Little is known about how gastric and pancreatobiliary responses differ after intake of elemental diets from responses to polymeric food. We therefore compared pancreatic and biliary secretions after gastric instillation of albumin (7 g%, with dextrose 21 g%) with an elemental diet in 6 healthy volunteers. The elemental diet contained amino acids (7 g%, with dextrose 21 g%) in the same molar composition as the albumin. Furthermore, we studied the effect of a pure intragastric dextrose solution (21 g%) on pancreatobiliary secretions, as glucose constitutes a major component of elemental diet formulas. The various pancreatobiliary responses were tested against a maximal i.v. cholecystokinin stimulus. The dextrose, amino acid, and albumin meals emptied at similar rates, and gastric emptying was completed within 3 h. Similar pancreatobiliary responses were observed after the albumin and amino acid meals, but response to both the amino acid and albumin meals was smaller than to the intravenous cholecystokinin stimulus. The glucose meal caused a marked and sustained stimulation of pancreatobiliary outputs, which did not differ significantly from the other test meals. However, lower cholecystokinin levels were observed after the glucose meal compared with distinct cholecystokinin release after the albumin and amino acid meals. We conclude first that there are no major differences in secretory responses between elemental (amino acid) and polymeric (protein) meals and second, that intragastric pure glucose meals strongly stimulate pancreatobiliary secretions. The marked pancreatic and biliary responses to intragastric dextrose cannot be fully explained on the basis of cholecystokinin release, suggesting that this response is probably mediated by neural mechanisms.