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Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes offered new weight management programme

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Nestlé Health Science are piloting a clinically supported weight management programme for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in six Tesco stores across England.

Patients will be able to access OptiJourney, which is inspired by recent research which found that a quarter of trial participants maintained weight loss of over 10kg and that a third achieved remission from type 2 diabetes after two years. Over 3.2 million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes and that number continues to rise.

Around 7 million people are thought to have elevated blood glucose levels, sometimes known as prediabetes, and are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if not addressed through lifestyle changes, including weight loss. People with prediabetes are also invited to participate in this programme.

OptiJourney is designed to help participants lose weight within a supportive and knowledgeable environment. While not everyone will be able to achieve remission, weight loss for people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes has other recognised health benefits.

All participants will be screened by Tesco pharmacists, and will be supported throughout by OptiJourney coaches, who can be accessed by the specially designed app. The programme is built around a calorie intake of 800-850 a day achieved by replacing all food with Optifast shakes, bars and soups for 8-12 weeks, and followed by a month of gradual reintroduction of normal food. All participants will have access to an OptiJourney coach via the app and will have access to a dietitian when reintroducing food. Optifast products provide adequate amounts of all essential nutrients required in an adult’s daily diet.

Nigel Bathurst, Business Executive Officer of Nestlé Health Science, said: “It’s an enormous privilege to join Tesco in taking our mission of advancing the therapeutic role of nutrition to people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. OptiJourney is built on the foundation of clinical trial data and personal support via a user-friendly app, and we believe it can be truly transformational. Business really can be a force for good and can help change lives for good.”

Judith Robinson, Head of Health and Wellness for Tesco said: “We’re always looking for ways to help our customers lead healthier lives and we are delighted to be working with Nestlé Health Science to offer this unique service. Patients will be supported by Tesco pharmacists and we hope the programme will make a real difference to people living with type 2 diabetes and those who are prediabetic.”



Notes to Editor:

For more information, including access to images please contact: Nestlé UK Press Office on 020 8667 6005 or e-mail [email protected]

Participating Tesco stores

  • Fulbourn, Cherry Hinton
  • Northampton South Extra
  • Cambridge Bar Hill Extra
  • Surrey Quays, Rotherhithe, London
  • Kettering Extra, Northamptonshire
  • Southwark, London

Diabetes costs the NHS around £10bn each year, which amounts to about 10% of the NHS budget.

Evidence for low calorie weight management programmes and remission of type 2 diabetes

The evidence that a low calorie weight management programme can put type 2 diabetes into remission in some people has been growing in recent years. For example, the DiRECT study[1], funded by Diabetes UK, is a cluster randomised controlled trial, which investigated whether intensive weight loss could lead to remission of type 2 diabetes. The trial was carried out in 49 GP practices in the Northeast of England and in Scotland. These practices were randomised to either the weight management programme or the standard best care. People were considered to be in remission when HbA1C (a long term indicator of blood sugar levels) was below 48mmol/mol for 12 months and they did not need to use any type 2 diabetes medications for a minimum of two months.

The results from this trial found that 46% of participants from the weight management arm were in remission at one year (57% who lost 10-15kg), and that at 24 months 70% of those who’d achieved remission in year one were still in remission. Remission was strongly related to weight loss[2].

Compared to the control group, those in the programme were found to have better quality of life and less need for diabetes medications. Access to behavioural support from health professionals was considered an important factor in successful outcomes.

The DiRECT study did not use OptiFast® products or the OptiJourney programme.

Mode of delivery

OptiJourney comprises three key stages:

  • Phase 1: 8-12 week total diet replacement (a nutritionally complete programme consisting of Optifast® soups, shakes and bars, providing approximately 800-850 kcals/day)
  • Phase 2: Four week phase for food reintroduction and step-wise reduction of Optifast® products
  • Phase 3: Weight maintenance phase

The programme will be delivered through in-store pharmacies, with a specially designed mobile application for remote support throughout. Screening, enrolment and clinical monitoring during phase 1 is led by a Tesco pharmacist, and additional monitoring is provided at a lower frequency in phases 2 and 3 in the pharmacy setting. Throughout the programme, education, behaviour change and coaching support is delivered via the mobile application, which also allows participants the ability to monitor their progress and track lifestyle habits related to the programme.

Participants will purchase an OptiJourney starter pack at £50, with the shakes, bars and soups required for the first three days, as well as access to remote support delivered via the mobile application. Cost of the total diet replacement food amounts to £2.20 per meal.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes unable to produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to the insulin it does produce. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use the glucose in your blood to give you energy. In type 2 diabetes, the shortage of insulin, or the body’s resistance to it, results in a build-up of glucose in the blood. If not managed properly, this can lead to a range of very serious health conditions affecting your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. People are considered to have diabetes when HbA1C is above 48mmol/mol.

What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is not a defined medical condition and doctors may use a variety of terms to reflect higher than normal blood glucose levels, such as borderline diabetes, impaired fasting glucose or regulation, which can be categorised as prediabetes. People with prediabetes are at increased risk of getting type 2 diabetes unless lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, are made.[3] Around 80% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be delayed or prevented through making lifestyle changes.

Participant criteria

For the purposes of this programme, participants are required to have a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes or have their GP confirm prediabetes with an HbA1C level between 42-48mmol/mol. The programme is not suitable for all and people are advised to discuss with their GP before enrolling.

People can express their interest in participating by following this link:

About the programme partners

Nestlé Health Science is the first in a new breed of health science companies, advancing the therapeutic role of nutrition to change of the course of health management. Formed in 2011, we produce almost a billion of science-based nutritional solutions each year, addressing a spectrum of ages and health conditions, from paediatric allergy, to malnutrition amongst the frail elderly

Tesco is the UK’s largest grocery retailer.

Tesco announced its five year partnership with Diabetes UK in January 2018.

Diabetes UK has not been involved in the development of the OptiJourney programme. While Diabetes UK is working in partnership with Tesco to help people lower their risk of Type 2 diabetes, this is separate and distinct to Tesco’s partnership with Nestlé Health Science.


[1] Primary care-led weight management for remission of type 2 diabetes (DiRECT): an open-label, cluster-randomised trial Lean, Michael EJ et al. The Lancet , Volume 391 , Issue 10120 , 541 - 551

[2] Diabetes UK press release, accessed 16 May 2019: 'Weight loss can put Type 2 diabetes into remission for at least two years, reveal latest findings from DiRECT' (pdf, 415Kb)

[3] Diabetes UK online article, sourced 16 May 2019