LIVING on a strict liquid-only diet of just 800 calories a day could help reverse type 2 diabetes.
The extreme measure is being put to the test in a two-part ITV documentary, which continues tonight.
The liquid diet is used to help type 2 diabetes sufferers lose weight and cure their condition
The ground-breaking experiment sees five obese and overweight patients restricted to just special shakes and soups for eight weeks.
Each 200-calorie meal replacement shake contains all the necessary vitamins and minerals though the intake is less than a third of the 2,500 calories men need and less than half the 2,000 calories women need for a balanced daily diet.
The regime was carried out at a clinic in Sussex under the supervision of two experts – GP Dr Zoe Williams, who appears on ITV’s This Morning, and Prof Jason Gill, a leading name in the prevention of type 2 diabetes.
The extreme diet causes the body to go into a state called nutritional ketosis, where the liver starts to break down body fat to use as fuel.
Around 4million people in the country suffer from type 2 diabetes
Each participant must lose 2st to help reverse the condition.
Obesity is closely linked to type 2 diabetes – 90 per cent of sufferers are obese or overweight.
Around 4million people in the country have the condition and another 12million are at risk of it. The show, inspired by pioneering research at Newcastle and Glasgow universities, focuses solely on people with type 2 diabetes who are not being treated with insulin.
Tonight viewers see that the gruelling process can work. Dr Williams said: “This shows it is possible to put people out of the diabetes zone with diet and a lot of commitment – and it could save the NHS billions.”
Here, we talk to two of the participants who no longer have diabetes.
The Fast Fix: Diabetes is on ITV tonight at 9pm. ‘My fat was internal, it can kill you’
Technoloy and digital marketing expert Dan Sodergren, 42, credits the experiment with saving his life – after it revealed his liver was ten times fatter than it should have been.
He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six months ago, having gone to his doctor’s fearing early-onset dementia.
Matthew Pover/Matthew Pover Limited – Our lawyers are watching. Absolutely no syndication Dan feared early onset dementia before being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
He recalls: “I’d noticed I’d become a bit forgetful and had been getting tired. I was relieved when the doctor told me it was type 2 diabetes.
“But then I realised by looking online just how dangerous it is. It basically rots you from the insides and kills you.”
Being from an Afro-Caribbean background, 5ft 11in Dan was at a higher risk of getting the condition, but he was also overweight.
He admits: “As I’m tall, people were saying I carry it well but it turned out all my fat was internal. It’s good for vanity, but that’s the stuff that kills you.”
Matthew Pover/Matthew Pover Limited – Our lawyers are watching. Absolutely no syndication Coming from an Afro-Caribbean background Dan was at higher risk
Dan, who has never had to take medication for his diabetes, only made the grim discovery after having an MRI scan as part of the experiment.
“My liver was ten times fatter than it should have been,” he says. “I had no idea.”
Dan who lives in Manchester with his wife Leanne, 42, and their daughter Mia, seven, says following the strict liquid-only diet was the hardest thing he has ever done.
He says: “You’re basically almost starving yourself. The only way I got through it was by telling myself it wasn’t a diet but the shakes were my medication to get rid of type 2 diabetes.
Matthew Pover/Matthew Pover Limited – Our lawyers are watching. Absolutely no syndication Dan said following the strict liquid-only diet was the hardest thing he has ever done
“Some of the shakes were delicious but the soups were disgusting.”
The most difficult part was when he returned home after the month at the clinic. Dan explains: “I do most of the cooking and I was almost in tears frying sausages one night as I couldn’t eat them.”
Like Tracey, he has started eating solid food following a low-carb diet but still drinks the shakes.
He says: “The first time I ate solid food was like something out of I’m A Celeb when they leave the jungle. It was amazing. I can still remember it now.
“The experiment has changed my life profoundly. Being told I no longer have type 2 diabetes has made all the pain and hard work worthwhile.
“I know I can live for longer now and see my daughter grow up. If I hadn’t found out about my fatty liver I would have died.
“It’s been life changing.”
Stats before and after
WEIGHT: 14st 4lb
SHIRT SIZE: Extra large and 17in collar
LIVER FAT: 27% (ten times fatter than it should be)
WEIGHT: 12st 8lb
SHIRT SIZE: Medium and 16in collar
LIVER FAT: 2%
Diet before and after
BREAKFAST: Bowl of cornflakes with semi- skimmed milk
LUNCH: Sainsbury’s triple chicken sandwich
DINNER: Sausage, mash, peas and gravy
SNACKS: Packet of crisps, packet of roasted peanuts
BREAKFAST: Vanilla shake
LUNCH: 11am, cookies and cream shake. 3pm, banana shake
DINNER: Salmon and salad
SNACKS: Cooked meat wrapped in lettuce with sugar-free chilli sauce
‘I want to be there for my grandson’
MUM-of-three Tracey Ward, 48, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes around two years ago.
She recalls: “It was a huge shock and quite scary when I started looking into it.”
� 2018 Richard Walker/ ImageNorth Single mum Tracey had been struggling with her weight ever since she had her son
At 5ft 3in, and 15st 3lb, Tracey, of Harrogate, North Yorks, was obese.
The single mum, an author and artist, had begun struggling with her weight after having son Haydn, 25, and continued to do so after Samuel, 19, and daughter Jean, 17, came along.
She says: “I put on a stone with each pregnancy. I got into a vicious cycle of comfort eating, which was difficult to break.”
Haydn’s three-year-old son Jasper was Tracey’s motivation for taking part in the experiment. “I want to be around to see him grow up,” she says. “A friend’s mum died from type 2 diabetes and I didn’t want to follow in those footsteps.”
� 2018 Richard Walker/ ImageNorth Tracey is told at the end of the experiment that she no longer has diabetes
It was only after signing up to the show that she found out what would be involved.
Tracey recalls: “I detested the shakes to begin with. They’re the consistency of baby food and taste like it too.
“The first few weeks were a shock, then when I went home I was surrounded by temptation, but I stuck to it.”
Tonight viewers will see Tracey told at the end of the experiment that she no longer has diabetes.
She says it’s an amazing feeling that she is now free of the disease – and also no longer has to take her twice-daily diabetes medication, Metformin.
“It feels like it’s saved my life,” Tracey says. “I wasn’t really living before. During the experiment they fitted me with a leg monitor. It showed I was spending 22 hours a day not moving.
© 2018 Richard Walker/ ImageNorth Through the show Tracey discovered she spent 22 hours of the day not moving
Tracey had exercise-related asthma and couldn’t walk anywhere without her inhaler. Now she rarely uses it, saying: “I’m a different person. I’ve gone from not being able to walk up the stairs without my inhaler to going to the gym four times a week.”
Tracey, who has since written a book Not Rocket Science – Reverse Your Type 2 Diabetes And Be A Better Version Of Yourself, has started reintroducing solid food but still drinks the shakes.
She admits: “I like the taste of them now. They are also handy for when I’m out instead of grabbing something unhealthy.
“I’ve yet to have potatoes or bread, I’ll be following a low-carb diet from now on.”
Stats before and after
WEIGHT: 15st 3lb
DRESS SIZE: 22
LIVER FAT: 22.7% (nine times fatter than it should be)
DRESS SIZE: 14
LIVER FAT: 6.6%
Diet before and after
BREAKFAST: Three buttered crumpets
LUNCH: Whole French stick with Dairylea spread
DINNER: Spag Bol
SNACKS: Muffin, packet of chocolate digestives, packet of Sherbet Lemons, packet of chocolate éclair sweets
BREAKFAST: Cherry Bakewell shake
LUNCH: Cherries and berries shake
DINNER: Omelette with chicken and steamed vegetables
SNACKS: Bowl of blackberries and strawberries