HFR and the Lipotrim programme

Following the commercialisation of the Cambridge Diet through Cambridge Nutrition Limited, Howard Foundation Research (HFR) was formed in 1986 to continue research into Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD). Their aim being to counter safety fears raised in the press, even though the products had by then been supplied through clinics for many years. 

Dr Steve Kreitzman, along with his wife Sue and their family, had moved from the USA to the UK in 1985 to work with Dr Alan Howard in the recently formed Cambridge Nutrition Ltd. Sue developed the “Slim Cuisine” range of cookbooks to tie in with the Cambridge Maintenance Programme. This work was extensively important for the Lipotrim weight maintenance programme, complementing the completely innovative range of very effective maintenance products which totally stopped the myth that weight was necessarily regained rapidly after rapid weight loss by VLCD.

The publication of the Swansea Trial in the early 1990s completed this work, but Steve and colleagues had fresh ideas — pioneering a programme with weight loss groups for clinically obese patients, working with their doctors. 

The company, with Dr Steve Kreitzman and Mrs Valerie Beeson as joint directors, launched the Lipotrim programme in the year 2000 to supply VLCD to pharmacists who liaised with medical practitioners. It had many successes in both the UK and Ireland leading to over 2000 UK and Irish pharmacies and medical practices treating people with the Lipotrim programmes.

In 2002, Lipotrim training for pharmacists, earned a “Highly Commended” in the SMART awards sponsored by Numark and Pharmacy Magazine. Also in 2002, the efforts of Kreitzman and Beeson were recognised by SCOOP, the International Committee studying very low calorie diets. In section 7.3 of their report ‘Collection of data on products intended for use in very-low-calorie diets, their acknowledgement stated:

I want to express my particular thanks to Dr Stephen Kreitzman and Valerie Beeson of Howard Foundation Research Ltd. (Lipotrim), who undertook a substantial proportion of the original research on which Section III, the ‘Recent Scientific Studies’ is based. Not only did they make available to us copies of the published work, but also shared with us much of the basic data so that we could convince ourselves that their results, which demonstrated substantial misunderstanding in much published metabolic work, could be thoroughly checked. On the basis of this, we were not only able to confirm the validity of the Kreitzman and Beeson studies but, from their bibliographies, undertake cross checks of the errors or omission in the earlier work.

Recent recognition of their contribution to diabetes treatment came from diabetic consultant Dr Richard Paisey who runs the diabetic programme for the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust at Torbay Hospital.

In an email to HFR in October 2021, Dr Paisey stated:

I really think that yours was the crucial part of the ground breaking work on VLCD. My greatest pleasure and privilege was to work with you and Val and your wife to understand the changes in metabolism with VLCD.

Dr Paisey and his team have published several independent medical papers on the work with his diabetic patients over 25 years as have other diabetic specialists.

Sadly, the company has had to end the programme due to the unavailability of required ingredients after the pandemic. This is seriously regretted as Lipotrim will no longer be available for patients with serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, and hypertension among the more than 240 medical conditions currently associated with excess weight. 

The work of Steve and Val advanced the understanding of the physiology of weight loss and maintenance, publishing the outstanding real life results achieved by the doctors, pharmacists and hospital consultants involved in the programme. In their words:

Lipotrim was a unique product range and medical programme. The NHS has at long last begun to recognise the value of VLCD in medical treatments, but their scientific understanding, necessary for programme and formulation success, appears inadequate.

The UK pharmacies who championed the Lipotrim programme are to be congratulated. They ran the programme without cost to the NHS and have documented all of their outstanding results, much of them published.