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Shakes and Soups? Really?? Has the NHS gone Mad???


The NHS and the UK Government have finally woken up to the benefits of good nutrition. My nutritionist friends and colleagues have been banging that drum hard since before I qualified. Mind you it’s no surprise really when I tell you that the average Doctor only get 7 hours training in nutrition in the whole of their syllabus. I know this as on my course there was a doctor who wanted to understand the benefits of nutrition and wanted the training.


It was with mixed feelings that I listened to the announcement I was delighted that the benefits of weight loss and good diet had formally been acknowledged by the NHS but totally flabbergasted with the remedy.


Professor Traci Mann from the university of Minnesota published her findings of probably the most comprehensive review of all randomised controlled trial of diets. The study found that although dieters lost weight in the first nine to 12 months, over the next 2 to 5 years they all put that weight on less an average of 2.1lbs. Conversely participants in non-dieting control groups gained weight during those same years but at an average of 1.2lbs. What does this mean? Well apart from the fact the dieters had little result to show from their efforts and the non-dieters were not harmed by their lack of effort. It appears that weight regain is the typical long-term response to dieting, rather than the exception.


You are probably asking why dieters regain the weight they lose? Dieting requires Willpower. Calorie deprivation decreases levels of Leptin (the hormone that tells us we are full) and increases levels of ghrelin (the hormone that tells us we are hungry). So, we are fighting our own bodies chemistry. Is it any wonder then that we so often fail in the long term? As someone who has fought hard to get to a weight I am comfortable with and then maintain it I totally understand that long term sustainable strategies are the only way to succeed.


To continue to behave in the same way and expect a different result is supposedly the definition of madness. So change is required. But…change must come from within. Once we have brought about change then we need to make that change a habit, so it becomes part of our routine. The question for those with diabetes then is whether they want to change? There is no point prescribing them shakes and soups if they are happy with their lifestyle as is.


The biggest change they can make is cooking for themselves. Cutting out sugar and drinking more water. Do not restrict your intake restrict your sugar intake so that you start to get your blood sugar in balance. Balanced blood sugar levels and controlling your blood sugar level is the key to long term weight management. Like riding a bike, it needs a degree of practice but once balance is obtained then the rest will follow.


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