fiber, and protein. Flaxseed is seen as a super-food by many people and is a good alternative to non-vegan sources of protein and healthy fats.
Flaxseed has been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. It can also aid gastrointestinal health, and may also be useful in improving cognition . Flaxseed is naturally gluten-free, making it a great choice for meal replacements.
The main benefit of flaxseed is its high omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 has many health benefits. Helping to lower cholesterol and fight inflammation . This can seriously reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes.
Flaxseed is also very high in lignans, which are polyphenols found in seeds, known to be effective preventatives of certain cancers. Foods rich in lignans (flaxseeds have more than any other) are thought to be an effective preventative for chronic illness .
Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice flour is a great addition to meal replacement shakes because it contains a high amount of branched-chain amino acids and essential amino acids . It is a superb source of phytochemicals and like flaxseed can help to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation and several diseases .
As with oat flour, brown rice flour is known for its ability to keep you satiated after a meal, having a low GI score and keeping blood sugars in check. Brown rice combines really well with pea-derived protein, their amino acid contents complement each other nicely.
It provides all the benefits of protein: muscle building, metabolism raising, appetite suppressing, and it has muscle repairing abilities.
Tapioca starch is used as a thickener in Huel, but it doesn’t really have any other benefits. Tapioca is often considered an empty calorie due to its complete lack of nutritional benefits. It has almost no protein, no fats, and no fiber. It does its role (thickening) well and has no particular downsides. A bit of a nothing ingredient really.
Just like tapioca, sunflower lecithin is added in to improve the consistency of Huel rather than for its nutritional information. However, as an effective phospholipid, it does offer some cognitive benefits. It is mostly there to improve the mixability of the powder though.
Coconut Medium Chain Triglyceride Powder
While some of the fats in this shake come from oats, flaxseed, and sunflower, the majority of the healthy fats come from medium-chain triglycerides. Most fats are made up of long chains of triglycerides, medium chains of triglycerides are easier for the body to digest and are associated with a number of health benefits.
The most well known MCT oil is coconut oil, which is why Huel have opted to use it. The most obvious benefit of MCT oils is that they contain 10% fewer calories than regular fats, making it easier to stay within a calorie deficit .
MCTs are also more satiating than regular fats, this also helps when on a diet. Studies have shown that people taking MCTs have smaller appetites and consume fewer calories than people on LCTs .
There is evidence that MCTs can help to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, and may have a crucial role in epilepsy management. The use of MCTs is a seriously smart move from Huel, and it is becoming increasingly common in the meal replacement shake world.
Compared to the other ingredients in this list (which are functional yet unspectacular) acerola cherries come way out of left field. But we quite like the fact that they’ve been included. It shows that Huel is beginning to think outside the box a bit.
Acerola cherries are a great source of vitamin C and are powerful antioxidants. They may also help treat some of the symptoms of depression, though the evidence is currently sparse. They are used in herbal medicine to treat stomach upsets, but again, more evidence is required before we can say whether they are effective or not.
We’re not really sure what the intention behind adding acerola cherries was. Probably it wanted a natural source of vitamin C, but there are a couple of cool added benefits.
This is a non-alcoholic version of kombucha, and it is another odd choice from Huel. This was added as a natural source of vitamin B but may have a few other health benefits. Real kombucha is often caffeinated and alcoholic, so this is a bit different.
It feels a bit like Huel is trying to find some exciting ingredients to pad out their ingredients list. There’s nothing wrong with this, but there are easier ways to add vitamin B naturally.
Huel Chocolate Ingredients Review
This is a solid product from Huel. There is little to excite you, but no controversial ingredients either. Huel does exactly what it says it does. Perhaps the protein content could be a little higher, but there is the option of using Huel Black instead.
The protein, carbohydrate, and fat sources are all plant-based and well thought out. But where Huel falters slightly (in comparison to products such as Instant Knockout Complete and Rootana) is in creativity. The only ingredients that raise eyebrows are the acerola cherries and the kombucha.
We would prefer slightly better ingredients and perhaps a few more. It feels a little like Huel is resting on its laurels, and that if it isn’t a little more creative it could get left behind.
Benefits of Chocolate Huel
- High in protein
- Good fiber content
- Well-chosen healthy fats
- Reasonable price per serving
Negatives of Chocolate Huel
- Could benefit from more protein
- Uses artificial sweeteners
- One of the worst tasting meal replacements on the market
How to Take Chocolate Huel Powder
You can take Huel chocolate as a replacement for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Alternatively, if you are looking to build muscle, you can take it as a snack between meals. Preparing your shake is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Pour 500 ml of cold water into your shaker
- Add 2 scoops of Huel powder to the water
- Screw the lid tight and then shake thoroughly for 10 seconds
This will give you the normal Huel experience, but there are ways to improve the taste. Using cold water can help, or you can add in some ice cubes. Some people find that they prefer it when it is mixed and left in the refrigerator overnight.
You may prefer to drink shakes that have been blended in a blender instead, as this provides a smoother consistency. Adding more or less water can also help you to find the right consistency.
Some people even use their Huel to make a pretty decent cake batter, though vanilla powder works best for this. Protein cakes are a lot more fun, and can really excite the taste buds.
Is Chocolate Huel Safe?
None of the ingredients in chocolate flavored Huel is dangerous unless you have specific allergies. A tree nut allergy could be a problem as it contains coconuts, if you are gluten-intolerant or a coeliac then you should use the gluten-free version instead.
But allergies aside, the ingredients are all safe and effective. Some people did worry about the inclusion of kombucha as real kombucha has caffeine and alcohol in it, but the kombucha in Huel is caffeine and alcohol-free.
Chocolate Huel Alternatives
Though Huel is a perfectly fine meal replacement shake in its own right, there are a couple of really good alternatives that you should definitely consider. Instant Knockout Complete offers a really high protein meal, with a superior micronutrient blend, and a much better taste.
Then there is Rootana which provides a great shake without using any artificial sweeteners, it relies on coconut sugar for sweetness, and has a lovely vanilla taste. Rootana also has a chocolate shake, which uses cocoa powder as its main flavor.
Chocolate Flavor Huel: Final Thoughts
Huel Chocolate is a well-designed meal replacement shake that has decent protein, some excellent carb sources, and healthy fats in the form of MCT oil and flaxseed. It tastes terrible, mixes well, and is convenient. The price per serving is decent too.
Does Huel do anything that its competitors aren’t? Not really, as we’ve mentioned products such as Instant Knockout Complete and Rootana are starting to do things differently and could end up leaving Huel behind.
Where Huel fails is in the ingredients list, there just isn’t anything to intrigue or excite you. The acerola cherries and kombucha feel like a missed opportunity. They show the intent to shake things up, but they aren’t particularly effective ingredients.
Solid product, the flavor is awful though.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Huel Chocolate Gluten-Free?
No, the regular Huel range is not gluten-free as the oats contain gluten. However, Huel offers a gluten-free range which you can purchase instead. It has the same flavor options.
Does Huel Chocolate Contain Cocoa Powder?
Yes, there is 5.9% cocoa powder in the chocolate flavor of Huel.
Does Huel Chocolate Contain Artificial Sweeteners?
Yes, it contains sucralose, a zero-calorie sweetener. Splenda is the most well-known product to use sucralose as a sweetener. As you can probably guess from the name, sucralose is made from real sugar that has been changed to be up to 700x sweeter than sugar. Meaning that 1/700th is required to create the same taste.
Does Chocolate Huel Taste Nice?
The first taste of chocolate is great, which is always important. It’s all downhill from there though. Many people find the taste to be pretty terrible.
Is Chocolate Huel Good for Losing Weight?
Yes, all Huel meal replacements are effective at aiding weight loss, but they work best as part of a sensible diet and active lifestyle. The protein and fiber help you to stay full between meals, cutting down on snacking and making it easier to stay within a calorie deficit. Is the chocolate version better than the others? Not particularly, it all depends on what your taste buds enjoy.
Is Huel Chocolate Different to Vanilla Huel?
There are a couple of different ingredients, obviously, vanilla Huel does not contain cocoa powder. But nutritionally they are almost identical.