Diet replacement programmes made up of low-calorie soups, shakes and regular counselling should be a recommended NHS treatment for obesity, a BMJ study says [as reported by the BBC].
People on the diets lost three times more weight than those given standard dietary advice by their GP, University of Oxford researchers found, and their risk of developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes reduced. But experts said it would work only if eating habits were changed for good.
Prof Paul Aveyard, study author, GP and professor of behavioural medicine at the University of Oxford, said losing weight and keeping it off was hard. “It’s boring being on a normal diet and people struggle to stick to it for a year, but these programmes get you when your mental strength is at its highest. You have to concentrate effort into 12 weeks and because they eat so little, they lose a lot of weight quickly.”
Total diet replacement programmes are designed for people who are obese or seriously obese, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30, who have been unable to lose weight despite changes to diet and lifestyle. They are currently only available privately – although NHS England is considering the diets as part of a long-term plan for the NHS.
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