Lack of glucose elevation after simulated tube feeding with a low-carbohydrate, high-fat enteral formula in patients with type I diabetes

Am J Med. 1989 Aug;87(2):178-82. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9343(89)80694-1.


Purpose: Commercially available enteral formulas frequently cause hyperglycemia. This often leads to difficult and complex diabetes management with glucosuria and urinary losses of calories, fluid, and electrolytes. In this study, we compared a new product, EN-8715 (8% soluble fiber, 18% Polycose, 7% fructose, 50% fat, 17% protein), with a standard feeding product, Ensure HN (53% simple carbohydrates, 30% fat, 17% protein), to determine whether the new product would lower the glucose response.

Patients and methods: Ten subjects (four women and six men) with type I diabetes were evaluated in paired, simulated tube feeding studies. After an overnight fast, a Biostator (artificial endocrine pancreas) was attached to each subject, and a steady-state blood glucose level of 150 mg/dL (8.4 mM) was established. The Biostator was then programmed to deliver a small basal amount of insulin (0.1 mU/kg/minute [718 pmol/kg/minute]), and the patients were given 20 mL of the randomly assigned formula every 15 minutes for 240 minutes (320 mL). Counterregulatory hormone responses to bringing the initial glucose response to the two enteral feeding formulas were measured and compared.

Results: The glucose response (mg/dL/four hours +/- SEM) essentially did not rise after EN-8715 (-2 +/- 33 mg/dL/four hours [-0.11 +/- 1.83 mM/four hours]) compared with that for Ensure HN (190 +/- 32 mg/dL/four hours [10.64 +/- 1.79 mM/four hours]). Urinary glucose losses (g +/- SEM) were significantly (p = 0.01) less after the new product (1.4 +/- 0.6 g [7.8 +/- 3.3 mmol] versus 5.7 +/- 1.5 g [30.2 +/- 8.3 mmol]). There were no significant differences in counterregulatory hormone responses. Side effects were minimal and product acceptance was similar.

Conclusion: A low-carbohydrate, fiber-containing enteral feeding formula can limit hyperglycemia in patients with type I diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Enteral Nutrition*
  • Female
  • Food, Formulated*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Triglycerides
  • Hydrocortisone