Half of adults with type 2 diabetes report reversing their condition after losing weight, study reveals

This Diabetes Week (8th – 14th June), new research from Slimming World has shown how losing 10% of body weight through changes in diet and activity can help people with type 2 diabetes to reverse the condition.

The study*, led by the UK and Ireland’s leading weight-management organisation Slimming World, polled members with type 2 diabetes. Of those who had been Slimming World members for six months or more and lost at least 10% of their body weight, more than half (54%) said they believed they had reversed their condition.

Findings from the survey also revealed:

  • 60% were able to reduce or stop taking medication for type 2 diabetes
  • 77% saw improvements in their blood glucose management
  • 84% reported an improved quality of life
  • 75% said they found it easy to fit the dietary requirements they received from their healthcare team into Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan

The findings demonstrate that people with type 2 diabetes can improve their diabetes control by making healthy lifestyle changes and losing weight.

The study reveals 68% of those with type 2 diabetes who were advised by their healthcare team to lose weight achieved 10% weight loss or more, and 83% reported their healthcare teams were pleased with their weight loss progress.

The research also shows 77% of members participating in the study reported improvements in their blood glucose management since joining Slimming World, 85% said they were more active and 60% said they now required less medication for type 2 diabetes with 22% able to stop taking medication completely.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research
It’s so encouraging to see people can achieve such improvements in their diabetes management by making simple changes in diet and activity.
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World, says: “The survey shows us how many members with type 2 diabetes start seeing benefits after losing 10% of their body weight. It’s so encouraging to see people can achieve such improvements in their diabetes management, in fact even reporting they have reversed it, by making simple changes in diet and activity. This survey highlights people with type 2 diabetes don’t need to follow very low-calorie or restrictive diets to transform their health.

“We know that being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be daunting. Often people receive recommendations from their healthcare team and so can benefit from support to help them make these changes to their lifestyle. Our healthy eating plan, called Food Optimising, is so flexible that it’s easy to tailor it to your tastes, budget and life, and as this research shows also ensure it’s in line with any dietary advice received from a health care professional. In fact, in the study 75% of members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit dietary requirements from their healthcare team into our Food Optimising eating plan. Our Body Magic activity programme is also designed to provide a gradual and personalised introduction to moving more, no matter your starting point.

“The findings of our study are especially important this Diabetes Week as new NHS research is reporting that people with diabetes face significantly higher risks after contracting coronavirus. Many people are reporting feeling isolated and worried during this pandemic and those with diabetes may be feeling even more anxious at the moment. However, as our research shows, being a member of a supportive weight loss group can help people with type 2 diabetes to improve their health. The expert support and camaraderie you get from being part of a warm, empowering group environment is key to helping people eat more healthily, become more active and improve their health. Since lockdown began, we have been running virtual groups which our members say have helped them to stay on track with their weight loss and fitness goals, and we’re looking forward to reopening our 19,000 in-person groups as soon as it’s safe to do so.”


“I was told I wouldn’t be here in five years if I didn’t change my lifestyle. I lost 16 stone and now I’m medication free!”

Tracy McCormack, 52, from Leven in Fife, has lost 16st 2lbs.

In July 2016 I went to the GP as I was feeling so unwell, my weight caused me to fall asleep at work from time to time – sometimes mid conversation – and I knew something was wrong. I had blood tests taken and they told me the results would take seven days. The next day the GP phoned to say they had to see me urgently, though, and that same day I was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. I was told I needed to change my lifestyle, or they couldn’t guarantee I would still be here in five years’ time. I was completely shocked and knew this was the wake-up call I needed.

At this point, I was taking four tablets a day for my diabetes on top of the tablets I was already taking for my blood pressure as it was shockingly high. I was also taking painkillers for my joints – I was in agony all the time and even walking was so painful.

My sister Dawn, who has now lost 5st herself, had joined Slimming World a few months earlier and she was doing so well and loving it too! As soon as I came out of the GP’s office, I phoned Dawn and asked her if I could go with her the following day.

I absolutely dreaded going into the group. Weighing 26st 2.5lbs, I felt certain I was going to be the biggest person there and that everyone would stare at me. I had nothing to worry about, though, as everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I promised myself then I would go every week as I knew I would need the expert advice as well as the support and motivation that everyone in the group brings; if I’ve had a tough week then they always pick me up.

I’d never cooked anything from scratch before, everything I ate was convenience food. We have a farm around the corner which I had never been to before, now I go there to get all my fresh fruit and veg. I love the flexibility of Slimming World’s healthy eating plan – we eat exactly what we ate before, just healthier versions. I never feel hungry and I can still enjoy my favourite treats in moderation too!

I’ve now lost 16st 2lbs and my health has improved dramatically – my diabetes is in remission and my blood pressure is now normal. I no longer need to take medication and I don’t fall asleep in work anymore. I have so much more energy and I can even tie my shoelaces, something I couldn’t do before as I couldn’t bend down.

I make sure I get my recommended steps in every day and I even ran the 10K Race for Life for Cancer Research UK with my Slimming World group, I’m getting more and more active each week thanks to their support and encouragement. I’m now a size 12 and love being able to buy clothes instead of ordering them from speciality shops. I’m also much more sociable. I accept invitations to go out, whereas before I would make excuses not to go.

I really feel Slimming World has saved my life. I love the virtual groups and can’t wait for the physical groups to start again so I can see everyone in person. My Consultant and group are like family to me and offer such a lot of support.

I have so much to look forward to now and feel like a different person.”


*Study polled 222 members with type 2 diabetes in May 2020. Data where blood glucose and weight change is reported refers to members with type 2 diabetes who were members for six months or more.

About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now more than 19,000 weekly groups supporting 900,000 members across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 5,000 community-based Slimming World Consultants, who receive specific training in the role of diet and physical activity in weight management, as well as sophisticated behaviour-change techniques. Following the suspension of weekly groups as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Slimming World has launched a temporary virtual service so members can continue to enjoy – in a virtual environment – the vital weight-loss support, but also friendship and community spirit they find in their local group each week. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, is based on the science of satiety and energy density. Our phased activity programme, Body Magic, eases members into activity until it becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine. Slimming World’s programme integrates practical, up-to-date advice with a highly developed support system based on care and compassion, and Consultant training focuses on facilitating, encouraging and empowering members to make changes in a supportive, warm and friendly group environment. Consultant training is delivered through the Slimming World Academy. Slimming World also invests in a comprehensive research programme to develop its support for long-term weight management. The group support provided by Slimming World is recognised as effective by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the NHS.

For more information about Slimming World’s approach visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk or call 0344 897 8000. Follow Slimming World on Twitter at www.twitter.com/slimmingworld or become a Slimming World fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/slimmingworld 

For the Press Office please email public.relations@slimmingworld.co.uk