The recent expansion of the NHS’s Type 2 Diabetes reversal plan, which is reliant on nutritionally balanced meal replacement drinks for diabetics, could put the spotlight back on them as a choice for consumers looking to make healthy product choices.

The NHS’s plan gives consumers four liquid only shakes and soups to consume per day, making up a total of just 800 calories. However unlike earlier liquid meal replacement products such as Slimfast, the shakes and soups are designed to give consumers all of the nutrients and minerals they need. The diet results in dramatic weight loss and almost half those taking part have reversed their diabetes, a feat not thought possible at all until just a few years ago.

According to GlobalData’s Q3 2016 survey consumers meal replacement products are a relatively niche method of weight loss, as only 11% of UK consumers who are actively trying to lose weight say they are replacing normal food and drink with diet food and drink. In contrast 60% are following a healthier meal plan, 48% are eating smaller portions and 24% of consumers are eating natural/less processed foods.

The earlier generations of Meal Replacement drinks were plagued by consumer doubts over their nutritional content and claims from health columnists that they didn’t provide sustainable weight loss like a long term dietary change could. But innovation in nutritionally balanced meal replacements can only be encouraged by this development, and this acts as endorsement that they work as part of an initial weight loss diet plan before longer term, more sustainable changes towards a balanced diet can then be implemented.

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