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Ultra-low calorie diet will combat type 2 diabetes

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‘Very low calorie’ liquid diets have been shown to put Type 2 Diabetes in remission in those recently diagnosed

Hundreds of thousands of people will be prescribed a liquid diet to tackle Type 2 diabetes under proposals set out by Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.

The new ‘very low calorie’ diets have been shown to put Type 2 Diabetes in remission in those recently diagnosed with the condition, and will be trialled under plans to boost the focus on prevention as well as treatment.

According to NHS England, the diet will improve the health of patients and also save the NHS money that can be reinvested in other services. NHS England spends around 10% of its budget on treating diabetes.

‘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. The NHS Long Term Plan is going to give people the power and the support to take control of their own lifestyles – so that they can help themselves while also helping the NHS,’ said Mr Stevens.

‘Because what’s good for our waistlines is also good for our wallets, given the huge costs to all of us as taxpayers from these largely preventable illnesses. However this isn’t a battle that the NHS can win on its own. The NHS pound will go further if the food industry also takes action to cut junk calories and added sugar and salt from processed food, TV suppers and fast food takeaways.’

Patients will be prescribed a liquid diet of just over 800 calories a day for three month,s and then a period of follow up support to help achieve remission of their Type 2 diabetes.

This will be piloted in up to 5,000 people following the DiRECT trial, which saw almost half of those who went on a very low calorie diet achieve remission of diabetes after one year. A quarter of participants achieved a 15 kg or more weight loss, and of these, 86% put their type 2 diabetes into remission.

Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of Type 2 diabetes that we are now focusing huge efforts to address,’ said Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director of Diabetes and Obesity for the NHS in England.

'Our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results and today’s announcement will allow us to go even further – it will help patients who have Type 2 diabetes to achieve remission and importantly, help more of those who are at risk to not get it in the first place.’

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