What is the new NHS liquid diet for those with type 2 diabetes?

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    THOUSANDS of people in England with type 2 diabetes are being offered the chance to try a new weight loss plan.

    Some 5,000 patients will get access to the soups and shakes diet programme on the NHS after trials showed it could reverse the condition.

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    Thousands with type 2 diabetes will be offered a new ‘soups and shakes’ dietCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    The government hopes that as well as helping people live happier, healthier lives, more action will save the health service money and free up staff time.

    Five million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes, which is caused when not enough insulin is made in the pancreas or it doesn’t work properly.

    It can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels which affects everyday life and in severe cases, it can lead to amputations and blindness.

    What is the new NHS diet?

    Patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years and meet other eligibility criteria will be offered a chance to try the new diet.

    It is a year-long plan which involves taking “total diet replacement products” such as shakes and soups for three months.

    Alongside this, they will be supported to increase their exercise levels, and helped to reintroduce ordinary, nutritious food to their diets, with ongoing advice from clinicians and coaches.

    It comes after trials showed that diet programme helped put diabetes into remission.

    A study in the UK in 2017 found that 46 per cent of those on an ultra low-calorie food replacement diet needed no medication a year later.

    The 800 calorie “liquid diet” – such as soups and shakes – was followed by 298 type 2 diabetics for three to five months.

    Some 70 per cent of those were still in remission two years later and maintained an average weight loss of 1.5st (10.4kg).

    What is type 2 diabetes?

    Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease – accounting for between 85 and 95 per cent of all cases, according to Diabetes UK.

    It develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin.

    It can also be triggered when the insulin that is produced doesn’t work properly.

    Typically, people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes from the age of 40, but there are some exceptions.

    In people from southern Asia the disease can appear as early as 25.

    And the condition is becoming more prevalent in children, teenagers of all ethnicities.

    Experts suggest the rising rates of type 2 diabetes is due to the obesity epidemic – a key cause of type 2 diabetes.

    Type 2 diabetes can be treated with drugs, and many people can reverse their condition by adopting a healthy lifestyle – a healthy diet and exercise.

    Where is the NHS type 2 diabetes diet available?

    The diet programme, hailed as “life-changing” by the NHS, is being launched today, September 1.

    It will be rolled out initially to patients in 10 areas of England.

    These sites include:

    • North East and Yorkshire: South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw ICS and Humber Coast & Vale
    • North West: Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership
    • South East: Frimley Health and Care STP
    • South West: Gloucestershire STP
    • Midlands (West and East): Derbyshire and Birmingham and Solihull STP
    • East of England: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK)
    • London: North East London and North Central London

    Has anyone tried the diet yet?

    Trials have been underway before the NHS finally was able to roll it out to the general public.

    Bev, who has type 2 diabetes, was one of the first patients to benefit from the diets during trials.

    She said: “My goal for the first eight weeks of the low calorie diet was to lose five per cent of my body weight – which I achieved in six weeks.

    “In total I’ve lost over 10kgs, my Type 2 diabetes is now in remission and I no longer have to take any medication – I am over the moon.

    “Since the low-calorie diet programme, my mind set has totally changed for the better and I look at food differently now – my shopping habits are far healthier and, when I eat out, I’ll go for a healthier option.

    “The programme has taught me moderation.

    “My skin is clearer, and people say that I’ve got my sparkle back – I didn’t realise that I’d lost it but now I see that I definitely had.

    “I can honestly say that the low-calorie diet programme changed my life for the better.”

    Why is the diet being launched?

    Treatment for diabetes patients is believed to cost the NHS around £10billion a year.

    Data from the health service also suggests that one in twenty prescriptions written by GPs are for the treatment of diabetes.

    It comes just a month after the NHS launched its Better Health scheme, to help the nation tackle the ongoing obesity crisis.

    Obesity is now understood to be one of the biggest risk factors for those that go on to develop severe coronavirus.

    Meanwhile, a third of people who died in hospital with Covid-19 had diabetes, according to Public Health England data – and more than 12.3 million people in the UK are at risk of developing the disease.

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    As we head towards winter, tackling the crisis has never been more important, officials say.

    Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity said: “There has never been a more important time to lose weight and put their Type 2 diabetes into remission, so it’s good news for thousands of people across the country that practical, measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.”

    The programme is in addition to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which has had over 600,000 referrals into the scheme.

    Thousands of Brits to benefit from soups and shakes diet on the NHS as government tackles type 2 diabetes

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