People in Yorkshire will be able to get free soup and shakes to help them lose weight.
The soup-and-shake diet will be rolled out in West Yorkshire, it was confirmed today, after a study found it helped obese people shed more than two stone in three months.
More than 2,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes have taken part in the NHS soups and shakes diet programme, each losing 7.2kg (1st 1lb) on average after one month and 13.4kg (2st 1lb) after three months.
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NHS England said new data suggests people are able to keep the weight off over time, and previous clinical data has shown that around half of people put their Type 2 Diabetes into remissions after a year.
Now NHS England has said thousands more people will be able to access the diet via their GP in several regions of England.
These are: West Yorkshire, North East and North Cumbria, Lancashire and South Cumbria, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Black Country, Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Mid and South Essex, South West London, Kent and Medway and Sussex.
Once put on the diet, people can to get the shakes and soups for free on the NHS to follow the plan.
They get help from clinicians and coaches and, after three months, are given a programme that reintroduces healthy, nutritious food.
The support includes virtual one-to-ones, online help and group sessions.
The diet is open to people aged 18 to 65 diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last six years and with a body mass index (BMI) over 27, or over 25 in people of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin.
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Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: “The fantastic results our participants have achieved through this programme are really encouraging, and show that real-world experience is in line with what we have found in trials.
“We know this weight loss will go a long way to help people stay well and avoid preventable illness, and for many will also mean they can put Type 2 diabetes into remission.
“With research showing that obesity causes more severe illness from Covid-19, as well as other serious diseases, there has never been a more important time to lose weight.”
Nadeem Akhtar, 49 from Sheffield, has lost more than 3 stone since starting the programme and has put his Type 2 diabetes into remission.
He said following the plan was “the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family” and had transformed his health and happiness.
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, with treatment making up one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs.
Figures show the number of people being treated for diabetes continuing to grow and nearly 39,000 more people could suffer a heart attack in 2035, and over 50,000 could experience a stroke.
Today’s announcement is backed by charities and campaigners. Chris Askew, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said they were delighted to see the free weight-loss programme rolled out to more people.
Remission from Type 2 Diabetes can be “life changing”, he added, offering people a better chance of a healthier future.
He added: “Since its launch, this low-calorie diet pilot, inspired by Diabetes UK’s ground-breaking DiRECT trial, has helped thousands of people across England access the support they need to lose weight effectively and potentially put their Type 2 diabetes in remission.”
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