The effects of sustained pectin ingestion on gastric emptying, glucose tolerance, and hormone responses were studied in 12 stable, non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetic patients. Patients were placed on a 2400 kcal, low-fiber (3 g) diet for 2 wk, followed by 4 wk of an isocaloric diet supplemented with 20 g apple pectin/d. Gastric-emptying half-time, plasma glucose, glucagon, and human pancreatic polypeptide levels were determined. Gastric-emptying half-time was prolonged 43% (p less than 0.025) by pectin supplementation and returned to normal 3 d after its discontinuation. Fiber supplementation decreased the incremental area under the glucose tolerance curve from 34.8 +/- 3.0 to 27.9 +/- 3.2 mmol/L (p less than 0.01) but did not affect hormonal responses to a meal. Sustained pectin ingestion slowed the gastric-emptying rate and improved glucose tolerance; however, a direct relationship could not be demonstrated between changes in gastric emptying and changes in the incremental area under the glucose curve (r = 0.22).