A soup-and-shake diet will be rolled out to more regions in England after a study found it helped obese people shed more than two stone in three months.

NHS England said people will be able to access the diet via their GP in south west London.

More than 2,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes have taken part in the NHS soups and shakes diet programme, each losing 7.2kg (1 stone, 1lb) on average after one month and 13.4kg (2 stone, 1lb) after three months.

NHS England said new data suggests people are able to keep the weight off over time.

Three months after stopping soups and shakes, people were able to maintain their weight loss.

Previous clinical data has shown that around half of people who lose weight on a similar diet were able to achieve remission from their Type 2 diabetes after one year.

Off the back of the progress of the study, NHS England said thousands more people will be able to access the diet via their GP in several regions of England.

These are: North East and North Cumbria, West Yorkshire, Lancashire and South Cumbria, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Black Country, Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, Mid and South Essex, South West London, Kent and Medway and Sussex.

Once put on the diet, people are able to get the shakes and soups for free on the NHS and follow the plan for three months.

They receive support from clinicians and coaches and, after three months, people are given a programme that reintroduces healthy, nutritious food.

The support on offer includes virtual one-to-ones, online help and groups.

The diet is open to people aged 18 to 65 diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the last six years and with a body mass index (BMI) over 27 (or over 25 in people of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin).

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: “The fantastic results our participants have achieved through this programme are really encouraging, and show that real-world experience is in line with what we have found in trials.

“We know this weight loss will go a long way to help people stay well and avoid preventable illness, and for many will also mean they can put Type 2 diabetes into remission.

“This is also the latest example of the NHS rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people with Type 2 diabetes live well.

“With research showing that obesity causes more severe illness from Covid-19, as well as other serious diseases, there has never been a more important time to lose weight.”

Diabetes is estimated to cost the NHS £10 billion a year, with treatment making up one in 20 prescriptions written by GPs.

Karen Bradbury, aged 50 from Derbyshire, started the programme around a year ago.

She said: “I have battled with my weight on and off over the years and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“I was told by my nurse that if my levels hadn’t reduced significantly by my next review, I’d be put on daily medication and I really didn’t want that.

“Since being on the low calorie diet programme, I have felt totally supported by the practitioners and all the tools available. I’ve learnt loads about Type 2 diabetes and how to manage stress and habits with food.

“I feel so much healthier. I have lost 5 stone, 3.5lbs and my blood sugar levels have nearly halved – which meant I didn’t have to start medication.

“My energy levels have increased substantially, and I am now swimming three to four times a week and walking every day.

“I used to wake up to 10 times a night to use the bathroom, I was thirsty all the time, exhausted and generally felt unwell.

“Now I sleep soundly all night and feel less tired during the day.

“My mental health has also improved.

“I feel better and I’m living better for me and my children.

“I’m so grateful that I was offered this opportunity.”

Nadeem Akhtar, 49 from Sheffield, has lost more than three stone since starting the programme and has put his Type 2 diabetes into remission.

He said: “I lost my mum to diabetes, which was devastating. It really showed me just how destructive this disease can be, and I really didn’t want to go down the same path.

“Being on the plan is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family.

“It was hard at first, but my health coach was so understanding and really helped me through the difficult times and keep up healthier habits.”

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We’re delighted to see the expansion of NHS England’s free weight-loss programme for people living with Type 2 diabetes.

“Since its launch, this low-calorie diet pilot, inspired by Diabetes UK’s ground-breaking DiRECT trial, has helped thousands of people across England access the support they need to lose weight effectively and potentially put their Type 2 diabetes in remission.”