Thousands to benefit from Newcastle diabetes research
Professor Roy Taylor, from Newcastle University’s Faculty of Medical Science, has shown that very low calorie diets can put type 2 diabetes in remission in those recently diagnosed with the condition.
Now the NHS will be providing the diet to up to 5,000 patients in England in a drive to increase access to the life-changing weight-loss programme.
The year-long plans will see those who could benefit provided with ‘total diet replacement products’, such as specially formulated low calorie shakes and soups, for three months, alongside support to increase their exercise levels.
Professor Taylor said: “The launch of the NHS England programme to reverse type 2 diabetes is an exciting moment.
“It is the practical outcome of a 12 year series of Newcastle research studies - from hypothesis of the cause of type 2 diabetes, to proof of the underlying mechanisms then real life application.
“We have learned that type 2 diabetes is a reversible condition that comes on in susceptible people when they have exceeded their Personal Fat Threshold – that is, simply accumulated more fat than they can tolerate. It is not determined by ‘obesity’, and early action to lose weight can achieve long-term good health.”
Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, while almost one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs is for diabetes treatment.
After the 12 week weight loss period, patients will also be offered managed plans for reintroducing ordinary, nutritious food, with ongoing support from clinicians and coaches after that.
Results from Professor Taylor’s DiRECT study showed that almost half of those who went on the reduced calorie diet achieved remission of their type 2 diabetes after one year.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity said: “This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.”
People living with type 2 diabetes who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years will be considered for the programme.
Individuals must also meet other eligibility criteria to be referred to the service to ensure the programme is right for them.
The interventions will provide low-calorie Total Diet Replacement products alongside virtual one-to-ones, group sessions or digital support.
Bridget Turner, Director of Policy Campaigns and Improvement at Diabetes UK, said: "This is an important first step to ensure that people with type 2 diabetes, can access a remission programme within the NHS and benefit from the ground-breaking findings of the Diabetes UK-funded DiRECT research.
"We know that some people with type 2 diabetes want and need support from health care professionals to lose weight effectively and now as these programmes are piloted across the NHS - they will.
"People with type 2 diabetes who have put their diabetes into remission frequently tell us how it has changed their lives.
“We are so pleased to see that others will now have the same opportunity and hope that it won’t be too long before more remission programmes are rolled out across the country."
Sites across the country will test evidence from the original trials in a ‘real world’ implementation during a 12-month treatment course.