Is an NHS-backed diet going to succeed when most others don’t?Ruth Mabhiza
Let’s hope a prescribed regime for diabetics works. It would also shame the diet industry
Is a crash diet no longer considered a crash diet because it has been validated by medicine?
There are rising numbers of diabetics in the UK, putting huge financial strain on the health services. Hence, after encouraging results from a trial of about 300 type 2 sufferers, who were put on strict liquid diets for three months (almost half found their diabetes was in remission after a year), the NHS is planning to place thousands of people on a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) of 800 calories a day, derived from soups and shakes.
The food industry has also been called on to monitor the junk content and added sugar and salt in processed food. The NHS plans to help people shed the fat that builds up around internal organs, including the pancreas, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health problems. Supervised throughout, patients will reintroduce “real” food and use apps and gadgets such as Fitbits to monitor their progress.
Like so many, they could be serial dieters – or, to put it bluntly, serial failed dieters, which is why they need help
If people found lifelong weight-management easy, the diet industry would have collapsed by now. The fact that it hasn’t – quite the opposite – gives a stark insight into what the NHS is up against as it embarks on this mission, seemingly mainly prompted by the results of a rather small trial from a year ago. (Only time will tell if that weight continues to stay off.) On the plus side, people did manage to lose weight, the crash dieting element isn’t for long and perhaps some people might otherwise not be able to afford the kind of strict diet plan and, crucially, supervision that the NHS will be offering them.
However, others may have already tried this approach and perhaps not just the once. Like so many people, they could be serial dieters – or, to put it bluntly, serial failed dieters, which is why they need help in the first place. Which takes us back to the salient question – if we accept that most diets are doomed to fail, why would an NHS-sanctioned diet be any different?
In the meantime, has the NHS inadvertently endorsed crash dieting, lending medical authority to something that for so many leads to unsupervised, self-sabotaging, soul-destroying yo-yoing? I’d love to learn in, say, five to 10 years’ time, that this plan to reduce the numbers of British diabetics has proved wildly successful. Sadly, the continuing dominance of the global diet industry suggests otherwise.
Creative Commons Disclosure
This news article was published by Barbara Ellen in The Guardian. Click here to view the original article.
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