Share this article

We recently announced a new partnership with Diabetes UK, to work together to share expertise on weight loss, long-term eating habits and diabetes. We know that losing weight, if living with overweight or obesity, is an important factor for diabetes management and losing just 5% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We’ve supported thousands of members living with diabetes to make lasting healthy changes, lose weight and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

Through partnering with Diabetes UK, we’ll further strengthen the service and support that we offer to members living with diabetes and those at risk of type 2 diabetes, while deepening our understanding of the unique challenges they face. With 3,500 Consultants UK-wide, and more than 700,000 Slimming World members, we can help more people get the right advice on safely losing weight with diabetes or if you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes – with potentially life-changing results.

How can Slimming World help people with diabetes and those at risk of type 2 diabetes?

At Slimming World, we’re committed to effectively helping our members with diabetes to eat well, lose weight and improve their quality of life. We’ve conducted several studies looking at the health and weight loss outcomes of these members, and plan to continue our research. An evaluation, published in the journal Archives of Diabetes & Obesity in 2021, showed that, of the members surveyed:

  • 33.9% of those with type 2 diabetes reported their diabetes had gone into remission; this increased to 51% for those who’d lost at least 10% of their body weight
  • 61% were able to reduce or stop taking their diabetes medication
  • 81% saw improvements in their blood glucose (also known as blood sugar levels) management
  • 80% reported an improved quality of life
  • 76% found it easy to follow our Food Optimising eating plan alongside the dietary advice from their healthcare team

The latest evaluation also includes members living with type 1 diabetes, with 88% reporting improvements in their blood sugar levels.

We hope that by sharing resources and expertise with Diabetes UK, we’ll build on our knowledge of weight loss and diabetes even further, so we can support members with the latest and most effective information in diabetes care, and signpost into Diabetes UK’s services when specialist support is needed. We’re also keen to reach even more people living with diabetes who’d like to lose weight and support them on a truly life-changing journey.

Is it safe for someone with diabetes to join Slimming World?

Ensuring that all our members lose weight in a safe, healthy and responsible way is vitally important to Slimming World – and we have a range of systems in place to safeguard members of our groups and our digital service, Slimming World Online.

Before they join, we ask new members if there are any medical reasons why they shouldn’t start a weight loss journey, and to let us know if they have certain medical conditions – we always signpost them back to their healthcare team if there are any concerns.

Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is effective, evidence-based and nutritionally balanced. It puts members in control of what they eat and when, and is easily tailored to suit all dietary needs, including those required for health conditions (for example, reducing the amounts of carbohydrates in your diet).

At the heart of Food Optimising is a focus on Free Food – more than 350 healthy, satisfying foods that you can enjoy until you’re satisfied, there’s no need to weigh or measure – allowing plenty of choice, whatever your individual dietary requirement. However, we understand that some people living with diabetes count their carbohydrates and will want to continue to weigh and measure their intake. Where this is the case, they should speak to their Consultant about how to adapt Food Optimising to work for them.

To help provide an essential balance of nutrients, Slimming World members are encouraged to enjoy measured Healthy Extras (foods rich in calcium and fibre) every day. Foods that are high in fat (especially saturated fats) or added sugars are included in the plan with a Syn value, so that our members can enjoy their favourite foods, while getting the healthy weight loss they want. For our members with diabetes, our advice is  that foods used to treat hypoglycaemia (such as jelly babies, glucose tablets and fruit juice) are not counted as Syns, as they’re an essential part of diabetes management. Importantly, if a member is having hypos regularly, we’d always advise that they discuss their overall diet and medication with their healthcare team and continue to follow any specific medical or dietary advice they give.

With more than 2,000 recipes on the Slimming World website and app – all of them able to be adapted if necessary – it’s easy for our members to find delicious, slimming-friendly dishes to suit all dietary requirements. Through our partnership with Diabetes UK, we’ll be boosting our recipe bank even further with co-branded recipes selected specifically with our members living with diabetes in mind.

How does Slimming World safeguard people with eating disorders?

At Slimming World, we understand that eating disorders are complex, and that people with a history of eating disorders or current eating disorders are always best supported by healthcare professionals.Through our partnership with Diabetes UK, we’re learning more about the complexities people living with diabetes face, including the challenges around disordered eating.

As part of our safeguarding process, we ask all new members to let us know if they have a current eating disorder or a history of an eating disorder. These members are advised to talk to their healthcare team so that they can be given personalized advice and support, and to ensure that the support of Slimming World is right for them at this time guidance.

To further safeguard our members’ health and wellbeing throughout their membership, we have minimum weights that we’ll accept for new members, and as a member’s personal achievement target – to ensure that no one aims to fall below a healthy weight. If that happens, or if there are any concerns about a member’s wellbeing, we have policies and support systems in place.

Are Slimming World Consultants health professionals?

Slimming World Consultants aren’t health professionals, and we always advise that our members living with diabetes follow their healthcare team’s advice. Their Consultant will support them to incorporate this into the Food Optimising plan for a way to lose weight that’s effective, healthy and works with their dietary needs.

All of our Consultants are trained in healthy eating, physical activity, and the science and psychology of slimming and weight management. This training is developed by a team of Slimming World experts, including registered nutritionists and dietitians, and our Head Office research team.

When selecting Slimming World Consultants, we look for people who understand, can empathise with and support people in managing their weight – and because our Consultants have lost weight with Slimming World themselves, they understand first-hand the many challenges that members face.

In-depth training and tools developed from more than 50 years of experience in weight loss and weight management ensure that our Consultants can effectively help members on their own unique journeys – and our partnership with Diabetes UK will strengthen this even further for members with diabetes. Together, we will work to reduce the stigma around diabetes and weight, while helping those living with diabetes to manage their weight and improve their health in a fully supported way.

Find out more about our partnership with Diabetes UK here

Share this article