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‘Soups and shakes’ diabetes weight loss programme to be rolled out nationwide

‘Soups and shakes’ diabetes weight loss programme to be rolled out nationwide

GPs in all parts of England will be able to refer type 2 diabetes patients for the soups and shakes weight loss programme from March next year, NHS England has announced.

NHS England said it was making the scheme nationwide because initial data from the programme shows ‘early promise’ it might lead to diabetes remission in ‘up to half’ of patients.

It was initially launched at 10 sites in 2020, reaching 5,000 patients, and was expanded to a further 11 areas last year.

How does the programme work?

The programme kickstarts weight loss through low calorie, total diet replacement products such as shakes and soups for the first three months, supported and monitored by expert clinicians and coaches.

After this, a carefully managed plan reintroduces healthy, nutritious food and participants can track their progress through one-to-ones, group sessions and digital support – to help them maintain a healthier weight.

Patients can benefit if they have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years with referrals made by local GPs.

Source: NHS England

Latest pilot data showed that:

  • Participants lost an average of over 13kg (two stone) in three months which was maintained at six months.
  • By the end of the year long programme, people had lost 11kg on average (over 1.5 stone).
  • Weight loss was similar to that seen in clinical trials, showing early promise that the programme might lead to remission in up to half of people with type 2 diabetes.

Commissioners said they were also led by research from the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), which has shown that losing weight can put type 2 diabetes in remission for at least five years in some people.

ICBs have been tasked with restoring diabetes services to pre-pandemic levels, backed by a £36m investment, according to NHS England.

NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity Professor Jonathan Valabhji said: Research is clear that weight loss where indicated goes a long way to helping people stay well and avoiding preventable illness, and in many cases it can be the trigger for putting type 2 diabetes into remission.

‘So I am delighted that thousands more people are making use of this programme with thousands more set to benefit across England in the coming year.

‘This programme is also the latest example of the NHS effectively deploying evidence-based treatments to help people with type 2 diabetes live well. Obesity is a significant factor and cause of several serious diseases, so the NHS is always here to help people to lose weight when necessary, and live healthier lives.’

Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew said: ‘We are thrilled to see that NHS England’s Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme will be rolled out across the whole of England, giving thousands more people the chance to put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

‘Remission from type 2 diabetes can be life-changing but we know weight loss is really hard and getting the right support is critical. For those who aren’t able to go into remission, losing weight 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.  

‘Today’s important announcement is the result of over a decade of research funded by Diabetes UK, and we are proud that our ground-breaking DiRECT trial – which recently reported its five-year findings – has been central to making this possible. The expansion of this programme will offer even more people with type 2 diabetes a better chance of a healthier future.’

Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10bn a year, with treatment accounting for one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

James Cuthbertson 26 April, 2023 9:31 am

I’m all for anything to help reduce diabetes. But if there is an initial 3 month soup and shake plan, with weight loss at 13kg after 6 months, and a further 6 months of the less restrictive diet leads to a 2kg weight gain, what might results at 2-3 years be?

Some" Bloke 26 April, 2023 10:12 am

that will be somebody else’s problem, so who carers

John Graham Munro 26 April, 2023 11:28 am

Well excuse me, but I thought weight loss was always the treatment of type 11 diabetes! Why is this so ground breaking?

David Banner 26 April, 2023 11:36 am

This won’t survive contact with the Real World.
The dedicated enthusiasts from the trials will be replaced by ordinary diabetic punters who’ve been dieting in vain for years. They’ll stick to soups/shakes for a week or 2, then inevitably stray off the path.
And presumably these supplements will be on free prescription? As the patients are not having to buy food on this diet is that fair?
I’ve already started to see diabetics refusing medication as they’re “waiting for the cure”, with vertiginous rises in HbA1c as a result.
And even where there is a short term improvement, in the Real World the enthusiasm wanes, and within a year all benefits will disappear.

Jonathan Mounty 26 April, 2023 12:31 pm

So groundbreaking that not being rolled out till next March. Free food on the NHS so that money spare for a Big Mac. Just call me cynical.

SUBHASH BHATT 26 April, 2023 12:48 pm

We knew weight loss can make type ll 20 years ago. Nothing new. Funding for such food item by nhs is not appropriate. Participants can contribute what they would have spent on their food.

Lise Hertel 26 April, 2023 12:54 pm

Will be interesting to see if this approach is effective against all the new Type 2 diabetics that exist as a result of Covid.

Although as Diabetes UK approach to Covid and diabetics appears to be to get as many of us infected with Covid multiple times as possible, they probably won’t mind if it doesnt work as it means that those that are dying , will be easily replaced.

Turn out The Lights 26 April, 2023 1:51 pm

I’ve had my shakes and soup doc and by lunch time Im having a hypo and need my macci d.I feel really ill if I dont ave it.Doomed to failure unless you can lock the punters away with no access to a car or deliveroo.The enviroment is loaded against the situation.Taking on the food lobby comes to mind.But successive government have had anaemic effort.As said theory hits the real world and will fail.

Michael Green 26 April, 2023 3:18 pm

Hooray for free food

Dave Haddock 26 April, 2023 6:12 pm
Keith M Laycock 26 April, 2023 6:43 pm

Here’s the ‘Plan’ and the alleged launch date of the programme / PULSE.

01 September 2020.

GPs will be able to prescribe ‘soup and shake weight-loss plans’ for patients to put their type 2 diabetes in remission, NHS England has announced.
People who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last six years will be eligible to take part in the pilots, which will reach 5,000 people in 10 sites across the country, NHS England said.
As part of the 12-month treatment course launched today, participants will be provided with ‘total diet replacement products’ such as specially-formulated low-calorie soup and shakes, for three months.

And then: – 26 April 2023
‘Soups and shakes’ diabetes weight loss programme to be rolled out nationwide’.

5,000 participants: – 13 kg (28.6 lbs) loss in 12 weeks – 2.4 lbs per week = 8,400 calorie reduction per week.

Dec 2022: – UK obesity/ overweight = 68% male & 59% female. The adult population (>18 yrs) in 2022 = 53. 4 million

Alleged benefit in 5,000 by ‘Soup & Shakes’ along with ‘one-on-ones’ -‘group sessions’ – and ‘digital support’.

Naught more than magical or wishful thinking in the real world and / or ‘programmed failure’.

Faen Faen 26 April, 2023 9:09 pm

When the waiting list for this reaches a year they’ll be coming in saying they need an expedite letter for their milkshakes 🙁