NHS England recently announced that they will be piloting new Diabetes treatment in 2019.
Low calorie diets have long been a cause of conflict amongst health experts. NHS England have taken the leap and will be piloting low calorie diets as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity. If you have Type 2 Diabetes or are in a high-risk group of developing it, keep reading to find out more about the theory behind it.
Diabetes is a growing concern
Diabetes UK estimates that around 4.6 million people in the UK have Diabetes. To put that figure into context, that’s more than the populations of Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Bristol and Glasgow combined. A further 12.3 million people are thought to be at increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. (1)
If properly managed, people with Diabetes can live healthy lives, but may suffer symptoms such as fatigue and needing to go to the toilet more frequently. Some of the more severe complications can result in serious damage to your eyes, feet, heart and kidneys.
Tackling Diabetes in the NHS
The NHS currently spends around 10% of its budget on treating Diabetes. (2) With escalating Diabetes figures and rising NHS costs in all areas of healthcare, NHS England is taking practical action. In 2019, it will be tackling the issue by implementing low-calorie diets across the whole of England.
Recent trials have proved very successful. One trial funded by Diabetes UK resulted in 86% of participants putting their Type 2 Diabetes into remission. This trial included using very low calorie diets as a treatment strategy.
Here’s the Scientific bit:
Our bodies need to maintain a stable level of glucose in the blood. Normally, the pancreas does this by producing insulin, which breaks down glucose and allows it to enter our cells, to fuel our bodies.
Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot regulate blood glucose levels. This may be because it can’t produce insulin or because the insulin it produces simply isn’t working.
How can a low-calorie diet be of help? Obesity is a leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes. Recent studies have shown that low-calorie diets can help people lose weight and actually put Type 2 Diabetics into remission. Overall weight reduction can reduce the fat around the liver and pancreas, which may enable the production of insulin again.
The Low-Calorie Treatment Plan
The new NHS treatment is a nine-month diet plan. For the first three months, it prescribes an 800 calorie liquid-only diet. This will be followed by additional support to help facilitate Diabetes remission. If you’re struggling to lose weight or manage your Diabetes, this could be a suitable treatment for you.
For more information about the potential benefits of this treatment, visit the NHS website.
What does 800 calories look like?
To give you a better idea about what you get for your calories, we’ve put together some naughty and nice 800 calorie options. If you opt for the nice option, 800 calories can stretch a long way.
The Naughty Option:
2.5 slices of Dominos pepperoni pizza.
The Nice Option:
Breakfast: Porridge oats with milk
Lunch: 2 eggs omelette with ham, mushroom and red onion
Dinner: Seabass fillet, broccoli, asparagus, 100g boiled potatoes
Snack: Skinny latte
Natural foods have greater nutritional value than processed foods, and our bodies can make better use of them. Very often, the healthier options are more calorie dense. This means that you can eat a bigger quantity of healthy foods or a small quantity of ‘unhealthy’ food for the same calorific value. Low calorie diets don’t have to be restrictive, if you plan your meals carefully.
1. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics Accessed: 04/12/18.
2. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2018/11/very-low-calorie-diets-part-of-nhs-action-to-tackle-growing-obesity-and-type-2-diabetes-epidemic/ Accessed 04/12/18.