Last week I reviewed The Truth About Carbs on the BBC. This week I watched The Fast Fix: Diabetes. This show looked at an eight week experiment to help people cure their Type 2 Diabetes.

The show took five people with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin and they locked them in a house for 4 weeks following their Fast Fix Protocol. The second part of the programme they continued to follow the plan but went back to their normal life.

Type 2 Diabetes is characterised by having too much sugar in the blood. For people who are functioning normally, when you eat carbohydrates your blood sugar rises as the carbs are broken down into sugar and then the body uses insulin to take these sugar molecules and puts them into the cells or stores them in the muscles and liver. A normal functioning non diabetic system should have fasting readings below 6 mmol / L or or a HBa1C count  below 42 mmol/mol.

In Type 2 diabetes the inefficient system is unable to lower blood sugar levels and these elevated levels of glucose have serious long term consequences that can include blindness, amputation of limbs, heart disease and cancer.

We started the show with the five volunteers measuring their opening data. There was the usual “oh how shocked and sad I am at my state” reactions. The data was roughly:

  • Resting glucose of the five people ranged 10.5-14 (ideal less than 7)
  • Fasting HbA1C Scores ranged from 52 – 91 mmol/mol (below 42 is ideal, diabetes = >48)
  • Liver Fat was from 10-27% (Ideal 2.5%)
  • Weight was 12 to 20 stone.

The five people were in a nice little country house under the supervision of a Doctor and Diabetes Professor. The participants were put on a 800 calorie diet which was composed of 4 x 200 calorie shakes. The shakes were pretty horrible looking and tasting but had all the vitamin & minerals they needed. The average person’s lunch these days is more than 800 calories so they were certainly on a low calorie approach.

The show then got a few celebs in for no reason as TV does these days. I am not sure who they were but a couple of them were forced to eat a meal alongside the experts. They then were shown how badly their body was handling the carbs as they had much more elevated sugar levels than the healthy presenters.

The show then outwitted the ladies from Loose Women TV show by secretly filming them at a free buffet… of course the ladies destroyed all the unhealthy food and hardly chose any good food. They then took an assessment to see how much at risk they they are to having diabetes, a similar one can be taken here>>

We then cut back to the participants who were already beginning to feel the effects of not eating much as they suffered tiredness, cravings and so forth. The show then had them sniffing urine to see how much ketones were in the participants urine. The stronger the smell (nail varnish) the more ketones and therefore more fat loss happening.

The participants then went to see a corpse as the doctor performed a dissection to see the effects of bad behaviours on the body. It was good to see how fat is stored in the body, especially seeing the visceral fat; the fat we store on the organs and within them. This showed clearly the fat within the liver which is linked to diabetes.  The doctor discussed how certain people are more likely to store fat on their liver and organs while others put it under the skin. This applies especially to people of black and Asian backgrounds. This is why people of a fairly normal or slightly overweight disposition can still suffer from type 2 diabetes.

We then saw the halfway results which were pretty impressive, after just 4 weeks the participants lost from 6 to 11kg (1-2 stones). Their liver fat went down from between 4% to a whopping 20%. Out of the group 2 of the 5 were no longer diabetic at the half way stage. Despite the great results it is all very easy when locked away in a clinic. How would they continue the plan when back at home?

The professor opened the second show with an experiment where they made people walk 5 minutes every 30 minutes, it didn’t matter how you walked and the goal was hitting 30 minutes activity per day. This has a significant benefit on the participants glucose levels. For someone on 800 calories and used to not moving this was not that easy a task but showed the power of walking.

Back in the real world the participants had run into the temptations of the real world with food but kept to the plan as best they could. Most of them didn’t have too many problems

The show returned to meet the celebs. The presenter off loose women had all her higher calorie foods (>500 calories / 100g) thrown in the bin and encouraged her to eat foods with less than 150 calories / 100g. The doctor then asked the other two celebs to follow different fasting protocols. One was asked to eat only between 12 and 6pm (intermittent fasting) and another to follow alternative day approach where he ate 600 calorie one day followed by 1800 the next. This was to be followed until they lost 5%+ of their body weight.

At the end of the show we got the final results from the diet:

Dan – Liver fat went from 27% to 2% while losing two stone and HbA1c from 52 to 37. This means he is no longer diabetic.

Steve – His HbA1c levels dropped from 76.4 to 46 while losing two stone with his liver fat being 2.8%. He is now pre-diabetic.

Jenna – Her HbA1C went from 90.6 to 58. She also lost 2 stone and saw her liver fat drop to 1.4%. She was still diabetic but at the 12 week mark she had made further improvements.

Luke – He lost two stone while seeing his HbA1C levels drop from 87 to 53. Unlike Jenna he showed no improvements from this at the 12 week mark.

Tracey – Lost one and half stone with a liver fat % change from 23% to 6.5%. Her HbA1c score went from 73 – 49 meaning she was still diabetic. However on the 12 week check up she had made further improvement and was no longer diabetic.

Celebs – They all made great progress in two weeks with weight loss and glucose scores.

What To Take Away From This Show ?

Fat loss is key to diabetes control – The progress made by the participants were a direct result of fat loss, whether this was from eating less food or actual fat loss is not overly important as the two go hand in hand. The show did not focus on what to eat at all really but rather how much to eat and ensuring you lost fat as a result.

Fast turn around – The speed with which the diabetes was controlled was amazing. However, this was done on the back of some pretty fast weight loss so credit should be given to the people for being able to follow a plan for so long.

Controlled Speed of Fat Loss – The fact almost everyone lost the same amount of weight despite their different sizes points back to the controlled speed of fat loss which I often discuss here. The body gives up fat at a certain speed and it is almost impossible to get around it. Instead you must be patient and accept the duration it will take to get to your goal.

Difficult battle – It was not easy for the people to follow this plan, they used a lot of willpower and for half of it were not in their normal life. In the real world of course you do not have to make such rapid changes to lose fat but then again most people struggle to lose fat slowly as much as going hard core.

A couple of the members of the group were not very overweight but for those who were, e.g. Luke who was the largest, he still had to do another 1-2 months of the protocol to become diabetes free. Which guessing from his lack of progress at 12 weeks was probably too much and he had dropped off already.

Transition Plan – With all of the shake diets that exist out there, the key to its long term success is how you transition into eating like a normal person once it is over. The show did not film the transition process but it is an essential part of long term maintenance.

The Science – The original study this show was based on from Glasgow and Newcastle university had 86% of people who lost 15kg to still be diabetes free after one year. You can read it here>>>

However, the study is slightly less positive than this when you look into it. Out of everyone treated 54% saw no improvement in their diabetes. The real beneficial changes came in those who lost over 15KG. However, only 24% of the treated group managed to lose this much. For me it is still a great result when compared to the usual success of weight loss programmes.


Overall a good show and reminds us of the power within the body to heal when given a helping hand from us.

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