Impact of mixed meal tolerance test composition on measures of beta-cell function in type 2 diabetes

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2021 May 4;18(1):47. doi: 10.1186/s12986-021-00556-1.


Background: Application of mixed meal tolerance tests (MMTT) to measure beta-cell function in long-term studies is limited by modification of the commercial products occurring over time. This study assessed the intra-individual reliability of MMTTs and compared the effects of liquid meals differing in macronutrient composition on the estimation of beta-cell function in type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Methods: To test the reliability of MMTTs, 10 people with T2DM (age 58 ± 11 years, body mass index 30.0 ± 4.9 kg/m2) received Boost® high Protein 20 g protein three times. For comparing different meals, another 10 persons with T2DM (58 ± 5 years, 31.9 ± 5.3 kg/m2) ingested either Boost® high Protein 20 g protein or the isocaloric Boost® high Protein 15 g protein containing 35% less protein and 18% more carbohydrates. C-peptide, insulin and glucose release were assessed from the incremental area under the concentration time curve (iAUC) and the intra- and inter-individual variation of these parameters from the coefficients of variations (CV).

Results: Repetitive ingestion of one meal revealed intra-individual CVs for the iAUCs of C-peptide, insulin and glucose, which were at least 3-times lower than the inter-individual variation of these parameters (18.2%, 19.7% and 18.9% vs. 74.2%, 70.5% and 207.7%) indicating a good reliability. Ingestion of two different meals resulted in comparable intra-individual CVs of the iAUCs of C-peptide and insulin (16.9%, 20.5%).

Conclusion: MMTTs provide reliable estimation of beta-cell function in people with T2DM. Furthermore, moderate differences in the protein and carbohydrate contents in a standardized liquid meal do not result in relevant changes of C-peptide and insulin responses.

Trial registration:, Identifier number: NCT01055093. Registered 22 January 2010 - Retrospectively registered,

Keywords: Beta-cell function; Inter-individual variation; Intra-individual variation; Mixed meal tolerance test; Type 2 diabetes.

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