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Posted on 23 Aug 2018 Views 3521 Comments 28

Media Spotlight: Emerging evidence for Type 2 diabetes reversal

Type 2 diabetes in a very common health condition in the UK, particularly among people who are overweight or obese. It has always been thought that type 2 diabetes is an incurable condition. However, there is emerging evidence to suggest that diabetes could potentially be reversed by following a very low calorie diet (VLCD). VLCDs (of which the Slim & Save plans are examples of) cause rapid weight loss by restricting carbohydrate intake to a level that induces ‘ketosis’ – a state where the body breaks down fat into ‘ketones’ to provide energy, causing rapid weight loss. Until recently, VLCDs have not had the most favourable reputation in the healthcare world, and are often recommended by the NHS as an approach to try if all else has failed. However, emerging evidence suggests there may be a role for using VLCDs as a first-line approach to weight loss, particularly upon diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

fast fix diabetes - overweight womanAs such, there has been recent media coverage of around this – in particular two television programmes where subjects volunteered to follow a VLCD and be filmed as part of an experiment. This article summarises the findings of these television experiments, and summarises the conclusions and take-home points one can glean from them.

BBC’s ‘The Big Crash Diet Experiment’ (link)

This experiment, aired in May 2018, involved four overweight volunteers taking part to see if following a VLCD worked better than following a ‘slow and steady’ approach as recommended by the NHS for most people. The volunteers followed a liquid diet containing 800 kcal a day (similar calorie intake to that consumed on S&S programmes) for nine weeks.

All four volunteers lost a significant amount of weight over the nine week period, with one person losing 20% of their body weight, and putting their diabetes into remission. Interestingly, following the nine week period on the VLCD, all volunteers changed their eating habits (towards more healthy eating) rather than reverting to their previous diet, and after another four months, all lost even more weight.

A particular challenge to all volunteers was sticking to the diet, particularly with the usual pressures of day to day life, e.g. family meals, social eating. As such, the volunteers had to be moved to house away from their family and friends in order for them to be able to carry on with the experiment.

ITV’s ‘Fast-Fix Diabetes’ (link)

This social experiment, aired in May and June 2018, involved five volunteers with type 2 diabetes. They followed a VLCD providing 800 kcal a day (using meal replacement products) for eight weeks. All volunteers significantly reduced their blood sugar levels, with one person reversing their diabetes (with no symptoms) and another reducing their fatty liver.

The inspiration behind the experiment was the DiRECT Study (funded by Diabetes UK), which has showed that over 50% of people went into remission and came off their diabetic medication as a result of following a similar VLCD for 3-5 months; and people lost more weight on a VLCD than they did through conventional diets.

A highlight of the show was an autopsy showing the large amount of visceral fat around the organs which if left untreated can lead to liver failure. Large amounts of visceral fat is also a risk factor of diabetes, because when fat is stored centrally (around key organs like your heart, liver and pancreas), it can lead to insulin resistance – where your fat cells have become resistant to your natural insulin production. This results in too much sugar staying in the blood stream, rather than entering your fat cells.

Take-home points

Here are our main take-home points from reviewing these two programmes:

  • If you are overweight or obese (BMI over 25) and have diabetes or another significant weight related health condition, a VLCD may be the best solution for you (especially if you have tried conventional diets in the past)
  • Although robust research is needed to confirm initial findings, you may have the best chance of putting your diabetes into remission if you lose weight (through following a VLCD) as soon as possible after diagnosis. It appears that the longer you have had diabetes, the less likely you will be able put it into remission
  • It is possible that following a VLCD may ‘reset’ your approach to food, making relapse less likely (not more likely, as previously thought). Robust research is needed, however, to investigate and prove this theory
  • Following a VLCD requires a huge amount of support, and is very challenging to undertake with the day to day pressures of life and the temptation to revert to normal eating. At Slim & Save we realise the high level of support needed by our customers, and pride ourselves with our customer care. Our customer care team are always happy to answer any questions you may have, or point you in the right direction of who you should contact. You can also obtain support from our online community
  • Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDipLong term, robust research is still needed to look at factors involved in putting diabetes into long term remission, and whether diabetes can truly be reversed

If you’re diabetic and are considering following one of our programmes, it’s always best to consult your GP to check your suitability. It’s also worth checking out our article on diabetic medication if you are taking a medication or insulin for your diabetes.


Have you already seen one or both shows? What was your thoughts on the shows? Has it changed how you view following a VLCD or do you think these shows have given more credibility to following a VLCD and take away some of the stigma of being a "Fad Diet"? Share your comments below to be in with a chance of winning a variety bar deal worth £36.99. Our favourite comment will be chosen on Wednesday 29th August at 4 pm! Be sure to leave your comment below to be in with a chance to win!

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Comments on Media Spotlight: Emerging evidence for Type 2 diabetes reversal
Gillian Richards 30/08/2018 12:01
wow I am stunned- don't normally win anything and didn't comment to win anything but am very grateful for this and more grateful for finding slim and save in the first place- thank you all so much- it has been such a great supportive network and great product - thank you again
Jennifer Goodall 30/08/2018 11:05
Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to comment. It was so difficult choosing a winner but we have finally decided on a lucky person and the winner is Gillian Richards.
Gillian Richards 29/08/2018 10:59
It now says on my NHS records that I am diabetes resolved and I no longer am on any medication for diabetes/cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was diagnosed with diabetes about 5 years ago and was in denial for most of that time despite having a family history of diabetes running through generations. I have lost around 6 stone since Boxing day 2017 and feel great- my doctor was amazed with my progress and I am so happy and feel very fit and healthy. There are lots of people out there disparaging such diets as these but after reading research from Newcastle and Glasgow universities about rapid weight loss and diabetes I am so glad that I took control of my situation. I hated being diabetic and having everyone know every detail of me - going for eye tests/blood tests/feet checks - yuk! I now have the challenge of maintaining my weight as I realise that if I do put back the weight I will undoubtedly become diabetic again but the incentive to remain diabetes free is enormous and I am going to focus now on living well, healthily and having fun. Best wishes to anyone trying to combat their health conditions
Steve Rider 28/08/2018 21:09
i watched the show on itv and it was that show which cased me to investigate VLCD i brought my first box from slim n save shortly after that. due to various events it is only now that i can start the diet
Saira Shah 28/08/2018 07:51
i watched the programme. my friend recommend me this Slim and fast programme to lose weight. Hope to start it when i get hime home after my holiday in 20 days.
gail 27/08/2018 16:18
I started sns after watching these programmes. SNS has many members who supports this and that is a fabulous place to be!
claire jones 27/08/2018 08:20
It is so difficult on this diet if you want to just get on with it without negative responses from friends etc. I have not told many, only those who i knew would support me. I know full well that if I go back to my former ways yes the weight will go on. this is true of all diets. These programmes are lessening negative impact of going on this diet. They are also highlighting to professionals the quick turnaround of many health conditions and this will save the NHS so much money. The side effects of medications are not good. I am proud to be on this diet, I am planning my return to food with care and this diet gives me the time to do it. I glady welcome anything that takes the stigma away.
Esmé 27/08/2018 08:12
These two shows being an enlightenment to a diet that was once frowned upon hugely- The VLCD diets. It’s sad to say that it still is and I believe more shows like this should be aired.
I came across Slim N Save two months ago now and I’m already seeing a change in the way I feel both mentally and physically. I lose weight slowly no matter how hard I try, but with this VLCD diet I have lost the most I ever have in two months. I’m looking forward to when I feel slim enough again to buy new clothes without struggling to fit into them in the changing rooms, or to even fit in the changing room cubicle it’s self!
I believe there should be further enlightenment on just how fantastic these diets can be, more promotion and less criticism on those that wish to chose if. For some of us a calorie deficit and exercise just isn’t that simple and it would help most of us on a VLCD if it could be shone to light that we’re trying in a way that we all truly believe helps us.
Yvonne Staines 26/08/2018 16:22
I have been amazed at myself and just how easily I have adjusted to the Slim and Save Simplicity plan. I did see the ITV programme and was amazed (there's that word again) at the positive effects a vlcd had on every volunteer in the programme. I spoke to my doctor before starting and discovered that the blood pressure tablets I had been taking for several years were unnecessary - so even before I started I had gained a positive life change. Now, after 4 weeks I have lost 10.2 kilos (22.48lbs) and very happy with the progress. I have a long way to go but determined that I shall no longer be at risk of diabetes through weight.
Dawn Newton 25/08/2018 19:50
I actually started slim and save after watching both diabetic programmes. My hc1b was 91 but after 7 weeks it was 51. I cannot wait to see what it has come down to next time.

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