A soup and shake diet launched on the NHS could reverse type 2 diabetes for at least five years, new research has shown.
About a quarter of people in remission from diabetes two years after starting a low-calorie diet were still free of the condition three years later.
Experts say this is further evidence that lifestyle changes rather than medication can help beat the disease, which was described last week as a ‘rapidly worsening crisis’ in the UK.
They believe that weight loss and its prevention are key to curing the serious condition, which has grown in tandem with obesity rates over the past decade.
The latest findings are a continuation of the original trial that found cases of diabetes reduced by nearly half in those who followed the one-year program.
Under the program, participants are given a low-calorie, nutrient-complete soup and shake diet of about 800 calories per day for between 12 and 20 weeks. They also receive support from a nurse or dietician to reintroduce healthy foods and maintain weight loss while medications for type 2 diabetes and blood pressure are stopped. New trial data showed nearly a quarter of people in remission from diabetes two years after starting a low-calorie diet were still in the condition three years later
Its early success has seen more than 2,000 people start treatment on NHS England’s low-calorie diet programme, which is offered in almost half of England’s health boards.
The full expansion of the scheme is expected to be completed next March, with doctors hoping it will save tens of thousands from developing the condition each year.
Under the program, participants are given a low-calorie, nutrient-complete soup and shake diet of about 800 calories per day for between 12 and 20 weeks.
They also receive support from a nurse or dietician to reintroduce healthy foods and maintain weight loss while medications for type 2 diabetes and blood pressure are stopped.
At the end of the original two-year study, 95 of the 149 people in the weight-loss program agreed to participate in an extension study lasting three years.
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar to rise.
More than 4 million people in the UK are thought to have some form of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it runs in the family.
The condition means that the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate blood sugar levels.
Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and makes the body more resistant to insulin.
Losing weight is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.
Symptoms include fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination.
It can lead to more serious problems with the nerves, vision and heart.
Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more severe cases may require medication.
Source: NHS Choices; Diabetes.co.uk
This new data shows that of these, 48 were in remission at the start of the extension study, and 23 percent of them were still in remission three years later – which enabled them to lose weight.
The proportion of people in remission five years after the original study began was more than three times that of the control group, who only received usual GP care.
Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK which funded the study, said the new findings prove it is possible to stay in remission for a long time.
He said: ‘For those who put type 2 diabetes into remission, it can be life-changing, offering a better chance of a healthy future.
‘For those who do not achieve remission, weight loss can still lead to major health benefits, including improved blood sugar levels, and reduced risk of serious diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke. stroke.’
The findings confirmed that forgiveness is closely related to weight loss, with those who managed to maintain a healthy weight, more likely to keep everything clear.
Anyone who regained more than 4lb (2kg) during the three to five years of the study was offered an additional support package, available once a year.
This consists of a low-calorie soups and shake diet for another four weeks, followed by assistance while normal foods are reintroduced.
Compared to the control group, those who dieted and were offered support had greater improvements in blood pressure and blood sugar levels and fewer people needed medication.
The number of serious health issues resulting in hospital admission in the diet group was also less than half that in the control group.
The findings come a week after it was revealed that the number of diabetes cases in the UK is thought to have exceeded 5 million for the first time.
Almost 4.3 million people are living with diabetes in 2021-2022, according to the figures, with another 850,000 people living with the condition but not knowing they have it.
About 90 percent of diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and is usually diagnosed in middle age, rather than type 1 diabetes, which is a genetic condition that is usually recognized early in life.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, diabetes and obesity chief at NHS England, said: ‘The NHS is already making the best use of this research for patients through our low calorie diet programme, which has seen amazing early results; and we plan to expand the method nationwide, to give thousands more the opportunity to lose weight and improve their health.
‘With participants losing more than two stone in three months on average, and maintaining that weight loss at six months, the launch of low calorie diets on the NHS could help many more people restore water to type 2 diabetes and potentially reduce their risk of serious health implications.’