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A Pilot Pre and Post 4 Week Intervention Evaluating the Effect of a Proprietary, Powdered, Plant Based Food on Micronutrient Status, Dietary Intake, and Markers of Health in a Healthy Adult Population

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matt WilcoxORCiD, Dr Peter Chater, Kyle Stanforth, Professor Jeffrey Pearson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © 2022 Wilcox, Chater, Stanforth, Williams, Brownlee and Pearson. Background: A “balanced, adequate, and varied diet” is recommended as the basis of nutritionally sound diet by the World Health Organisation and national public health agencies. Huel is a proprietary, on-the-go, powdered, plant based food, providing all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, protein, essential fats, carbohydrate, fibre, and phytonutrients. Objectives: Assessing the effect of solely consuming Huel on micronutrient status, dietary intake and markers of health was achieved through a 4-week intervention of solely Huel powder. Methods: Habitual energy intake was assessed through a one-week lead in period with healthy adult participants (aged 18 or over) logging their food intake, after which only Huel was consumed for 4 weeks. Blood samples and body composition was assessed before and after the lead in week as well the end of the intervention. Thirty participants were recruited with 20 (11 females, median age 31, range 22–44) completing the study, 19 sets of blood samples were collected. 22 blood markers were analysed along with weight, BMI, waist circumference, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and body composition. All blood micronutrients, except for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and choline were sent to Royal Victoria Infirmary NHS, Newcastle Laboratory (Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom) for analysis. Results: Fourteen of the parameters significantly changed over the course of the study with circulating haemoglobin, iron, vitamins B12 and D as well as selenium significantly increasing (p < 0.05). HbA1c, total and non-HDL cholesterol, vitamins A and E, potassium, BMI, VAT, and waist circumference all significantly decreased (p < 0.05) post intervention. Conclusion: Although energy intake decreased during the intervention period, the adherence to recommended micronutrient intake, as quantified by the dietary Total Adherence Score, significantly increased which tallies with the preservation or improvement of micronutrient status. This study potentially demonstrates that consuming only Huel for 4 weeks does not negatively affect micronutrient status.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wilcox MD, Chater PI, Stanforth KJ, Williams R, Brownlee IA, Pearson JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Nutrition

Year: 2022

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 11/07/2022

Acceptance date: 22/06/2022

Date deposited: 09/08/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2296-861X

Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation


DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2022.945622


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Funder referenceFunder name
Huel Ltd. and conducted by Aelius Biotech through Newcastle University’s Sports Centre