NHS trials 'soups and shakes diet' for patients in Luton and Bedfordshire to combat Type 2 diabetes

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The NHS is trialling a soups and shakes diet for patients across Bedfordshire in a bid to combat diabetes.

The very-low-calorie diet and lifestyle plans have been shown to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for people recently diagnosed with the condition.

It will now be provided to 5,000 more patients in 10 areas including Luton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes as the next stage in an NHS drive to increase access to the life-changing programme.

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Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, while almost one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment.

Soup     (stock image)Soup     (stock image)
Soup (stock image)

Dr Nashat Qamar, GP lead for the pilot, said: “We are excited to be selected as one of the pilot sites for the low-calorie diet which gives our patients the opportunity to participate in an evidence-based intervention aimed at reversing diabetes and sustained weight loss.

“There has never been a more important time for people to lose weight and put their Type 2 diabetes into remission, so it’s good news for patients in the midlands that practical measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.”

The year-long plans will see those who could benefit provided with ‘total diet replacement products’, such as specially formulated low calorie shakes and soups, for three months, alongside support to increase their exercise levels.

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To help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid complications linked to obesity patients will also be offered managed plans for reintroducing ordinary, nutritious food, with ongoing support from clinicians and coaches after that.

Results from one trial showed almost half of those who went on the reduced calorie diet achieved remission of their Type 2 diabetes after one year.

NHS research earlier this year revealed people with Type 2 diabetes are two times more at risk of dying from coronavirus.

A further study published last week by the University of North Carolina found that people with obesity are 113% more likely to be admitted to hospital with coronavirus and 74% more likely to need intensive care treatment.

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As well as helping individuals lead happier and healthier lives, enhanced action on obesity and diabetes is also expected to save the NHS money and free up staff time.

The sites rolling out the low-calorie diet programme are:

• Midlands (West and East): Derbyshire and Birmingham and Solihull STP

• 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

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• East of England: Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK)

• London: North East London and North Central London

Sites across the country will test evidence from the original trials in a ‘real world’ implementation during a 12-month treatment course.