Until recently, type 2 diabetes has mainly been managed by controlling risk factors – such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar (glucose) levels – usually by prescribing drugs.
But this approach doesn't address the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes – such as problems with the hormone insulin no longer effectively controlling blood sugar. While taking drugs can help to manage blood sugar levels, it won't help unpick the biological causes behind type 2 diabetes.
A growing body of research shows that losing weight, either through surgery or dieting, can help address some of the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes. It does this by helping the body control blood sugar levels.
This is significant as controlling blood sugar by improving how insulin is made and works is key to bringing type 2 diabetes into remission.
Most of this body of research so far has looked at using meal-replacement shakes to help people with type 2 diabetes, which is why this approach may be prescribed by a doctor.