Milkshake and soup diet could be prescribed to treat diabetes

People with Type 2 diabetes could be prescribed fat-free milkshakes and soups as part of a ‘radical new treatment’, it has been claimed.

Research funded by Diabetes UK found that half of 300 people given the 850 calorie-a-day diet were in remission within 12 months.

Now the four meals-a-day shake and soup prescription could be rolled out nationally, with further details of a strategy expected to be announced in November.

Type 2 diabetics could be prescribed fat-free shakes and soups as part of a ‘radical treatment’ (Picture: Getty Images/Hero Images)

‘The trial involved 300 people, of those in the intervention arm a staggering almost 50% saw their diabetes go into remission,’ said Jonathan Valabhji, of NHS England.

‘Their blood glucose levels fell into the non-diabetic range.

‘That excites us. The beauty of the research is that it was implemented in GP surgeries. It wasn’t hugely expensive.’

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He added that the average weight loss was 2 stone and 5lb.

The idea is that the diet will help patients to lose weight, which will, in turn, lower their glucose levels.

Usually it is recommended that women have a daily intake of 2,000 calories and men 2,500 – substantially more than the 810 to 850 that the diet supplies.

Patients stay on the diet for three to five months before gradually replacing the shakes or soups with meals over the next six weeks until they are back to a normal eating pattern.

Half of the 300 people given an 850 calories-a-day diet were in remission within 12 months (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The early results have been very exciting,’ Bridget Turner, of Diabetes UK, told the Daily Mail.

‘It’s very encouraging to hear that NHS England sees the potential to enable more people to benefit from programmes like this through the Health Service.’

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious life-long condition where blood glucose levels are too high.

Most diabetic adults in the UK are Type 2, meaning their insulin, which converts glucose into energy, doesn’t work effectively or there isn’t enough of it being produced.

The type makes up 90% of adults with diabetes and is linked to being inactive and overweight.

While with Type 1 diabetics, the immune system attacks and destroys cells that produce insulin, preventing it from being created at all.

Diabetes cannot be cured, but Type 2 diabetics can be put into remission, meaning their blood glucose levels can be maintained at a normal range without the use of medication.

It is best achieved through intensive lifestyle changes or weight loss surgery.

Last month it was revealed that children as young as nine were being tested for Type 2 diabetes.

Professor Valabhji, a consultant diabetologist at St Mary’s Hospital in central London, told the Daily Mail: ‘Not only are we seeing greater numbers, what we’re also rather frighteningly seeing is younger age of onset.

‘I may have been looking after the grandfather for the last couple of decades who was diagnosed at the age of 65, then the father came onto my book who was diagnosed at the age of 48, now I’ve got the granddaughter diagnosed at 29.

‘I’ve got quite a lot of people who are in their 20s with Type 2 diabetes which we simply didn’t see when I started practising. You’d write that up in a journal if you saw it back then, now we’re seeing it all the time.’

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