Published on 7 May 2019

Weight loss diets of soups, shakes, bars and porridges could put type 2 diabetes into remission.

A cost-effective diet plan that could help reverse type 2 diabetes has been presented at a meeting of healthcare experts from around the world.

Known as a “total diet replacement” the diet consisting of soups, shakes, bars and porridges, is designed to help people lose weight and reduce the development of a number of health complications relating to being overweight.

A seminar at the University College Dublin recently, presented by Total Diet & Meal Replacements Europe and the World Obesity Federation said that in addition to helping people lose weight the diet could reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other obesity-related health conditions.

Professor Carel le Roux, University College Dublin, said: “We now treat obesity like all other chronic health conditions and we understand the value of meal replacement strategies which helps change the symptoms of hunger and lack of satiety in a subpopulation of people with the disease of obesity. For these people losing weight is effortless as the meal replacements addresses the underlying biology of the disease.”

Professor Mike Lean, University of Glasgow, said: “Formula diets, as currently designed, have proved extremely safe and effective in helping people to lose substantial amounts of weight, and gaining remission of type 2 diabetes.

“Almost nine out of 10 people with type-2 diabetes were still in remission, not diabetic and not needing medications, a year later if they lost 15kg. After two years they have developed fewer serious medical conditions such as heart disease and cancers. I am concerned that the new criteria for composition of total diet replacements are not based on good science or practical understanding of their medical use. The changes will make these products less effective, more expensive and less safe.”

Total diet replacement user Joe McSorley added: “While the total diet replacement is not a cure, it can put type 2 diabetes in remission, what happens after that is down to will power and lots of hard work in the gym to maintain the weight loss. In truth, it is a lifestyle change but one that for me has been worth it as I am no longer classed as having diabetes, I have managed to reverse it.”

A study recently published in BMJ found that after one year on the total diet replacements diet people lost on average 10.7kg (1 stone, 9lb), which was 7.2kg (1 stone, 1 lb) more than those only receiving weight loss advice from healthcare professionals.

Study author Dr Nerys Astbury, University of Oxford, said: “This new analysis adds to that finding by strongly suggesting it’s also a cost-effective treatment for the NHS to offer, particularly in middle-aged and older adults.”

Study co-author Dr Seamus Kent, University of Oxford, added: “Studies like ours, which provide reliable estimates of the long-term impacts of weight management programmes on patients’ health and healthcare costs, are of real importance to enable the NHS to select the most clinically and cost-effective services for their patients.”

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