Earlier this week, the government announced the rollout of an 800-calorie soups and shakes diet plan, which will be available to 5,000 of the almost 4 million people in the UK who are struggling with type-2 diabetes.
According to Diabetes UK, one in ten over 40s in the UK now struggle with the condition. There are 3.8 million people living with a diagnosis of diabetes in the UK; of which 90% have type-2. If nothing changes, they estimate that more than 5 million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025.
With the results of a nationwide analysis revealing that those with type-2 diabetes had significantly increased odds of in-hospital death from COVID-19, and a that a third of coronavirus-related deaths occurred in people with diabetes, it comes as no surprise that the government has now been forced into drastic (and long overdue) action.
The NHS says that the year-long diet plans will see those who could benefit provided with ‘total diet replacement products’. This means they’ll live off soups and shakes alone for three months. They will also be offered support to increase their exercise levels.
Facts and figures
A short period of calorie restriction has long been proven to put type-2 diabetes into remission.
Some type-2 diabetes patients have already trialled the year-long soups and shakes plan, which was published in the Lancet medical journal showing promising results.
Participants followed a total diet replacement plan of soups and shakes (825–853 kcal/day) for 3–5 months. This was followed by stepped food reintroduction for 2–8 weeks and structured support for long-term weight loss maintenance.
The trial results showed that:
✓ 46% of patients who started the trial were in remission a year later
✓ 86% who lost 15kg (2st 5lb) or more put their type 2 diabetes into remission
It’s easy to see why plans like this are an attractive prospect to the government. Diabetes is expensive. According to Diabetes.co.uk, it costs the NHS a whopping £10 billion every single year. If the new soups and shakes plan brings even a small percentage of participants into remission, it could significantly reduce costs for the NHS.
It’s clear that this sort of dietary intervention can work, at least in the short-term. But does that make it the right solution for long-term health and diabetes management?
In an ideal world, we’d say no to fake shakes and soups and yes to a healthy, real food, low-carb diet. After all, a quick glance at the ingredients of the shakes, soups and bars included in the NHS low-calorie diet programme shows just how processed and unhealthy they are. These quick fixes might bring short-term results, but do not lead to long-term health gain.
There are better ways to tackle diabetes than prescribing ultra-processed packet food. We’d much prefer to see a low-carb, real food plan diet plan offered in a structured way through the NHS. And we hope we see this sooner rather than later.
But are we missing the point? This extreme—and arguably unhealthy—ultra-processed packet food diet is being prescribed to tackle an even worse outcome. For those whose type-2 diabetes puts them in imminent danger, a ‘reset’ might be what’s needed to get them out of a rut.
It could be a stepping stone, which allows sufferers to see tangible results after feeling disempowered about their health for so long. They may leave the scheme feeling inspired to continue on a path towards a healthy, diabetes-free lifestyle.
Plus, considering the current COVID-19 risks, perhaps this type of intervention is better than no intervention at all?
The real food backlash
Twitter is literally on fire in response to the soups and shakes plan, with much of the backlash coming from real food and LCHF advocates. Let’s take a closer look at what they have to say…
“Much better to prescribe a more efficacious real food plan that cuts ultra-processed food & low-quality carbohydrates that doesn’t restrict calories. For GPs to not offer this is not in keeping with the principles of evidence-based medicine & is entirely unethical.”– @DrAseemMalhotra, cardiologist and anti-obesity campaigner.
“It helps us get more attention for the idea that drug-free T2 Diabetes remission is a reasonable goal and there are different ways to achieve it. Maintenance in my clinical experience involves less sugar and starchy carbs for most.”– @lowcarbGP (Dr David Unwin), award-winning GP and low-carb advocate.
“UK NHS launching (extending) the very low-calorie diet to put T2D into remission. There are two dietary options that can achieve this. Very low carb should be offered to patients at the same time. Let patients choose.”– @ZoeHarcombe, researcher, author and public speaker in the field of diet and health.
“This pile of chemical soup is what the NHS is proudly claiming is the way to put bad-diet-induced type 2 diabetes into remission. Can anybody find an omega-3 in this abomination? Eat real food, cut carbs. #StopFeedingUsLies”– @SpeddingCharlie, campaigner for health and happiness via real food
Purition is the healthier alternative
If you’re hoping to put your type-2 diabetes into remission by following a low-carb diet, then why not try Purition?
“Using Purition for the last 12 months has enabled me to lose over 16 pounds in weight and reduce my blood sugar levels, so that I am no longer diabetic and in remission. It has altered my breakfast regime and helped to curb my sweet tooth. It’s great to find a meal that is real food with no nasty additives.”
– Kevin, Verified Purition Customer
Purition is a healthier alternative to the NHS soups and shakes diet. It’s not free because it’s made with good stuff rather than ultra-processed junk. Nutrient-dense, real food ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial or synthetic.
Enjoy Purition for 1 or 2 of your daily meals and a homecooked low-carb meal for the others. No calorie counting required — and you’ll be fuelled with the nutrients your body needs to thrive. Once you’ve got the hang of low-carb cooking, Purition makes a great ‘safety net’ for those busy days when a homecooked meal is not an option.
Every serving contains between 2-4g of net carbohydrates and a nourishing combination of protein, healthy fats and fibre. Blended with milk, it has a negligible impact on blood sugar levels.
Any diet change should be discussed with your doctor. If you are taking insulin, you should discuss your medication and dosages with your GP before adopting a low-carb diet.
Read more about Purition for diabetes and feel free to contact us with your questions on firstname.lastname@example.org.