Diabetes: New NHS-backed eating plan lowers blood sugar and helps reverse type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes is a common condition characterised by impaired insulin production. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. Stripped of this mechanism, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to counter this effect and even reverse the condition. A new cookbook contains 50 recipes that have been created with this specific goal in mind.

Second Nature’s Quick & Easy low-carb recipe book, priced at £11.99, aims to provide delicious and nutritious meals for those who want to look after their health or weight, but who are limited on time.

Crucially, the recipes can also help to reverse type 2 diabetes.

The cookbook contains 50 healthy recipes that each takes less than 30 minutes to cook and prepare.

The recipes are based on the core principles of Second Nature – an NHS-backed healthy eating plan that aims to rewire unhealthy eating habits and replace them with good ones using behavioural science.

It was set up in 2016 by two former NHS advisers – Mike Gibbs and Chris Edson – to tackle Britain’s obesity epidemic and rising rates of type 2 diabetes.

No food is out of bounds on the low-carb programme, so clients can still eat chocolate, curries and drink wine, and customers have daily access to a health coach for support and advice.

Recipes in the new cookbook are divided into “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner” to help keep type 2 diabetes in check throughout the day.

One tasty recipe to start the day off right is “green pancakes”.

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Green pancakes

Prep and cooking time: 20mins Serves: 2 Carbohydrates per serving: 1

The spinach in these pancakes will boost your veg intake while the oats provide a source of complex carbohydrates. Serve our savoury pancakes with a squeeze of lemon or some extra Greek yoghurt.


  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 small eggs
  • 60g plain natural or Greek yoghurt
  • 80g ground almonds (almond flour)
  • 40g rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground hot paprika (optional)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 1 small
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 30-50g feta cheese, crumbled.


1. In a blender, combine the spinach, egg, and yoghurt. Blend until smooth.

2. Add the dry ingredients (ground almonds, oats, paprika, garlic powder, and baking powder) to the blender. Season generously with salt and pepper, and blend until completely smooth.

3. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a large, non-stick frying pan, over low medium heat. Flip the pancakes when you start to see 1-2 bubbles forming on the uncooked top side. Cook for 4-5mins in total, using ½ tbsp of oil per 2 pancakes. The batch should make 8 small/medium or 4 large pancakes.

4. Top with a sprinkle of feta and spring onions.

Gundeep Sohanpal, dietitian at Second Nature and co-author of the cookbook, said: “Losing weight is one of the best ways to reverse type 2 diabetes, and eating lower carb meals also has the benefit of being the easiest food plan to stick to in the long term, as it doesn’t leave you feeling hungry. All the recipes in this book are lower carbohydrates.

“Fad diets all claim to be the simple answer to losing weight. However, science proves there’s no such thing as a ‘magic’ diet that results in healthy weight loss. That’s why a realistic, healthy eating plan that fits into your daily life is so important.

“A lack of time is one of the most common barriers to making healthy food choices. In this book, the registered nutritionists and dietitians at Second Nature have compiled 50 of their favourite recipes that can be prepared in less than 30mins.”

“Any carbs included in these recipes are ‘complex carbs’ (such as oats, brown pasta, or rye bread), which keep us fuller for longer and promote a healthy gut. Refined Carbs (such as white bread, cakes, or white pasta) can cause a larger fluctuation in our blood sugar and don’t keep us feeling as full or satisfied for as long as complex carbs.

“We want to make the journey to delicious, healthy food as simple as possible. On the Second Nature programme, we like to encourage meal planning. Planning and preparing meals in advance makes it easier to follow our nutrition guidelines and make balanced choices. Our quick and easy recipes are great for planning ahead, so let’s get cooking!”

Augusta Gray, Registered Nutritionist at Second Nature and co-author of the cookbook, said: “Following our Quick & Easy recipes will help with weight loss and reduce your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

“Rather than ‘curing’ type 2 diabetes, research suggests the condition can be reversed for some following extensive weight loss.

“Where this is possible, it means moving from the ‘type 2 diabetes point’ on the spectrum towards the healthy blood glucose point.”

“The usual marker of having reversed type 2 diabetes is when the condition is put into remission. There is some debate about the exact definition of remission. Diabetes UK defines remission as meeting these three criteria:

  • Weight loss
  • HbA1c levels at less than 48mmol/mol on two venous blood tests within six months
  • Achieving the above after coming off all diabetes medications.

“For those living with type 2 diabetes, a lower carb approach helps reduce fluctuations in blood sugar levels and reduces the chances of sustained high blood sugar levels (that prevent the reversal of the condition).”

Type 2 diabetes – the main symptoms to spot

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision.

See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes, advises the NHS.

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