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The programme has seen people lose an average 7.2kg (more than 1 stone) after a month and 13.4kg (just over 2 stone) after three months
Type 2 diabetics with a body mass index over 27 will be able to apply for the NHS Soups and Shakes diet (image: Getty Images)
NHS England’s Soup and Shake diet plan will have its roll out expanded to new regions, the health service has announced.
Designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, the food and drink programme has seen participants achieve dramatic weight loss over a short period of time.
Previous medical studies of similar diets suggest participants could even see their diabetes go into remission by following the plan.
While quick weight loss diets are often frowned upon by dietitians, they are recommended when they are followed in conjunction with professional medical advice.
So how does the diet work, what kind of food and drink do you consume – and what results has the plan had?
Here’s what you need to know.
The NHS Soup and Shake plan involves replacing meals with soups and shakes for a period of three months.
These items are set to become available for free on the NHS for people aged 18 to 65 who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last six years and have a body mass index (BMI) over 27 (or over 25 in people of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin).
While this sort of diet is not revolutionary in itself, the wider package the meal replacement products come with is.
For the NHS is set to give participants support from clinicians and coaches through virtual one-to-one appointments, online help and groups.
After the three month diet period comes to an end, they will then be provided with a programme that reintroduces healthy, nutritious food and will continue to receive advice.
The diet programme is only available in England for the time being.
Here is a full list of regions you can access the plan:
More than 2,000 people with Type 2 diabetes have taken part in the NHS soups and shakes diet programme thus far.
On average, each participant lost 7.2kg (1st 1lb) after a month and 13.4kg (2st 1lb) after three months.
NHS England said data from a study of participants taken three months after the programme ended suggests that those who follow the plan are able to keep the weight off over time.
Previous clinical data has shown that roughly half of people who lose weight on similar diets were able to achieve remission from their Type 2 diabetes after 12 months.
“We know this weight loss will go a long way to help people stay well and avoid preventable illness, and for many will also mean they can put Type 2 diabetes into remission,” said Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity.
“This is also the latest example of the NHS rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people with Type 2 diabetes live well.
“With research showing that obesity causes more severe illness from Covid-19, as well as other serious diseases, there has never been a more important time to lose weight.”
The treatment could also stand to ease the financial burden on the NHS.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the health service £10bn a year, with the condition responsible for one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs.
Some of those who have been on the NHS Soup and Shake programme have spoken out about how the diet helped them.
Nadeem Akhtar, 49, from Sheffield, has lost more than 19kg (over 3 stone) since starting the plan and has put his Type 2 diabetes into remission.
“I lost my mum to diabetes, which was devastating. It really showed me just how destructive this disease can be and I really didn’t want to go down the same path,” he told the PA news agency.
“Being on the plan is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family.
”It was hard at first, but my health coach was so understanding and really helped me through the difficult times and keep up healthier habits.”
Karen Bradbury, 50, from Derbyshire, started the programme in 2021 after her nurse warned her she would have to go on daily medication if she couldn’t lower her blood sugar levels.
“I have battled with my weight on and off over the years and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes,” she said.
“Since being on the low calorie diet programme, I have felt totally supported by the practitioners and all the tools available.
“I’ve learnt loads about Type 2 diabetes and how to manage stress and habits with food.
“I feel so much healthier. I have lost 5st 3.5lbs (over 33kg) and my blood sugar levels have nearly halved – which meant I didn’t have to start medication.”
Ms Bradbury has also enjoyed other health benefits as a result of the diet plan.
“My energy levels have increased substantially, and I am now swimming three to four times a week and walking every day,” she revealed.
“I used to wake up to 10 times a night to use the bathroom, I was thirsty all the time, exhausted and generally felt unwell.
“Now I sleep soundly all night and feel less tired during the day. My mental health has also improved. I feel better and I’m living better for me and my children. I’m so grateful that I was offered this opportunity.”
If you live in England, meet the criteria and want to enroll on the NHS Soup and Shake plan, you should contact your GP.
Reporting by PA
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