Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by losing weight, study reveals


This World Diabetes Day (November 14th), Slimming World is raising awareness of research that shows half of adults with diabetes have seen their symptoms reversed after losing weight. The study shows how losing 10% of body weight through changes in diet and activity can help people with type 2 diabetes to reverse the condition.

Faith Roots, 64 from Didcot, Oxfordshire has lost an incredible 8st and reversed her diabetes

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.

Three-fifths (60%) were able to reduce or stop taking medication for type 2 diabetes and 84 per cent reported an improved quality of life.

Findings from the survey also revealed:

  • A fifth (22%) were able to stop taking medication completely
  • 77% saw improvements in their blood glucose management
  • 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
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs at Slimming World
The research has shown that people with type 2 diabetes can manage their weight and diabetes control by making simple changes in diet and activity and there is absolutely no need to follow very low-calorie or restrictive diets to transform their health. More than half (54%) of those who had been Slimming World members for six months or more and lost at least 10% of their body weight, even reported they had managed to reverse their condition. 
Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs at Slimming World

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

    The study also 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 found 77% of members participating in the study reported improvements in their blood glucose management since joining Slimming World and 85% said they were more active.

    Dr Jacquie Lavin, Head of Research and Scientific Affairs at Slimming World, says:

    “Given the links between obesity and more serious outcomes of Covid-19, the support and behaviour change expertise we offer at Slimming World is more important than ever this World Diabetes Day, particularly as NHS research reports people with diabetes face significantly higher risks after contracting coronavirus.

    Members following our healthy eating plan enjoy a diet of filling and satisfying Free Foods – including fruit, vegetables, eggs, poultry, lean meat, fish, beans or pulses, pasta, rice and potatoes which can be tailored to suit individual needs, tastes and budget. In the study, 75% of Slimming World members with type 2 diabetes said they found it easy to fit dietary advice received from their health care professional into our flexible healthy eating plan, called Food Optimising. As the research shows, being a member of a supportive weight loss group can help people with type 2 diabetes to improve their health and become more active. Our Body Magic activity programme is designed to provide gradual and personalised steps to moving more, no matter your starting point.”


    *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.

    “My diabetes nurse looked at my chart, saw I’d lost 8 stone and danced across the room she was so happy!”

    Faith Roots, 64

    Weight loss: 7st 13lbs

    Didcot, Oxfordshire

    “It was February 2017 and I’d just got back from walking the dogs when the phone rang. I had to sit down while I answered it, I was so exhausted. The walk has been less than 10 minutes, but I was completely breathless, and my back was aching. It was my daughter-in-law calling to ask me if I would go with her to her local Slimming World group as she didn’t want to go alone. I was happy to go to support her and we joined together that night.

    I didn’t think too much about it as I’d joined other weight-loss groups before myself and although I saw some success, as soon as I stopped going, I went back to eating the same things I did before and the weight piled back on.

    Back then, I felt so unwell because of my weight. I had type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, severe back pain and collapsed ankles as the extra weight I was carrying had weakened the tendons and ligaments in my feet which meant it was extremely painful to walk or even stand. I was taking three tablets a day for my diabetes and I just had no energy. I’d struggled with my weight my entire adult life and at 17st 13lbs, I knew I needed to do something about it.

    On my first night attending the group, I was apprehensive, and I almost gave up the following week as I only lost half a pound. Then I decided I wouldn’t be beaten, I started cooking from scratch inspired by all the ideas shared in group and I soon started seeing results. I loved getting the awards each time I lost a little bit more weight.

    My Consultant and the other members of the group keep me motivated and are always there for me, even if it’s not been a good week. I feel like part of a family as my group have supported me from day one and I know they will always be there for me to help maintain my weight each week. When this second lockdown is over, I can’t wait for the real-life groups to start again so I can see everyone in person.

    Before joining Slimming World, I wouldn’t plan my meals at all and, now, I always make sure I plan ahead and have lots of fruit and veg in the fridge. I’ve stopped eating sweets and cakes and removed all fat from my cooking. I never feel hungry and I love making a Slimming World Sunday roast – it’s so easy!

    In just over 14 months I lost 8 stone and my health has improved dramatically – my diabetes is in remission and I don’t take any medication at all for it now. My blood pressure is normal, my cholesterol is no longer high, and I don’t suffer from the back pain I had before either. I have so much more energy, I’ve taken up park runs and before lockdown I danced and attended regular exercise classes. I even insisted on doing my usual weekly 5k run the morning of my daughter’s wedding! Throughout the first lockdown, I was so active I ran at least 5k every day, sometimes 10k and on one occasion a half marathon distance. I’m planning to continue this over the next four weeks. Anything is possible if you really want to do it.

    I know I’ve inspired lots of people to join Slimming World as I’m always getting asked for advice since I lost weight and seeing those people lose weight too has been incredible. When I saw my diabetes nurse, she looked at my chart, then looked at me and said, “You’ve lost 8 stone!!” and started dancing around the room. In the last few days, I got the results of my long-term blood sugars test and it’s been the same now for 6 months. If it stays the same for the next 6 months, I will have a diagnosis of complete remission meaning I’ll no longer have diabetes. I’ll have got rid of it! The nurse who gave me the results was keen to make sure I didn’t underestimate what I've achieved and it’s made me realise how well I’ve done and to make sure I keep the weight off.

    I feel like a different person, losing weight has changed my life. Shopping for clothes is so easy now - I’ve gone from a size 26 to a size 12 and I love it. I never had any confidence before to talk to people and I would be the one sat quietly in the corner. I’ve been single since 1997, 23 years (!) and now I’m in a relationship with someone, which I never thought would happen. It’s clear to me losing weight gave me the confidence I needed. My family have seen me blossom and they are so proud of me. I can’t believe the difference physically and I never realised my personality would change too, I feel healthy and vibrant and I’ve finally found my zest for life!”

    Breakfast: several slices of toast with butter and jam
    Lunch: cup of soup and large roll covered in lashings of butter
    Dinner: anything with chips, for example pizza, fish and chips or spaghetti bolognaise covered in cheese
    Snacks: crisps or cakes especially cream cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolates.
    Supper: hot chocolate and cake
    Breakfast: porridge with berries or 2 Weetabix with berries and fat free natural yoghurt
    Snacks: coffee, banana and grapes or apples
    Lunch: pasta with tomato sauce and a variety of vegetables. Skimmed milk latte and some protein chicken or ham.
    Dinner: roast meat with all fat removed, lots of vegetables, potatoes or pasta with blueberries, grapes and strawberries and fat free natural yoghurt for dessert
    About Slimming World

    Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) in 1969. There are now thousands of weekly groups across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Groups are run by a network of 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. 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