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Meal Replacement Shake Diet - Is It Really Effective?

Meal Replacement Shake Diet - Is It Really Effective?

Grace Kingswell
5 minute read

Could this NHS shake diet  save your life?

In the news this week Oxford scientists have validated a calorie restricted and nutrient dense fasting programme for the successful treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, and by extension Covid-19. Given that we here at Presscription also promote a nutritious fasting programme using organic, cold-pressed vegetables, fruits and nuts we thought we’d take the opportunity to examine this new shake diet offered on the NHS for those trying to lose weight and put their Type 2 Diabetes into remission. 

What is it? 

So firstly this diet isn’t new. In fact, the NHS have been offering this 800 calorie diet since 2018 and results from one of the trials showed that almost half of those that went on the diet achieved remission of their diabetic condition within a year. The diet consists of shakes and soups for the first few months until weight loss has been achieved and thereafter solid food is reintroduced under supervision to ensure that a healthy weight and exercise routine is maintained. 

We spoke to Nutritional Therapist Grace Kingswell about the diet to get her take:


Q: In your mind as a NT what are the positive aspects of this calorie restricted diet? 

A: Well firstly I think it’s certainly a positive that the NHS and the powers that be are really taking the increased threat to life from Covid due to obesity, seriously. In my mind I think it’s a shame that it’s taken a pandemic to really put a plan into action that could help thousands of people lose weight and increase their life expectancy.

We also know from studies and research now that calorie controlled diets lead to greater longevity overall - so actually helping people to train themselves to not overeat and indulge so much is probably another good thing to come out of this. We also put a lot less stress on our digestive system when we aren't constantly snacking, much like with a juice cleanse or fast the body gets a chance to do other vital work rather than just taking care of digestion all the time. 

Lastly I think that if a calorie controlled diet like this can help change the mindset of the person to help them make healthier food choices long term then that’s a huge win. Something we often hear at Prescription is that a 3 day juice cleanse has really helped customers to ditch their naughty habits and reintroduce healthier food choices for good. 


Type 2 Diabetes is a condition often associated with being overweight, but is essentially an insulin resistant condition where the body fails to regulate blood sugar accurately. We could all do with a bit of a sugar detox every now and again, so why not give ours a go?

"Juices were delicious and filling. Almost struggled to finish the 8th juice! Stopped all my sugar cravings! Perfect for a lockdown cleanse! I will be doing the gut cleanse in a few weeks." - Sugar Detox Cleanse 

Q: And what about the negatives? 

A: Well as I’ve spoken about this before weight loss is never as simple as calories in Vs. calories out, and I think that generally speaking just making the dialogue about calories is far too reductionist because it then becomes so easy to victimise fat (even the healthy types), and start eating the same meal over and over again because it ‘hits our macros.’ Really what we need is an education push to help people understand that their bodies need fuelling with quality sources of protein, healthy fats and a rainbow of veg to really be healthy long term. Having the time and the money to cook from scratch with organic ingredients is certainly a privilege. But what I’d really love to see with this ‘shake diet’ is after the initial phase of weight loss which helps to reverse the Type 2 Diabetic condition, rather than just introducing solid foods with an emphasis on low calorie foods (lean chicken, boring iceberg lettuce and some brown rice if you’re lucky), I’d love to see the programme include simple and quick meals to cook from scratch on a budget. This would really help shift the focus to building back in the diversity of different plant foods and the different types of fibre they contain (which help to feed our gut bugs), that would be severely lacking during the shake and soup part. 

We at Presscription think it’s really interesting that a calorie controlled but nutritious fasting programme is finally making it to the mainstream, but like Grace we’re sorry that it’s taken a worldwide pandemic to make this happen. We’ll continue to offer our nutrient dense, organic juices and nut mylks for anything from a 1 to a 7 day cleanse if you’d like to experience the benefits of freeing up some extra energy, taking the pressure off your digestive system and shifting a few pounds for yourself! 

Bring on the juice cleanse! 


"I’ve just completed a 3 day cleanse and I’m actually disappointed it’s over. I’m usually a 3 meals a day and snacks so was quite nervous. But I never felt hungry, the juices were tasty and I honestly had so much more energy by the second day. If you’re considering doing this, go for it. You won’t be disappointed!" - The Signature Cleanse, Rebecca O.

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