The application of novel investigative techniques has demonstrated that disordered gastric motility occurs frequently in diabetes mellitus. Gastric emptying is abnormal in about 50% of diabetic patients and delay in gastric emptying of nutrient-containing meals is more common than rapid emptying. The blood glucose concentration influences gastric motility in diabetes. In IDDM patients, gastric emptying is retarded during hyperglycaemia and may be accelerated by hypoglycaemia. Gastroparesis therefore does not necessarily reflect irreversible autonomic neuropathy and blood glucose concentrations must be monitored when gastric motility is evaluated in diabetic patients. There is a poor relationship between gastric emptying and gastrointestinal symptoms and the mechanisms by which abnormal motility causes symptoms are unclear. The introduction of new gastrokinetic drugs has improved therapeutic options for the management of symptomatic patients with gastroparesis considerably. The contribution of disordered gastric emptying to poor glycaemic control is unclear, but the demonstration that the rate of gastric emptying is a major factor in normal blood glucose homeostasis suggests that this is likely to be significant.