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Huel Ready-to-drink vs the BLT Sandwich

Let’s be honest, a BLT sandwich is one of the kings of the sandwich world, but just how well does it stack up against Huel Ready-to-drink? We have scrutinised the two from a nutritional perspective looking at the nutritional labels (see table below) and a little deeper to provide you with a fair comparison.

Per serving Ready-to-drink BLT sandwich
Energy (kcal) 400 423
Fat (g) 18.6 17.1
Saturates (g) 3.9 4.1
Carbohydrate (g) 33.9 43.4
Sugars (g) 4.3 5.5
Fibre (g) 5.7 4.9
Protein (g) 20 21.2
Salt (g) 0.7 2.0

Carbohydrates, Sugar and Fibre

Huel Ready-to-drink, when compared to a BLT (averaged from four major supermarkets[1]), has nearly 1g of fibre more per serving; this is great as fibre is beneficial for gut health and has several other positives such as helping to keep you feeling full. It’s recommended that we aim for 30g fibre per day[2].

Ready-to-drink is slightly lower in sugar, at about one teaspoon per bottle. Huel has a low glycaemic index (GI) of 25[3] as slow-release carbohydrates are used in the form of tapioca starch, oats and brown rice flour. White and brown bread have a high GI (above 70)[4].

Salt

A BLT has nearly three times the amount of salt per serving than Ready-to-drink. Some salt is essential, but too much can have negative consequences such as increased blood pressure[5]. As such, we are advised to limit the amount of salt we consume per day to 6g[2].

Protein

The level of protein between the two is similar, with a BLT having slightly more. Protein is critical for many bodily processes such as the immune response and the maintenance of normal bones and muscle mass[6]. Additionally, like fibre, protein is filling.

Fat

Huel Ready-to-drink is lower in saturated fat, but not by much. However, the saturated fat in Ready-to-drink is mainly in the form of Medium-Chain Triglycerides from coconut, and these are metabolised differently from longer-chain fatty acids and are not associated with cardiovascular disease[7]. Ready-to-drink has a good ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids (2:1) while a BLT does not.

Calories and Micronutrients

The amount of calories provided is similar. 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 BLT lacks certain vitamins and minerals. For example, it will only provide around 1% of the Recommended Intake (RI) for vitamin A and calcium while Ready-to-drink will give you 23% and 33% respectively. A BLT will also be low in iron (about 1%) and vitamin K (approximately 5%) versus 45% and 36% 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 RI of all 26 essential vitamins and minerals at 2,000kcal; you can read more here.

References

1.

RTD BLT
 Per serving
Tesco Sainsbury's Morrisons M&S Average
Energy (kcal) 400 405 417 406 462 423
Fat (g) 18.6 16.3 16.5 15.1 20.6 17.1
Saturates (g) 3.9 4.6 3.8 3.2 4.7 4.1
Carbohydrate (g) 33.9 44.1 43.1 40.3 46.2 43.4
Sugars (g) 4.3 6.5 6.7 4.3 4.5 5.5
Fibre (g) 5.7 4.8 5.1 4.9 4.9 4.9
Protein (g) 20 18.1 21.3 24.8 20.4 21.2
Salt (g) 0.7 1.9 1.47 2 2.5 2.0


2. Public Health England. Government recommendations for energy and nutrients for males and females aged 1–18 years and 19+ years. Department of Health; 2016.

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

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

5. He, F J and MacGregor, G A. Salt, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Current Opinion in Cardiology. 2007; 22(4):298-305.

6. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products N, et al. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to protein and increase in satiety leading to a reduction in energy intake (ID 414, 616, 730), contribution to the maintenance or achievement of a normal body weight (ID 414, 616, 730), maintenance of normal bone (ID 416) and growth or maintenance of muscle mass (ID 415, 417, 593, 594, 595, 715) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal. 2010; 8(10):1811.

7. Ward, D and English, J; NutritionReview.org. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) Date Accessed 25/03/19. [Available from: https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/].

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