I had type 2 diabetes – but I REVERSED the condition by losing 3½ stone on ‘soup and shakes’ diet

A man who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a decade ago shared how to reverse the condition.

Kieran Ball, from Morpeth in Northumberland, started a four-month soup and shake diet a year after being diagnosed and medics warned he was on a ‘slippery slope’ and ‘running into all sorts of health problems’.

The 47-year-old, who has since lost a total of four stones, recovered from his diabetes within just a year of starting the trial.

He had to ditch the sweet treats for a low-calorie diet, abandoning sugary pastries for gallons of water and a 212-calorie shake every four hours.

Now the father-of-two has been in remission for eight years and no longer needs to take diabetes medication.

He is one of about a dozen patients who no longer need diabetes medication after participating in the groundbreaking study.

Kieran Ball, 47, from Morpeth, Northumberland, started the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial in 2014 and has been in remission for eight years

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the insulin it makes doesn’t work properly, leading to high blood sugar levels.

It affects about 4.5 million people in Britain and 37 million in the US. Although obese is driven, about 15 percent of all patients are “normal weight.”

Leading charities have warned that rates will skyrocket in coming years. The NHS already spends £10bn a year on diabetes treatment – about a tenth of its budget.

In an effort to get to grips with the epidemic, researchers at Nottingham University, supported by Diabetes UK, launched the DiRECT study six years ago.

It involved recruiting patients to follow a low-calorie soup and shake diet from 12 weeks to 20 weeks, consuming only about 800 calories per day.


Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood sugar level becomes too high.

It is believed that over 4 million people in the UK have some form of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you are more likely to get it if it runs in your family.

The condition means that the body doesn’t respond properly to insulin — the hormone that controls the absorption of sugar into the blood — and can’t properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.

Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.

Weight loss is key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.

Symptoms include fatigue, thirst, and frequent urination.

It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, eyesight and the heart.

Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more severe cases may require medication.

Source: NHS Choices; Diabetes.nl

Mr. Ball was among those who took part in the process, which he said was “100 percent life-changing.”

He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2013, after it was discovered through a blood test he had while in hospital with kidney stones.

He said he felt “shocked and numb” after his diagnosis.

While Mr. Ball was told to manage the condition by changing his diet and becoming more active, he said he had “lived on fizzy pop and junk food for years” and that his only exercise was to occasionally walk his children to run in the yard.

“I quickly lost motivation and needed something drastic to get me out,” he said.

But the following year, his diabetes nurse informed him of the DiRECT Trial Diet Plan, which Mr. Ball said “sounded awful,” but was an opportunity to “reset my life and health.”

He was inspired to drop the pounds after his wife, Susan, turned to exercise to shift the scales.

And after looking at his kids, Warren and Connor, he knew it was time to do something to stop feeling drained and lose some weight.

In September 2014 he started the trial, in which he replaced all ‘normal foods’ in his diet with low-calorie meal replacements for 16 weeks.

Mr Ball said: ‘The first 7 weeks were horrific.

“I slept an awful lot and separated myself from my family when they ate. Then my body took off and I saw the benefits, which changed my mindset.”

The diet was made even more difficult because of his job as an area manager, doing taste tests in kitchens, restaurants and pubs, which meant being surrounded by food all day long.

By the end of the four month diet, Mr. Ball had lost 3rd and 22 kg.

And a year later, his blood sugar levels were in the normal range and researchers confirmed that his diabetes was in remission.

The landmark study was the first to show that remission of type 2 diabetes is possible through a nutritional intervention in primary care, with nearly half (46 percent) of people in remission after one year and 36 percent after two years.

Looking back on the research, he said, “Those few months on the low-calorie diet were tough, but I’d do it again without a doubt.

“DiRECT was an opportunity to reboot the way I was living, and I’m so grateful for what being healthy has given me the opportunity to do.”

Mr Ball was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2013, after it was discovered through a blood test he had while in hospital with kidney stones.  Pictured: Nurse giving a patient a diabetes test

Mr Ball was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2013, after it was discovered through a blood test he had while in hospital with kidney stones. Pictured: Nurse giving a patient a diabetes test

As an extension of the study, 95 participants – about half of whom were already in remission – received support for three years to maintain their weight loss.

They had an appointment every three months with a nurse or dietitian at their GP practice to assess their weight, blood sugar and blood pressure, and received advice and support to maintain their weight loss.

Mr Ball said he was ‘very happy’ to take part in the next three years of the study.

He said, “I’ve just continued to live as I was and if I could give the researchers more data to track whether I could stay in remission long-term, that would be great.”

The results of that trial, released yesterday, revealed that the participants lost 6.1 kg (13.4 lbs) during the five-year study and a quarter remained in remission.

Mr. Ball said his weight has increased slightly. But he’s still in remission eight years later and is “no where near where I was.”

He said, “It’s amazing that what I experienced all those years ago still benefits me today.

“I’m still in remission and not on any diabetes medication — I can’t quite believe how long it’s been.”

Mr Ball added: ‘It has completely changed the way I think and eat. I don’t deny myself, but listen to my body now. If it tells me I’m feeling full I’ll do something about it, I’m not plowing through anyway.

‘The research has also been positive for my family. By supporting me, they are healthier because of the changes we’ve made in the house, so there are these ripple effects.’

Researchers say the latest study results provide further evidence that lifestyle changes, rather than medication, can help beat the disease, which was described last week as a ‘rapidly escalating crisis’ in the UK.

They believe losing weight and keeping it off is the key to curing the serious condition, which has increased alongside obesity over the past decade.

More than 2,000 people have started treatment under the NHS England low-calorie diet programme, which is offered by about half of England’s health authorities.

The full expansion of the program is expected to be completed by March next year, and doctors hope it will save tens of thousands of people from developing the condition each year.

Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, research director at Diabetes UK who funded the study, said the new findings confirm it is possible to stay in long-term remission.

She said: ‘For those who put type 2 diabetes into remission, it can be life-changing and provide a better chance for a healthier future.

“For those who can’t go into remission, losing weight can still lead to major health benefits, including improved blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of serious diabetes complications such as heart attack and stroke.”