Nutritionist warns against breakfast cereals when trying to lose weight – ‘Not healthy!’

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For some, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for others, they simple cannot eat it and wait until lunchtime to break an overnight fast. spoke exclusively to James Collier, Co-Founder and Head of Sustainable Nutrition at Huel about the benefits of having breakfast and the best foods you should be eating first thing in the morning if you want to lose weight or are on a weight loss journey. 

Summing up Huel in one sentence, James said: “Huel is nutritionally complete food in a convenient form that contains all essential nutrients.” 

He went onto explain why Huel was set up: “Julian [Hearn] who is the main founder of Huel found that sometimes preparing food can be quite an arduous task, and time consuming. 

“For that reason, people are going to less nutritious alternatives, just because they’re quick and convenient and fill a gap. 

“So if we can satisfy convenience with something that’s healthy, then that solves that problem. So I was contacted as a nutritionist seven years ago, and we went from there.” 

As for what makes Huel different from other brands, the nutritionist explained: “Huel is in a growing space, there are some other [competitors] out there. But primarily ours are vegan suitable – others aren’t. 

“And also, the choices of ingredients rather are optimal for keeping people full, providing good nutrition is the best forms of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, and it’s convenient and tasty.

Shop Huel nutrition here.

“It’s also designed by professional, nutritionists,” James added. 

Huel’s main products are powders which you add water to and some have raised concerns about being on a full or part liquid diet when trying to lose weight. 

James’ response was: “People can have Huel as much or as little as they’d like to fit in with their lifestyle, routine. 

“So, we don’t like the term meal replacement, because you wouldn’t say ‘I’m not going to have fish and chips tonight, I’m going to replace it with a pizza’. 

“Same as you wouldn’t replace Huel with fish and chips and vice versa. You’d have Huel or fish and chips. 

“We don’t just do the powdered foods, we’ve got the ready to drink, we’ve also got bars as well, and our hot and savoury products, which is something that you use hot water, leave for a few minutes and eat with a spoon so it’s closer to what people recognise as food,” he revealed. 

In terms of the benefits of breakfasts versus fasting until mid-morning or lunchtime, James said: “Some people get on well with fast, but obviously it depends on the time you’ve had the last meal of the previous day, if you’ve had it about five o’clock, then having breakfast can be more advantageous. 

“But you’ve just fasted for a long time, most people fast for at least 12 hours, so it provides nutrients first thing to give people energy. 

“Obviously the right sort of breakfast is ideal,” he continued. “If you’re just going to have sugar filled with a high glycemic index, which is basically the speed that carbs breakdown, cereals, that’s not going to be very filling. 

“Some people like a 16 hour fast as they used to that, maybe they’re better adapted to it and that’s fine. 

“Getting some nourishment can sort of help stabilise blood sugar levels. 

“But as I mentioned, it’s got to be the right source. The breakfast cereals which are available are often dressed up to be healthy – the addition of B vitamins and iron on the label – but really, the carbs that they’re made out of break down really quickly, so it’s going to cause an energy surge after a period of fasting, and then that then you’re going to get the slump,” James explained. 

So what are the best foods you should be having for breakfast? 

James said: “​​There are some good breakfast cereals out there that they have with milk and some with fruit. Even granary bread with natural peanut butter and some fruit can be okay. 

“But from Huel we’ve got our powders, either the white powder which is the natural original formula is great because that’s based on oats and slow to break down. 

“And we’ve got our black edition, which has a higher protein level, which can help keep getting more full and lower carbs and it’s got all the essential essential vitamins and minerals, they’ll keep you going throughout the day.” 

James Collier is a Registered Nutritionist, Co-Founder and Head of Sustainable Nutrition at world leading nutritionally complete food brand Huel. With 27 years’ experience in nutrition, James is the creator of the Huel formula that provides 26 essential vitamins and minerals, protein, essential fats, carbs, fibre and phytonutrients the body needs.   

Huel’s breakfast options

Huel Powder v3.0 – Huel Powder v3.0 is a nutritionally complete meal in powdered form. Just mix with water in the free shaker provided and consume. It’s nutritious food ready in under a minute with flavours that include Vanilla, Banana, Chocolate, Berry, Mint Chocolate, Coffee and Salted Caramel. From £1.32 per meal, each pouch contains 17 meals, and customers can scale portions up or down to whatever size they need.

Huel Black Edition – Huel Black Edition is packed with 33 percent more protein than Huel Powder v3.0. Ready to go in under a minute, and a lower-carb option as compared to Huel Powder v3.0, it is perfect for those who want to spend less time in the kitchen. Flavours include Vanilla, Coffee Caramel, Chocolate, Banana, Salted Caramel and Strawberries & Cream. From £1.47 per meal, each pouch contains 17 meals but portions are totally flexible.

Huel’s guide to fat loss

“There are no quick and easy fixes for fat loss, but it can be simple,” Huel says. 

The first thing that needs to be done is defining your goal, “most people say they want to lose weight but what does this mean? When we commonly talk about losing weight, we really mean that the goal is to lose fat.” 

How do I lose fat? 

To lose or burn fat you need to consume fewer calories than your body uses. 

When your body doesn’t have enough calories for energy it uses the energy stored as glycogen in your muscle first, then your fat stores. 

Huel recommends you aim to lose one pound of fat per week, any more and it gets hard; see the numbers below:

  • To lose 1lb of fat per week you need to consume a deficit of 500kcal per day
  • To lose 2lb of fat per week you need to consume a deficit of 1,000kcal per day (this is very tough and not recommended)

Huel also explains how it is important to get all essential nutrients in your diet: “Your health is vitally important, not just your waistline.” 

The “best diet is the one you can stick to”, the brand adds. 

Shop Huel here.

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