Thousands more people with diabetes will be able to access the NHS soup and shake diet as it rolls out to more parts of the country.
First launched in 2020, NHS England says the diet’s aim is to help people with diabetes lose weight and could help them achieve remission from their type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, while nearly one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment.
What is the soup and shake diet?
Endorsed and supervised by doctors and trainers, the year-long plan aims to fuel weight loss through low-calorie, dietary replacement products such as shakes and soups for the first three months.
After this, people will be offered a managed plan to reintroduce healthy and nutritious foods. They can track their progress through virtual one-on-one sessions, group sessions, and digital support.
People eligible for the diet will be referred by their GP and receive free low-calorie shakes and soups on the NHS for three months.
Who is eligible for the plan?
People eligible for the plan must:
- be between 18 and 65 years old,
- have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes within the past 6 years, and
- having a BMI greater than 27 kg/m2 (when people are from white ethnic groups) or greater than 25 kg/m2 (when people are from black, Asian, and other ethnic groups)
To what extent has access to the dietary program been expanded?
The diet had previously been offered in:
- Luton and Milton Keynes
- Birmingham and Solihull
- Greater Manchester
- Humber Coast and Vale
- north central london
- North East London
- South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
It will now be extended to 11 other areas:
- North East and North Cumbria
- West Yorkshire
- Lancashire and South Cumbria
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- midlands region
- Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
- Middle and South Essex
- South West London
- Kent and Medways
What has the investigation found about the plan?
According to NHS England, early data from the program showed participants lost 7.2kg (more than one stone) on average after one month and 13.4kg (more than two stones) after three months.
Data released today also shows that people on the program who eat and drink the low-calorie alternatives lose weight and keep it off over time.
NHS England says this is significant as trials showed that around half of people who had similar weight loss were able to achieve remission of their type 2 diabetes after one year.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, clinical director of diabetes and obesity at NHS England, said the results achieved through the program were “encouraging” and “show that real-world experience is in line with what we have found in trials.” .
He added: “We know that this weight loss will go a long way in helping people stay healthy and avoid preventable diseases, and for many it will also mean they can put type 2 diabetes into remission.”
Chris Askew, CEO of Diabetes UK, said the charity was “delighted” to see the scheme expanded.
“Remission can be life-changing, giving people a better chance at a healthier future.”
The further launch of the programme, he said, “means that many more people in England living with overweight type 2 diabetes will have the opportunity to get the support they need to go into remission.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.