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Replacing food with a diet of soups, shakes and bars starting at 810 calories per day alongside regular sessions with a counsellor is a safe and clinically effective way to treat obesity in primary care, finds a study from Oxford University researchers.

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Total diet replacement programmes are not generally funded by the NHS in England but the authors of this study, published in the BMJ, suggest that there is now enough evidence for these programmes to be one of the treatments recommended for people who are obese.

The randomised controlled trial involved 278 adults in Oxfordshire who were substantially overweight and interested in losing weight. Participants were either offered a referral to a low energy total diet replacement programme for 24 weeks or were enrolled into their GP practice’s weight management programme, including advice and support to lose weight from a practice nurse.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)