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Weight Loss Programmes

Manual vs. Second Nature

Robbie Puddick
Written by

Robbie Puddick

Medically reviewed by

Fiona Moncrieff

5 min read
Last updated September 2023

Jump to: Similarities between Manual and Second Nature | Differences between Manual and Second Nature | Cost and Trustpilot reviews | Take home message

Manual and Second Nature are weight-loss programmes offering GLP-1 medications, like semaglutide, alongside a digital lifestyle intervention.

Ideally, we’d lose weight without needing the support of medication. However, for those individuals who’ve tried to lose weight consistently over many years without success, extra support might be needed.

If you’re looking for a weight-loss programme alongside a GLP-1 medication like semaglutide, we’ll be biased and recommend that you choose Second Nature over Manual.

The main difference between the two programmes is experience. Second Nature has been delivering weight-loss services in the UK for the NHS since 2017; Second Nature was the first digital weight-loss programme to be commissioned by the NHS.

Furthermore, in 2022, research published in the BMJ demonstrated that Second Nature was more than twice as effective as four other well-known weight-loss programmes in the UK.

This data is in addition to over seven years of clinical data showcasing the impact of the Second Nature programme on weight loss and type 2 diabetes. For a complete outline of our clinical data, click here.

The research behind our programme is why we continue to build on our partnership with the NHS and expand our work within the healthcare sector.

In comparison, Manual originally started as a men’s health organisation focusing on skincare, selling supplements and pharmaceutical products.

Manual launched its weight-loss programme in 2022 alongside a GLP-1 medication, semaglutide. Manual doesn’t have any published or pre-print data showcasing its effectiveness.

However, there are some similarities between the two programmes, which we’ve summarised below.

The three main similarities between Manual and Second Nature

  1. Whole-food approach to weight loss: Both programmes recommend a whole-food-rich diet to support sustainable weight loss.
  2. Pharmacy partnerships: Both companies are partnered with a pharmacy to deliver the programme and ensure the clinical safety of all patients.
  3. Health coaches and nutritionists: Both programmes utilise the expertise of registered nutritionists or dietitians as health coaches to provide personalised support.

Additionally, there are several key differences between the two programmes that go beyond the level of experience that we’ve described above. These are summarised below.

The three main differences between Manual and Second Nature

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1) Programme delivery

Second Nature’s programme is delivered entirely via our award-winning app, where you can access the support of your health coach, speak to your peers, and read or listen to our daily educational articles on the science of healthy living and behaviour change.

This means everything you need to support your weight-loss journey is in one place, like a nutritionist in your pocket.

You can chat with your health coach and group, find recipes and meal plans, and read evidence-based articles or listen to a podcast all through our app.

In comparison, Manual’s programme is delivered via WhatsApp messages and calls with the health coach, with members also receiving information via email.

Manual’s programme features are very limited, and beyond access to medication and a health coach, it’s unclear what else is included. Education seems to be delivered primarily via their website through blogs and articles.

2) Level of health coach support

At Second Nature, all members can access a group and private chat via the Second Nature app with a registered nutritionist or dietitian five days a week.

Our coaches are trained in behavioural science and psychology to complement their nutrition expertise to provide daily support to ensure individuals achieve their personal goals.

So, alongside supporting you to improve your eating habits, our health coaches can also help you manage stress, improve your mindset, and build new healthier habits that last a lifetime.

In comparison, on Manual, the coaching is delivered via WhatsApp through messaging and the occasional call, depending on the coaching capacity. You don’t have access to a peer support group.

3) Mission-driven or profit-driven?

Second Nature was started in 2013 by our founders, Mike and Chris, who worked in the NHS and realised the scale of the chronic disease problem. Obesity and type 2 diabetes could collapse the NHS in the next few decades.

They realised there had to be a better way to support people and the NHS, and being scientists, they started researching.

Ten years on, Second Nature has been working with the NHS since 2017 and has successfully helped over 150,000 people lose weight and manage their type 2 diabetes.

We’re a mission-driven business. We work in weight loss because we want to help people and support the NHS by making healthy living Second Nature.

Manual, on the other hand, may not have the same outlook on obesity and weight management.

They’ve historically focussed on men’s health and skin care by selling supplements and pharmaceutical agents and decided to invest in obesity when a new drug came to market.

There’s no apparent connection between Manual and a desire to help people lose weight beyond the opportunity to profit from selling medication. This is evident in their marketing, they’re primarily selling a medication – not a sustainable weight loss solution.

Additionally, there’s a shortage of semaglutide (Ozempic), which companies like Manual struggle with.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have stopped them from selling the medicine, judging by a recent Trustpilot review:

Cost and Trustpilot reviews

  • The total monthly cost of the Second Nature programme, including the GLP-1 medication semaglutide: £229
  • The total monthly cost of the Manual programme, including the GLP-1 medication semaglutide: £299 (currently on offer at £239 with 20% off first order)

Take home message

We live in a paradoxical time where we have more options than ever to help us lose weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle. At the same time, obesity and chronic disease rates worldwide continue to rise.

There’s a lot we don’t know about treating obesity and chronic disease, but we do know there won’t be a global solution for everyone.

Second Nature and Manual are very different. Second Nature’s programme offers a more comprehensive approach to supporting individuals to lose weight whilst on GLP-1 medications.

Whereas Manual’s programme is still very much in development. You have access to a registered nutritionist, but there’s no clear pathway or structure to the programme beyond the health coach supporting you while you take medication.

So, if you’re someone who doesn’t need much structure and are happy taking a risk on a company without any data supporting its effectiveness, then Manual could be an option for you.

However, suppose you’d like a more comprehensive programme with over 7 years of clinical data showcasing its effectiveness and daily support from a registered nutritionist. In that case, Second Nature might be the better choice.

At present, Second Nature’s medication-supported programme is only v

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