Research busts myth that patients with diabetes can’t lose weight

The power of group support! Slimming World is effective for patients with diabetes

  • On average patients lost 5.5% of their starting weight after a year

  • 20% of patients lost more than 10% body weight. Some patients were able to stop their diabetes medication altogether

Research* has revealed the Slimming World programme is successful in supporting patients who have type 2 diabetes to lose weight and manage their glucose control.

The findings, published in the journal Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, busts the common misconception that people with type 2 diabetes can’t manage their weight through healthy lifestyle changes.

The study, championed by Audley Health Centre in Staffordshire, involved 69 patients who were referred to a Slimming World group by their diabetes specialist nurse. These patients attended up to 12 funded weekly Slimming World group sessions and were offered a second 12-week referral if they achieved a 3% weight loss.

By 12 months, patients on average, had lost a clinically significant 5.5% of their weight showing Slimming World is effective for patients with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, 20% of patients achieved more than a 10% weight reduction with many participants seeing improvements in glucose control and remarkably, six patients were able to reduce or stop taking their diabetes medication altogether.

Participants also reported healthy lifestyle changes after this time, including less reliance on processed foods and unhealthy snacking and being more likely to go for regular walks.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition and Research at Slimming World, says: “We know the obesity crisis is a ticking timebomb, on both our personal health, and that of the NHS which is funding a vast range of treatments associated with type 2 diabetes and other weight related problems. The results above showcase what can be done directly in the community, at a Slimming World group. We believe the support you get from being in a warm, empowering group environment is key to helping you eat more healthily and becoming more active too.”

“There has been a lot of coverage in the press recently about suitable diets for people with type 2 diabetes. Our Food Optimising eating plan is so flexible - the vast range of food which members can enjoy includes fruit, vegetables, lean meat and fish, and pulses as well as starchy carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes. For our members with diabetes, the plan can be tailored to fit their individual needs ensuring it is in line with the dietary advice from their health care professional.”


Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition & Research
The results above showcase what can be done directly in the community, at a Slimming World group. We believe the support you get from being in a warm, empowering group environment is key to helping you eat more healthily and becoming more active too.
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Nutrition & Research

Commenting on the study, Audley Health Centre’s Practice Manager Julie Stokes says: “The results are truly impressive. Any drug manufacturers would be pleased with this outcome. The study really does demonstrate support for a Slimming World approach for patients who are overweight and have diabetes. While there was no control group, the reductions in HbA1c, weight and prescribed medication are very significant.”

GP Dr Sharon Turner, Audley Health Centre says: “We are hugely thankful to Slimming World for their hard work with our patients with diabetes. The skill and contribution to the care of these patients has made a real difference to their lives, their treatments and their health outcomes. We have received many positive comments from group members. All the hard work and commitment of the Slimming World Consultant is greatly appreciated.”

Slimming World on Referral allows health professionals looking for weight-management services to refer patients whose weight is affecting their health to Slimming World groups, offering them free membership, in blocks of 12 weeks. Many of these patients then go on to self-fund after their 12-week membership period is up. Slimming World’s research shows that referral members who attend at least 10 out of 12 sessions lose on average over 5% of their starting weight – a clinically significant amount – at about half the cost of obesity drugs.

Case study

Dave Lancaster, 45, a Slimming World member who lives in Warwick and is Slimming World’s Man of the Year, lived with type 2 diabetes, but saw his condition go into remission after losing more than 20st.

“At my heaviest I suffered from a long list of health complaints, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, crippling joint pain, high cholesterol, the beginnings of gout and sleep apnoea. I found it difficult to walk to the end of my road and I went out so rarely except for work that I was close to becoming a recluse, and I was nearing almost complete immobility. It felt as though as I was getting bigger and bigger, my world was gradually shrinking.

“So in April 2016 I bit the bullet and joined my local Slimming World group, run by my former neighbour Angie Baker. As I walked through the door, Angie instantly recognised me.

“The following day I filled my cupboards with healthy ingredients and began to embrace Slimming World’s Food Optimising eating plan with vigour, cooking a range of dishes including stir-fries, salads and pasta from scratch. Inspired by the other members in my group, I also began walking around my local park.

“Thanks to the changes I’ve made my health has improved dramatically and I no longer need to take any medication. My blood sugar reading is now in the normal range and the doctor says I show no symptoms of type 2 diabetes. I’ve got my life back and I couldn’t be happier. The world isn’t shrinking anymore; it’s getting bigger and bigger by the day!”


*Read the full paper here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/edm2.45


About Slimming World

Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969 and is now celebrating its 50th anniversary. 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 5,500 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. 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. The principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people and recognition that those who struggle with weight carry a double burden, the weight itself and a burden of guilt and shame about their weight. 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