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NHS Offering 800-Calorie Diet to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

The NHS is set to introduce an 800-calorie per day diet to reverse type 2 diabetes as part of a ‘pilot’ scheme.

The 800-calorie diet will be made up of shakes and liquid meals, given to an initial 5,000 people for three months with follow up support provided.

At present, within the UK, every nine out of ten people with diabetes have type 2, which is known to be linked with people’s lifestyle and diets. To raise more awareness and hopefully stop people developing type 2 diabetes, an NHS England programme is also to be expanded.

Towards the end of last year, a trial was carried out of the low-calorie diet, which successfully helped nearly half of those individuals taking part to reverse their diabetes. As a result of this, this will now be rolled out further to identify whether the scheme will be successful in a broader population of people.

National Clinical Director for diabetes and obesity for NHS England, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, said that whilst the diet can be challenging, and will definitely not suit everyone, “[…] we think it is worth exploring the implementation of these programmes within the NHS so that those who could benefit, can benefit.”

Though type 2 diabetes can at time have a genetic component, it is more commonly linked to being overweight or obese. In the UK, around two thirds of adults and one third of children are currently considered to be overweight or obese, which is causing for more and more people to develop diabetes.

For the past three years, England has been running a prevention programme for type 2 diabetes which is so far showing good results. Over 250,000 people during these three years who were on the verge of developing the condition have been given support in the way of attending classes that provide advice of healthy food and diet, and lifestyle and exercise.

Participants in the programme have lost on average 8lb each, which has significantly reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The programme will now be expanded due to its success, in the hopes of helping 200,000 people each year.

Chief Executive of charity Diabetes UK, Chris Askew, said that the expansion of the programme was “excellent news.” Adding, “The ambition being shown by the NHS needs to be matched across all government policy – we need stronger action on marketing to children, and clearer nutritional labelling to support people to make healthy choices.”

Simon Stevens, NHS England’s Chief Executive, said “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.”


Hughes, Dominic. ‘Type 2 Diabetes: NHS to Offer 800-Calorie Diet Treatment.’ BBC News.  (30 November 2018). 

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