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Is the NHS Soups and Shakes Diet available in my area?

Find out where the NHS programme is running and what to do if you're not in one of those locations.

About the soups and shakes diet

In 2020, the NHS launched a year-long research trial aimed at helping those recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes lose weight, a key factor in managing and, in some cases, reversing the condition.

Based on the evidence from two major studies (the DiRECT trial and the DROPLET trial) the NHS launched The NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme, also known as the NHS Soup and Shakes Diet or the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme (it has had a few names over the years!).

The NHS spends £10 billion treating type 2 diabetes and its complications every year, making effective treatment a major health priority. In recent years, life-changing research has made the hope of finding a solution a reality.

Weight loss is now widely acknowledged as an effective way to achieve remission, with clinical trials showing that of individuals who lost over 15kg of weight, 86% successfully reached remission.[1]

Is the NHS soups and shakes programme running near me?

The programme is currently only available in 30 areas around the UK and where it is running, numbers are restricted. Patients must meet certain criteria to be eligible to participate, including: age 18-65 years, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes within the last 6 years, and a BMI of over 27 (for those from White ethnic groups) or over 25 (for those from Black, Asian, and other ethnic groups).
The NHS shakes & soups programme is running in the following locations:
  • Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
  • Birmingham and Solihull (including West Birmingham)
  • Black Country
  • Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Frimley
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Humber and North Yorkshire
  • Kent and Medway
  • Lancashire and South Cumbria
  • Mid and South Essex
  • North Central London
  • North East and North Cumbria
  • North East London
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (including Bassetlaw)
  • Somerset
  • South West London
  • South Yorkshire
  • Sussex
  • West Yorkshire
The NHS shakes & soups pilot (now concluded) was run in the following locations:
  • Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire
  • Bucks, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
  • Herefordshire and Worcestershire
  • Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
  • Northamptonshire
  • South East London
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent,
  • Surrey Heartlands

How do I participate if I’m not in one of those locations?

While the NHS programme is a new initiative, it isn’t a unique method. The premise behind the programme, a low-calorie meal plan combined with behavioural support for long-term habit change, is exactly what we offer here at Habitual.

Available from as little as £115/month, our flexible meal plans provide a suitable alternative for individuals unable to access the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme. Find out more about our plans, including cost, duration, and what you can expect to achieve—or if you’d like to try our meals before signing up to a full programme, you can do so here.

Our meal plans help you follow a daily 800 calorie diet using Habitual soups and shakes, your own home-cooked meals, or a combination of the two. With low-calorie recipes, personalised care, private support groups, and our expert behaviour change programme, our app completes your plan and partners with you on your journey to better health.

Everything we do here at Habitual is backed by science. Our plans are based on decades of scientific research and follow the latest practices in type 2 diabetes care, nutrition, and behaviour change science.

Our co-founders, Dr Ian Braithwaite and Napala Pratini, met helping to deliver type 2 diabetes reversal research. They soon realised the potential to help millions of people change their lives for the better by addressing not only weight, but also overall health and wellbeing. This philosophy is central to our mission as we work hard to make better health accessible to as many people as possible.

Explore Soups & Shakes Plans

What’s involved in the NHS shakes & soups plan?

Those eligible to take part in the NHS programme are provided with ‘total diet replacement’ products for 3 months. These soups and shakes provide around 800 calories a day and participants are also given behavioural coaching to increase their exercise levels.

After this 3-month period participants gradually reintroduce ordinary, nutritious food with ongoing support from expert clinicians and diet coaches.

Participants can choose between face-to-face and digital coaching to go alongside their total diet replacement plan.

Who is eligible for the
NHS Soups and Shakes plan?

To join the NHS Low Calorie Diet Programme, individuals must meet initial eligibility criteria, including:

  • be aged 18 – 65 years
  • have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes within the last 6 years
  • have a BMI over 27 kg/m2 (where individuals are from White ethnic groups) or over 25 kg/m2 (where individuals are from Black, Asian and other ethnic groups)

How does
Habitual compare?

Both Habitual and the NHS shakes & soups approaches are based on the same scientific evidence, but the key difference is accessibility. Thanks to the digital delivery of our behaviour change programme, resources, and support via the Habitual app, our programme is accessible to everyone in the UK, including those without a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

Compare our programmes

Who is eligible for the
Habitual programmes?

The health and safety of our members is our primary concern, which is why we liaise with GPs prior to starting a plan to ensure all medical needs are covered.

Please note that we do require an eligibility assessment to ensure you are safe to participate in a shakes & soups programme.

Check my eligibility here

What can I eat on a soups and shakes diet plan?

The full Habitual meal range includes soups, shakes, and porridges in 10 different flavours. Each meal is nutritionally-complete, providing you with everything you need to feel your best while losing weight. The number of meals you eat each day is dependent on the plan you join.

We appreciate that total diet replacement (a shakes and soups diet) isn’t for everyone and that sometimes, life has other ideas. Our three different plans, starting at £99 a month, give you the flexibility you need to confidently follow your plan without compromising on everyday life.

How you make up your 800kcals a day varies with each plan, but you can be sure that no matter what plan you’re on, you’ll also benefit from:
A taster box of all 10 flavours in our meal range
Personal support from our Patient Care team
Monthly meal boxes delivered to your door
Private WhatsApp group chat with fellow members
Daily science-backed lessons, delivered via the app
Weekly reports and insights into 
your progress

What does the science say about following an 800kcal diet and type 2 diabetes reversal?

Science underpins everything we do here at Habitual, and our meal plans are no different. Over the last few years, the scientific community has gathered a significant amount of evidence demonstrating the role of weight loss in type 2 diabetes reversal.

Following promising results from smaller studies,[3] the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT) set out to determine the role of weight loss in type 2 diabetes remission.

The trial enrolled 306 participants, all of whom had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the previous 6 years. Half of the participants received the existing care plan for type 2 diabetes while the other half followed a low-calorie total diet replacement (TDR) plan before gradually reintroducing food and following a behaviour change programme.

The long-term progress of participants is still being collected but the outcomes from the early years have already changed our understanding of type 2 diabetes care.

After the first year, nearly half the participants (45.6%) on the low-calorie TDR programme were in remission. The amount of weight lost seemed to strongly influence remission, with 86% of people who lost 15kg+ reversing their type 2 diabetes, 57% of those who lost 10-15kg, and 34% of people who lost 5-10kg. After the second year, 70% of those in remission at the 1-year mark were still in remission.[1]

The results of a similar study, published after the DiRECT trial, found similarly astounding results—following a low-calorie TDR and physical exercise programme, over 60% of participants reached type 2 remission.[4]

TDR programmes provide people with around 800 calories a day via a liquid diet but it isn’t the only way to follow a low-calorie diet. A number of reliable studies have gone on to explore whether its possible to achieve the benefits of TDR programmes with an 800 calorie food-based diet. Participants across all three studies achieved a weight loss of 9-11kg, as well as improvements in blood sugar levels and other health markets.[5-7]

Taylor said: “What we have shown is that it is possible to reverse your diabetes, even if you have had the condition for a long time, up to around 10 years. If you have had the diagnosis for longer than that, then don’t give up hope – major improvement in blood sugar control is possible.”

The details of the trials leading the way for the NHS Low-Calorie Diet Programme can be found here:

  • DiRECT 1 year results
  • DiRECT 2 year results

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are too high over a sustained period of time. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all people living with diabetes in the UK, and is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin as they should.


[1] Lean, M.E.J., Leslie, W.S., Barnes, A.C., et al. (2018). Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT): an open-label, cluster-randomised trial. Lancet 391(10120):541-551.
[2] Lean, M.E.J., Leslie, W.S., Barnes, A.C., et al. Durability of a primary care-led weight-management intervention for remission of type 2 diabetes: 2-year results of the DiRECT open-label, cluster-randomised trial. (2019). Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 7(5):344-355.
[3] Aroda, V. et al. (2017) "Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide versus once-daily insulin glargine as add-on to metformin (with or without sulfonylureas) in insulin-naive patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 4): a randomised, open-label, parallel-group, multicentre, multinational, phase 3a trial", The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 5(5), pp. 355-366. doi: 10.1016/s2213-8587(17)30085-2.
[4] Taheri, S., Zaghloul, H., Chagoury, O., et al. (2020) Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on bodyweight and glycaemia in early type 2 diabetes (DIADEM-I): an open-label, parallel-group randomised controlled trial. Lancet 8(6):477-489.
[5] Astbury, N.M., Aveyard, P., Nickless, A., et al. (2018). Doctor referral of overweight people to low energy total diet replacement treatment (DROPLET): pragmatic randomised controlled trial. BMJ 362:K3760.
[6] Christensen, P, Meinert Larsen, T, et al. (2018). Men and women respond differently to rapid weight loss: Metabolic outcomes of a multi-centre intervention study after a low‐energy diet in 2500 overweight, individuals with pre-diabetes (PREVIEW). Diabetes Obes Metab 20: 2840– 2851.
[7] Morris, E., Aveyard, P., Dyson, P., et al. (2019). A food-based, low-energy, low-carbohydrate diet for people with type 2 diabetes in primary care: A randomized controlled feasibility trial. Diabetes Obes Metab 22(4):512-520.