Shakes and soups are the answer to diabetes, apparently.
A recent announcement from NHS England outlined how patients with type 2 diabetes can reverse their condition if they lose weight, and that this can be achieved by patients going on a soup and shake diet for a few months.
This did not strike me as particularly new and then I realised why – a virtually identical scheme was announced by NHS England in 2018.
No, it is not news that losing weight can reverse your diabetes, and surprise, surprise, if you live only on 800 Kcal a day for a few months, you will lose weight.
These schemes come and go, but always irritate me – because they’re barely scratching the edge of the obesity iceberg (lettuce).
Let’s say you get an obese patient to take up the offer of a low calorie shake diet (unlikely), get them to stick to it for several months (more chance of the Government accepting the blame for their cock-ups, quite honestly) and lose the weight. What happens afterwards? They cannot go on living on liquid meals for the rest of their life so no, they go back out into the obesogenic environment they originally grew fat in and put it all on again.
An obesogenic environment that, let’s remember, until recently, we were being sponsored by the Government to indulge ourselves in.
You can force a lion to be vegetarian if you lock it in a cage and feed it nothing but vegetables. Release it back into the wild, though and for certain it’s going to choose antelope over asparagus.
We’re not going to make any impact on the obesity epidemic in this country until unhealthy food is very expensive and difficult to access. To do that would mean taking on the powerful food industry, and I can’t see any members of the current Government having the gonads for that.
So for the foreseeable future, I guess we can expect more of the same old being re-hashed and sold to us as if it were new.
Sort of summarises the NHS, doesn’t it?
Dr David Turner is a GP in North West London