Thanks to the NHS Low Calorie Diet programme, over 200 Gloucestershire people with Type 2 diabetes are taking steps to reduce their medications, lose weight, improve their health and potentially put their diabetes into remission.

The diet and lifestyle plans have been shown to put Type 2 diabetes into remission for people recently diagnosed with the condition. The programme is delivered digitally with all appointments happening over phone or video calls, or via secure app messaging.

Eligible participants are offered low calorie, total diet replacement products which add up to around 900 calories per day for up to 12 weeks, replacing all normal meals with these products during this time.

After the initial 12-week period, they receive help and advice to re-introduce ordinary, nutritious food, with support and expert one-to-one healthcare from their own Diabetes Specialist Dietitian.

So far, nearly 300 people in the county have been referred to the programme, with 264 already kick-starting their journey with their first dietician appointment.

Around three quarters of participants make the decision to start the total diet replacement phase of the programme and 161 participants have already completed this.

Participants have on average lost 14.1 kg at 3 months, 14.2 kg at 6 months and 9.4 kg at 12 months.

Sarah Hughes, Specialist Diabetes Dietitian at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lead for the Low Calorie Diet Programme in Gloucestershire, said:

A diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes can be frightening, increasing the risk of suffering a stroke, heart attack or developing cancer.

This is an amazing opportunity to turn back the clock.  We know that significant weight loss for anyone who struggles with their weight is hard to achieve. This programme can help people to get the results they need in just a few weeks, helping to kick start a new way of life and make those sustainable changes.

The programme is challenging, but with safe and practical support from diabetes specialist dietitians, participants can lose weight effectively and embed lasting healthy diet and exercise habits, aiming for remission of their Type 2 Diabetes.”

Alistair, who has been following the programme for four months, said:“My life before starting the programme was limited in what I could do – my bike couldn’t handle the weight and I was definitely more sedentary. I’ve been trying to diet for years, but have always been an all or nothing kind of person.

When I started with the Oviva programme I found it easy to fit in with my lifestyle, as I didn’t need to think about food – it was straightforward and easy to make!

I’ve now lost over 24kg. My blood pressure has lowered and I’m no longer on medication, plus my eyesight has got a lot better. I’m hopeful my diabetes goes into remission soon!”

The programme is provided by Oviva, which works with the NHS to deliver healthcare services across the UK.

Caroline Hebberd Service Manager at Oviva, said:

“Oviva is proud to be delivering the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme. It is incredibly rewarding to help people to make sustainable changes to their health and lifestyle through one-to-one personalised coaching and our unique digital tools, and we enjoy supporting our participants and celebrating their successes.”

Gloucestershire is one of 21 areas in England to run the programme as part of an NHS drive to help people avoid health complications linked to obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The Low Calorie Diet Programme will run until May 2023, with an additional 250 places.


Notes :

The NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme isn’t suitable for everyone.

Individuals must meet the following eligibility criteria to be referred to the service to ensure the programme is right for them:

  • aged 18 – 65 years
  • diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the last six years
  • BMI over 27 kg/m2 (or over 25 kg/m2 in people of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin)
  • HbA1c eligibility, most recent value, which must be within 12 months:
  • if on diabetes medication, HbA1c 43 – 87 mmol/mol
  • if not on diabetes medications, HbA1c 48 – 87 mmol/mol
  • in all cases, HbA1c must be 87 mmol/mol or lower
  • have attended for monitoring and diabetes review when this was last offered, including retinal screening, and commit to continue attending reviews, even if remission is achieved

Individuals who believe they are eligible should discuss their individual circumstances with their GP or diabetes team to find out whether the programme is suitable for them.

Further information about diabetes and the low calorie diet is on the NHS Gloucestershire website:

There is also a patient video: