A recent article in the BMJ has caused some controversy, by suggesting that diet shakes and soups be recommended by the NHS to aid weight loss.

The increase in people turning to liquid diet plans has increased significantly over the past 10 years, as slimmers are drawn to the rapid and significant weight loss that can be achieved in a short period of time. The rise in popularity in liquid diet plans such as Lighter Life and Slim Fast, is marked and supermarkets now have large sections of diet soups, shakes and liquid meal plans.

Obesity remains a significant problem in the UK. Public Health England reports that, in 2015, 63% of adult in the UK were classed as overweight or obese.

But is this a fad or is their real science behind the diet plan?

University of Oxford research has found that people on total diet replacement programmes lose three times more weight than those on conventional diets and can reduce type 2 diabetes.

The study which reviewed 278 people saw half the group limit their daily calorie intake to 810 calories for 8 weeks and then reintroduce other food gradually, over the next four weeks. Participants also saw a trained counsellor each week. The second half of the group was given normal GP weight loss management advice.

Prof Paul Aveyard, study author and Professor of behavioural medicine at the University of Oxford, commented, “total diet replacement programmes are designed for people who are obese with a body mass index over 30 and who have been unable to lose weight despite the changes in diet and lifestyle…but these programmes get you when your mental strength is at its highest”.

Obesity and related illnesses is the major cause of death in the UK, with over 300,000 deaths being related to weight, according to Public Health England. It’s estimated that obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion a year.

The NHS has seen an increase in bariatric surgery on the NHS and although whilst largely successful, particularly in the reduction of type 2 diabetes, the cost to the NHS has now resulted in fewer surgical procedures being authorised.

However, bariatric surgery is a complex and significant procedure. It’s important that patients are correctly consented before the operation and told of all the risks. There can often be complications from lap band, gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgery and it is important that a patient is told of all the possible complications, in order to make an informed choice.

If your weight loss surgery has gone wrong or you weren’t told of the risks of surgery, contact our clinical negligence team on 0845 287 0939 for an initial free interview or submit your enquiry online.

More information and statistics on public health and obesity, together with online guides for losing weight can be found here.