Thousands of diabetes patients to be given 'life-changing' soups and shakes diet
The NHS will provide thousands of type 2 diabetes patients with a diet of soups and shakes after studies showed it helped reverse the condition in almost half of cases.
Some 5,000 diabetics will be given access to the year-long programme which includes ‘total diet replacement products’, such as specially formulated low-calorie shakes and soups, as well as support to increase their exercise levels. They will also receive help to reintroduce ordinary, nutritious food to their diets, with ongoing advice from clinicians and coaches.
The ‘life-changing’ scheme comes after a trial in 2017 found that 46% of patients who undertook the plan saw their type 2 diabetes go into remission after a year.
NHS England said that as well as helping people live happier, healthier lives, more action to tackle obesity and diabetes will save the health service money and free up staff time.
Earlier this summer, it was announced people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes would be able to self-refer to specialist services in a bid to curb one of the biggest risk factors in Covid-19 deaths.
A third of people who died in hospital with the virus 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.
The diet programme will be rolled out initially to patients in 10 areas of England.
Discussing the programme on GMB this morning, Dr Hilary Jones said the scheme was ‘really exciting’ because ‘we know that patients with type 2 diabetes who lose weight can go into remission.’
He also highlighted the fact that the disease costs the UK around £10 billion per year – some 10% of the NHS budget, adding: ‘So if we can make people feel healthier, feel better in themselves and save some of that money for the NHS then we’re on to a winner.’
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: ‘This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long-Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.
‘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, supportive measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.’
Bridget Turner, director of policy campaigns and improvement at Diabetes UK, said the programme is ‘an important first step’ for patients to access a remission programme within the NHS.
She said: ‘We know that some people with type 2 diabetes want and need support from healthcare professionals to lose weight effectively, and now as these programmes are piloted across the NHS they will.
‘People with type 2 diabetes who have put their diabetes into remission frequently tell us how it has changed their lives.
‘We are so pleased to see that others will now have the same opportunity and hope that it won’t be too long before more remission programmes are rolled out across the country.’
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