People in the Black Country diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can access the national NHS low calorie diet programme. It is a total diet replacement approach, with the aim of helping participants to lose over 10kg in weight, improving their blood sugar levels, reducing the need for diabetes-related medication and even putting their Type 2 diabetes into remission.

Tell me more about the programme

The programme aims to help people diagnosed with diabetes to lose weight and make better decisions about their health. It enables them to better control their blood sugar levels – reducing the need for diabetes-related medication and potentially achieving remission of their Type 2 diabetes when their levels return to a healthy range.

The 12 month programme, which is fully supported and monitored by expert clinicians and coaches throughout, kickstarts weight loss through low calorie, diet replacement products such as shakes and soups for the first three months. After this, a carefully managed plan reintroduces healthy, nutritious food and participants can track their progress through virtual one-to-ones, group sessions and digital support – to help them maintain a healthier weight.

People will attend appointments, booked convenient to them, over phone/video calls, or via secure app messaging and do not need to travel to a specific location. An online learn portal and app allows participants to track their progress and reach their personal health goals.

It is suitable for some adults aged 18-65 years, diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last six years and living with overweight or obesity. If you are eligible, you will be contacted by your GP and invited to join the programme which is provided locally by Oviva.

Success of the programme so far

As of February 2022, over 2,000 people with Type 2 diabetes have improved their health by following this programme. Early data shows that participants each lose 7.2kg (over one stone) on average after one month, and 13.4kg (over two stone) after three months. It also shows that people on the programme who are eating and drinking the low-calorie alternatives not only lose weight but keep it off over time. Trials also showed that around half of people who had similar weight loss were able to achieve remission of their Type 2 diabetes after one year.

Frequently asked questions about the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme from Oviva
 

The NHS is delivering a programme which provides a low calorie diet treatment for people who are overweight and living with Type 2 diabetes. The programme is based on two large studies which showed that, as a result of this treatment, people living with Type 2 diabetes who were overweight could improve their diabetes control, reduce diabetes-related medication and potentially achieve remission (reduced blood glucose levels and no longer taking diabetes medication).

The programme requires you to be on a Low Calorie Diet for up to 12 weeks. During this time you will be offered total diet replacement products including soups and shakes consisting of up to 900 calories a day, which are expected to replace all normal meals. After the initial 12 week period you will have help to re-introduce food and you’ll continue to receive support for 12 months. If you start to regain weight (>2kg) you can have additional support from the Dietitian to get you back on track during this time.

The Low Calorie Diet programme is delivered remotely through a coach-led support group, to provide expert care and support throughout every stage of the programme. All of the group appointments happen over phone/video calls, or via secure app messaging. This means you will not need to travel to a specific location for appointments, and you can take part in the programme when it is convenient for you, even during evenings and weekends.

The whole programme, including the meal replacement products, is funded by the NHS and completely free-of-charge to you.

In your area the Low Calorie Diet programme will be delivered by our trusted NHS provider, Oviva.

Oviva is a digitally-enabled behaviour change company. Their team of specialist healthcare professionals combined with the Oviva app and online Learn platform supports people with Type 2 diabetes to improve their health and better self-manage their condition.

This is a 12-month programme led by a team of Diabetes Specialist Dietitians and health coaches and is split into 3 stages:

 

Start: An initial assessment followed by a consultation with your Diabetes Specialist Dietitian to explain the programme and set your personal goals. You will also be given your login details for the Oviva app and our online Learn portal.

 

Change: You will start your Low Calorie Diet whilst being supported by your Dietitian the whole way. During the first 12 weeks you will consume the recommended shakes or soups approximately 4 times a day instead of your usual meals. These products contain all the nutrients and minerals your body needs. You will then have 4 weeks of coaching to help you to slowly reintroduce food back into your diet in a healthy, sustainable way.

 

Sustain: For the remaining 8 months of the programme, you will work on sustaining these healthy habits with your Dietitian to maintain your weight and embed your new, healthy habits and behaviours in your lifestyle. If you regain weight (>2kg), you will also have the chance to have another call with your dietitian to help you get back on track.

 

You are supported with the help and advice you need throughout every phase of the programme. You will also be closely supported by your local GP practice – for example if medicines need to be changed.

It is important to know that this programme doesn’t guarantee your diabetes will go into remission. However, taking part can lead to other health benefits, such as:

  • Reducing the number the medications you need to take
  • Reducing your risk of heart disease and other diabetes-related complications
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Improving your cholesterol
  • Helping you to sleep better and generally feel more healthy

It’s important to have realistic expectations of the challenges you may face whilst on the programme, but they are normal and your Dietitian will provide guidance on how to prevent these side effects before they even happen:

  • Feeling dehydrated or having a dry mouth.
  • Dizziness and headaches in the first week or so.
  • Fatigue.
  • Constipation.
  • Thinning of hair and dry skin can occur 3-6 months after weight loss. It is normally temporary.

 

Uncommon side effects:

  • Diarrhoea and nausea.
  • Menstrual changes in women.
  • Gout and gallstones.

The Low Calorie Diet is only needed in the first 12 weeks. It offers the highest chance of achieving significant weight loss over a short period and therefore putting your diabetes into remission. You will use a Total Diet Replacement (TDR) product, consisting of shakes and/or soups during this time which contain all the essential vitamins and minerals you need. Generally, you will have four meal replacement products per day. The Oviva team will provide information and support you in getting the TDR product.

Having the recommended shakes or soups as your Total Dietary Replacement products is a proven way to lose weight quickly and safely. At the moment, there is not enough evidence to support other approaches and a low calorie diet using meal replacements offers the greatest chances of achieving remission of Type 2 diabetes. Following the recommended plan is much easier than trying to calorie count standard meals and snacks, and the shakes and soups are also nutritionally complete, meaning they contain all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs to work properly.

The whole programme, including the products, is funded by the NHS and completely free-of-charge to you.

A Dietitian is a qualified healthcare professional who is regulated by the UK Health and Care

Professionals Council and whose title is also protected by law. They hold either a four-year degree in dietetics, or a science degree followed by a two-year postgraduate qualification. A dietitian has supervised and assessed professional practice in clinical nutrition, medical nutrition therapy and food service management.

A health coach is an expert in dietary and lifestyle guidance and coaching. Our team of health coaches have degrees in Nutrition and are certified nutritionists, or they have degrees in Psychology or Exercise therapy with extensive experience in a health coach role.

Remission in people with Type 2 diabetes means that your blood sugar levels are no longer in the range for diabetes, without needing to take any diabetes medication. Some people are able to stop taking medication and put their Type 2 diabetes into remission. Research tells us that remission is most likely to be achievable closer to your diagnosis – and is strongly linked to weight loss. Some people call this reversing Type 2 diabetes, but we prefer the term remission because your Type 2 diabetes can come back. There’s no guarantee you will reach remission as the research so far suggests that it isn’t possible for everyone. But there are so many benefits to joining the programme and losing extra weight.

The NHS Low Calorie Diet programme in your area is 100% remote, meaning you don't have to travel anywhere for your appointments. You can take part from the comfort of your own home through secure messaging in the Oviva app, or phone or video calls. This gives you flexibility to take part in the programme at a time and location suitable for you.

Yes! Your group will be assigned a personal Diabetes Specialist Dietitian and health coach who will support you throughout the programme.

Oviva’s Patient Pathway Coordinator (PPC) aims to contact you within 5 working days of Oviva receiving your referral. Oviva will send you an email with a link to a survey to collect more information about you. If they do not receive your response in 3 working days, the PPC will attempt to contact you 3 times for enrollment. The final contact attempt is made as an email or letter which is sent to your address. This gives you at least 7 days to contact Oviva, it also provides further information about the service. If Oviva is unable to get in touch with you, you will be discharged from the service and the referrer is informed via securemail. Once you are enrolled on the programme you will be booked in for your nutritional and lifestyle consultation with the Diabetes Specialist Dietitian which will be a 30 minute phone call or video call.

Oviva's Patient Pathway Coordinators are available Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm and Saturday 9am-5pm to answer any queries and support you throughout your journey on the NHS Low Calorie Diet programme. Outside of these hours the team has an answer phone which is reviewed daily and you can expect a call back within 24 hours. If you have any questions, please contact the Patient Pathway Coordinator team on 02076224777.