Liquid diet to be prescribed to diabetes patients

Henrietta Strickland
December 2, 2018

He said: 'The NHS is now going to be ramping up practical action to support hundreds of thousands of people avoid obesity-induced heart attacks, strokes, cancers and Type 2 diabetes. Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2, which is closely linked to obesity and has also been linked to a string of serious illnesses, including 13 types of cancer.

Head of primary care and public health at Imperial College London Professor Azeem Majeed, a practising south London GP, said: 'Although the study had encouraging results, we don't know if the findings will be replicated outside the setting of a clinical trial, when patients may be less well motivated to maintain their very low calorie diet'.

The action forms part of the NHS's long-term diabetes plan, which will increase focus on prevention as well as a cure.

About two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are now overweight or obese, which is driving up rates of the condition.

The pilot, which will start in 2019, will follow 5,000 patients prescribed a liquid diet of just over 800 calories per day for three months in an effort to send their type 2 diabetes into remission. The diabetes of nearly half who went on the supervised VLCD was in remission after a year, and those who lost the most weight did best - 86% who lost 15kg or more were in remission after 12 months.

Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that is not linked with being overweight or inactive.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Online versions of the prevention programme, which involve wearable technologies and apps to help those at risk of type 2 diabetes, will also be provided for people who find it hard to attend sessions because of work or family commitments.

Patients taking part in the new NHS England pilot will also be provided with a period of follow-up support after the diet had finished.

On average, participants have each lost 8lb (3.6kg) in weight, greatly reducing their risk of becoming diabetic.

Now the programme is also set to undergo a significant expansion, helping 200,000 people a year.

Prof Valabhji says it is important the programme continues to show results.

"We've got an independent evaluation of the programme that will look at, firstly, whether we've prevented diabetes in the individuals participating in the programme".

"We think it is worth exploring the implementation of these programmes within the NHS so that those who could benefit, can benefit", he said.

What is a very low calorie diet (VLCD)?

However he added that "this isn't a battle that the NHS can win on its own" and called on the food industry to "take action to cut junk calories and added sugar and salt from processed food, TV suppers and fast food takeaways".

Chris Askew, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, welcomed plans to double the size of the programme which, he added, "is already the largest of its kind globally and shows England to be a world leader in this area".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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