In this Huel Black review, we will be taking an in-depth look at a meal replacement shake that promises superb fat loss results. But does Huel Black rank in our all-time list? Check out our best meal replacement shake article to find out.
Huel Black is a high-protein and low-carb meal replacement shake that comes from the UK-based company Huel. On the surface, a higher protein version of Huel sounds like a great idea, but how good is Huel Black? And are there better alternatives out there?
Huel Black at a Glance
Huel Black contains 400 calories, with 18 grams of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrates, and 40 grams of protein. There are also 8.3 grams of fibre per serving.
Because fat contains more calories per gram than protein (9 cals per gram vs 4 cals per gram), Huel Black derives more calories from its fat content (162) than it does from its protein content (160). This is not a big deal, but it is important to note that Huel Black is a high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb meal replacement shake. Rather than just a high-protein meal replacement.
As almost all meal replacement shakes contain lots of healthy fats, you should not be put off by this fact. But knowing this helps to distinguish Huel Black from regular protein shakes. Which is something that many people get confused with.
- Very high in protein
- High in fibre
- Nice cost per serving
- Lots of flavours to choose from
- Digestive issues are common
- The taste is pretty poor
- Ineffective ingredients such as green tea extract
Huel Black Background
Huel was one of the vanguards of meal replacement shake companies, alongside Soylent, who wrestled the market away from Herbalife and other low-quality products. Huel started off with their original formula, which is 400 calories and contains a fairly standard split of protein, carbs, and fats.
The important thing to know about Huel original is that it is not marketed as a weight loss shake. It is instead seen as quick and healthy food. Huel wants you to see their original shakes in the same way as you would see a sandwich or a main meal.
Huel Black was designed to appeal to the weight loss market, and as such, it has had the carbohydrates significantly reduced from 37 grams per serving to 16 grams. Protein has been increased from 30 grams per serving to 40 grams, and fat has increased from 13 grams to 18 grams.
But Huel Black is still 400 calories per serving, so if you made the switch from original to Black, your calorie intake would be identical. The increased protein may help to raise your metabolism slightly, but the difference will be minimal.
Huel Black can certainly be used as part of a weight loss diet, but so can original Huel and most meal replacement shakes. The increased protein can help with preserving muscle mass and even building muscle, but the 30 grams contained in Huel Original would also be able to achieve this.
Huel Black Review: Ingredients
There are quite a few ingredients in Huel Black. It has almost all of the ingredients found in regular Huel (except for oat flour) plus a couple of additional ingredients (green tea extract and kombucha powder).
The oats are removed to lower the carbohydrate content, and we suspect that Huel Black has more pea and brown rice protein in it than Huel. Huel Black also uses coconut sugars for sweetness rather than artificial sweeteners. Something that Rootana has also done.
Pea protein is the primary source of protein in Huel Black, and it is an excellent plant-based protein source. Many scientists claim that pea protein is better for the environment than most protein sources, it is very high in quality thanks to its complete amino acid profile, and it can be digested and absorbed relatively easily. This is an excellent ingredient.
Flaxseed is a wonderful plant-based ingredient and is used by meal replacement shakes to provide the building blocks for omega-3 fatty acids. Most sources of omega-3 come from fatty fish, which is a no-go for vegans, so flaxseed is a great choice.
Omega-3 fatty acids provide many benefits. For example, they can help to prevent high blood pressure by reducing cholesterol and arterial plaque build-up . Omega-3 fatty acids can also help to lower inflammation, making them ideal for anyone who exercises regularly and dislikes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) .
Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice protein is a decent plant-based protein source in its own right, but when combined with pea protein, it becomes superb. This is because pea protein is almost perfect except for a slightly low amount of the amino acid methionine, and brown rice protein is rich in methionine.
So why not just use brown rice protein? Because brown rice protein is low in lysine, one of the most crucial amino acids when it comes to building muscle. Luckily, pea protein is rich in lysine. They are a synergistic pair.
This is used as Huel Black’s main carbohydrate and fibre source and is used instead of oat flour. The truth is that tapioca flour is a poor replacement, with little nutritional benefit and none of the oaty taste that is so popular with customers.
Don’t let the inclusion of MCT powder fool you. The main source of healthy fats in Huel Black is sunflower oil. Not that there is anything wrong with sunflower oil, but it certainly doesn’t have the same buzz surrounding it.
Sunflower oil is a sensible choice for meal replacement shakes. It mixes well with the other ingredients, contains high levels of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, and is rich in antioxidants.
Coconut sugars are a great choice for natural sweetness, and many people who dislike artificial sweeteners (such as the sucralose found in Huel Original) will be very pleased to see this.
Huel Black contains all of the vitamins and minerals required to lead a healthy lifestyle. Most of them are found in the micronutrient blend. There’s not much to say about it, really. It is very high in vitamin D (80% of your recommended daily intake) and also has a lot of vitamin C (75%).
MCT Oil Powder
While MCT powder can be quite an exciting ingredient, Huel Black only contains 1.1 grams of it per serving. This contributes around 7-10 calories out of 400 calories, a minuscule amount. This is a shame because there is a lot to like about MCT powder, Instant Knockout Complete uses this as its main fat source, and it can be great for fat burning.
Green Tea Extract
Theoretically, adding green tea extract to Huel Black will help with fat burning. But there is an issue here. A standard dosage of green tea extract (50% EGCG) would be 400-500 mg per day , but Huel Black only contains 130 mg.
Huel’s website claims that the green tea extract used contains just 20% EGCG (the active ingredient in green tea extract). For reference, a good percentage is around 50%.
So, an effective dosage of green tea extract would have 50% EGCG and be dosed at around 400-500 mg. That means that there would be 200-250 mg of EGCG. In comparison, Huel Black would contain 26 mg of EGCG. In other words, the dosage and quality are too low to be effective.
As far as we can tell, the only purpose of kombucha powder is to provide Huel Black with natural vitamin C. This is perfectly reasonable, and although real kombucha contains alcohol, there is no alcohol in Huel Black. It’s an odd choice, and there are better sources out there, but there are no particular downsides to its inclusion.
These have been added to help you digest Huel Black better. They are fairly common in meal replacement shakes and have no real side effects.
Does Huel Black Work?
Yes, it is fair to say that Huel Black works, in as much as any meal replacement shake “works”. It contains a lot of protein and is quite high in fibre despite its low carbohydrate content. This makes it effective as a weight loss product, provided that you are following a calorie-deficit diet.
Huel Black Side Effects: Is Huel Black Safe?
Yes, there is a small amount of caffeine in Huel Black thanks to the inclusion of green tea extract, but it would be unnoticeable for anyone who habitually drinks tea or coffee, and there are unlikely to be any side effects. No other ingredient is in any way controversial.
Huel Black Alternatives
There are a couple of good alternatives to Huel Black. Rootana is very similar in that it avoids artificial sweeteners, but it is a more well-rounded shake with a good amount of carbohydrates and fibre.
Instant Knockout Complete is a better version of Huel Black, in our opinion. It sets out to offer similar weight loss results, but uses higher-quality ingredients, has a better macronutrient ratio, and can be combined with Instant Knockout Cut for a fat-burning double-whammy.
Huel Black Review
Huel Black is a seriously good meal replacement shake for anyone looking to preserve muscle mass while losing weight. But the taste is famously bad compared to regular Huel, and the lack of carbohydrates will prove challenging for many.
If you are looking to follow a high-protein and low-carb diet, then this may be a good shake to choose. However, low-carb diets are overrated as a long-term solution to weight management, and they require a lot of sacrifices.
You would probably be better off using regular Huel or trying Rootana or Instant Knockout Complete. That being said, if you do decide to try Huel Black, you can expect decent results over time and a pretty good shake experience overall.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Huel Black worth it?
If you enjoy Huel but you are looking for a higher protein version, then Huel Black is worth checking out. It is by no means the best meal replacement shake for weight loss, but it does a good job.
Should you buy Huel or Huel Black?
Huel original is a better all-rounder, which tastes nicer and gives a more well-rounded experience. In comparison, Huel Black is designed for weight loss and has almost no carbohydrates. Most people will do better with Huel original, but some people will perform better with Huel Black.
How many calories are there in Huel Black?
There are 400 calories in Huel Black, which is the same number as Huel original. What Huel have done is not to change the overall calories but to fine-tune the macronutrient ratios. Lowering carbs and increasing protein.
Will Huel Black help me to lose weight?
There is a lot of evidence that you can lose weight fast following a high-protein, low-carb diet, so Huel Black should help you to lose weight, provided you are taking it as part of a well-designed calorie-deficit diet. Long-term, low-carb diets are often found to be unsustainable, so switching back to regular Huel might be a good idea.
Can I build muscle using Huel Black?
Yes, you can, thanks to the high protein content. However, many people find it easier to train hard and build muscle when they consume carbohydrates, so you may actually find it a little more difficult than you would with regular Huel or a competitor such as Instant Knockout Complete.