People with type 2 diabetes will be entitled to free soups and shakes from the NHS - here’s why

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 4:06 pm
NHS England is trying to tackle type 2 diabetes with plans to encourage some of those with the condition to undertake a soup and shakes weight-loss plan (Photo: Shutterstock)

NHS England is trying to tackle type 2 diabetes with plans to encourage some of those with the condition to undertake a soup and shakes weight-loss plan.

NHS England trial

The chance of developing type 2 diabetes is greatly increased by being overweight.

The NHS explains, “Losing weight (if you're overweight) will make it easier for your body to lower your blood sugar level, and can improve your blood pressure and cholesterol.”

However, a recent NHS England trial, made up of 5,000 patients, has shown that almost half of people who undertook the weight loss plan saw their type 2 diabetes go into remission after one year.

Patients who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years and meet other eligibility criteria will now be given so-called "total diet replacement products", including shakes and soups for a three month period, as part of a year-long plan.

Patients will also be supported in increasing their exercise levels, alongside being helped to reintroduce nutritious food to their diets. They will also receive ongoing advice from clinicians and coaches.

The NHS England diet programme will be initially rolled out to patients in 10 areas of England.

‘You can prevent most cases of diabetes’

This diet plan comes as a new study found that most cases of type 2 diabetes could be reversed if a sufferer's body mass index (BMI) is kept under a certain level.

Professor Brian Ference, from Cambridge University, said that the study's findings, which were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, could have important implications for screening, prevention and treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Prof Ference said: "This suggests that when people cross a certain BMI threshold, their chances of diabetes go up and stay at that same high-risk level regardless of how long they are overweight.

"You can prevent most cases of diabetes by keeping BMI below a person's threshold."

Researchers are now working on a way to estimate a person's threshold, with Prof Ference saying that he hopes for results on this by early next year.