Very low calorie diets trialled by NHS to tackle diabetes

December 7, 2018, Newcastle University
Very low calorie diets trialled by NHS to tackle diabetes
Credit: Newcastle University

Hundreds of thousands of people will receive NHS help to battle obesity and type 2 diabetes under radical action set out by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

Very low calorie diets that have been shown to put type 2 diabetes in remission in those recently diagnosed with the condition in research led by Newcastle University. These will now be trialled as part of the NHS long term plan, which will increase the focus on prevention as well as treatment.

The moves will not just improve the health of patients but also save the NHS money that can be reinvested in frontline care. Currently, the health service in England spends around 10 percent of its budget on treating diabetes.

Simon Stevens announced that very low calorie diets will be piloted at scale by the NHS for the first time, from next year.

Patients who will be prescribed a liquid diet of just over 800 calories a day for three months and then a period of follow up support to help achieve remission of their type 2 diabetes.

This approach will initially be piloted in up to 5,000 people following the Diabetes UK funded DiRECT trial, where almost half of those who went on a very low calorie diet achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes after one year. A quarter of participants achieved a staggering 15 kg or more , and of these, 86 percent put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

A more recent trial of very low calorie diets, DROPLET, has demonstrated similar weight loss in obese individuals.

Simon Stevens said: "The NHS is now going to be ramping up practical action to support hundreds of thousands people avoid obesity-induced heart attacks, strokes, cancers and type 2 diabetes. The NHS Long Term Plan is going to give people the power and the support to take control of their own lifestyles – so that they can help themselves while also helping the NHS.

"Because what's good for our waistlines is also good for our wallets, given the huge costs to all of us as taxpayers from these largely preventable illnesses. However this isn't a battle that the NHS can win on its own. The NHS pound will go further if the also takes action to cut junk calories and added sugar and salt from processed food, TV suppers and fast food takeaways."

Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2, which is closely linked to obesity and obesity can lead to a string of serious illnesses, including 13 types of cancer.

Recent projections also show that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke.

Professor Roy Taylor, co-chief investigator of the DiRECT study, said: "This is a hugely important step forward for the NHS, allowing people with type 2 diabetes to return to full health. This approach has gradually been taken up by doctors, nurses and dieticians, but now practical support will be provided."

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director of Diabetes and Obesity for the NHS in England said: "Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of type 2 diabetes that we are now focusing huge efforts to address.

"Our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results and today's announcement will allow us to go even further – it will help patients who have type 2 diabetes to achieve remission and importantly, help more of those who are at risk to not get it in the first place."

Chris Askew is Chief Executive of Diabetes UK. He said: "The first year results of Diabetes UK DiRECT study showed that – for some people with type 2 diabetes – an intensive, low-calorie weight loss programme delivered with ongoing support through primary care could put their condition into remission. While this ground-breaking study continues to explore how long-lasting these benefits are, we are delighted that NHS England have been inspired by this work to pilot a Type 2 remission programme through the NHS.

"Plans to double the size of the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme are excellent news. The programme is already the largest of its kind globally, and shows England to be a world leader in this area. The ambition being shown by the NHS needs to be matched across all government policy – we need stronger action on marketing to children, and clearer nutritional labelling to support people to make healthy choices.

"We look forward to working alongside NHS England to shape how both these bold initiatives will work in practice, and seeing the positive impact these decisions will have on the health of those at risk of – or living with – type 2 ."

Explore further: Alcohol intake may be key to long-term weight loss for people with diabetes

Related Stories

Alcohol intake may be key to long-term weight loss for people with diabetes

December 3, 2018
Research shows that losing weight can help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. While best practice for weight loss often includes decreasing or eliminating calories from alcohol, few studies examine whether people who ...

Type 2 diabetes is not for life

December 5, 2017
Almost half of the patients with Type 2 diabetes supported by their GPs on a weight loss programme were able to reverse their diabetes in a year, a study has found.

Women and men experience different benefits from low-calorie diets

August 8, 2018
A low-calorie diet causes different metabolic effects in women than in men, a new Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism study suggests.

World-first study shows benefits of 5:2 diet for people with diabetes

July 23, 2018
People with type 2 diabetes are just as likely to lose weight and control their blood glucose levels if they follow a 5:2 diet than an ongoing daily calorie-restricted diet, according to a world-first study by University ...

Losing weight can reverse type 2 diabetes, but is rarely achieved or recorded

September 13, 2017
Type 2 diabetes is generally perceived as progressive and incurable, but for many patients it can be reversed with sustained weight loss of around 15 kg, say experts in The BMJ today.

New ammunition in the fight against type 2 diabetes

April 7, 2014
Gastric banding can play a vital role in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight and not obese, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes

December 11, 2018
Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes.

Millions of low-risk people with diabetes may be testing their blood sugar too often

December 10, 2018
For people with Type 2 diabetes, the task of testing their blood sugar with a fingertip prick and a drop of blood on a special strip of paper becomes part of everyday life.

Very low calorie diets trialled by NHS to tackle diabetes

December 7, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of people will receive NHS help to battle obesity and type 2 diabetes under radical action set out by Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England.

New therapeutic avenue for type 2 diabetes

December 6, 2018
Restoring the action of insulin is one of the keys to fighting type 2 diabetes. Researchers from Inserm led by Dominique Langin at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases (Inserm/Université de Toulouse) are ...

Subtype of immune B cells can delay type 1 diabetes onset in mice

December 6, 2018
A team of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan Medical School reports today in the JCI Insight that a subset of immune B cells, known as CD19+IgM+ B cells, can delay the onset of type 1 ...

Is the pancreas regeneration debate settled? An original theory renewed

December 5, 2018
A contentious debate among diabetes researchers has surrounded the regeneration of pancreatic insulin-producing cells: not if these cells regenerate, but rather how.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Anonym230660
not rated yet Dec 07, 2018
I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on June 26th, 2017. I started the some diet and followed it 100% for a few weeks and could not get my blood sugar to go below 140. Finally i began to panic and called my doctor, he told me to get used to it. He said I would be on metformin my whole life and eventually insulin. At that point i knew something wasn't right and began to do a lot of research. Then I found Ella's diabetes story (google " How Ella freed diabetes " ) I read that article from end to end because everything the writer was saying made absolute sense. I started the diet that day and the next week my blood sugar was down to 100 and now i have a fasting blood sugar between Mid 70's and the 80's. My doctor took me off the metformin after just three week of being on this lifestyle change. I have lost over 16 pounds and 3+ inches around my waist in a month.
Anonym518498
1 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2018
starve 'em to death
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Dec 10, 2018
I am about 6 weeks into a "keto diet" where carbs are almost eliminated, but otherwise I eat whatever I want when I want. Been losing 1kg per week so far, with a targeted loss of between 10 and 15kg of fat (down to 10% body fat). Coupled with gym pushing weights 4 times a week, I'm starting to look good! Also have more energy.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.