Objective: To determine if uncooked cornstarch, as part of the evening snack, can avert nocturnal hypoglycemia in type 1 diabetes.
Research design and methods: Fifty-one campers and counselors at the American Diabetes Association Camp in San Bernardino, CA were randomly assigned to receive 5 g of uncooked cornstarch as part of the 21:00 evening snack vs. a standard snack of equivalent carbohydrate content. Each snack was given for five nights and the participants and medical personnel were blinded as to assignment. Midnight and 07:00 finger stick blood glucose levels were compared with values <60 mg/dl defined as hypoglycemia and values > 250 mg/dl defined as hyperglycemia.
Results: There were 218 midnight and 222 07:00 values for comparison. There were six episodes of hypoglycemia at midnight and nine episodes of hypoglycemia at 07:00 for the cornstarch snack nights vs. 30 hypoglycemia episodes at midnight and 21 at 07:00 for the standard snack nights (P < 0.001 and <0.05, respectively). There was no difference in the number of hyperglycemic events at midnight or 07:00 for the cornstarch vs. standard snack nights. At midnight, 12% of campers had hypoglycemia after the cornstarch snack vs. 46% after the standard snack (P < 0.001), and at 07:00, 16% had hypoglycemia after cornstarch vs. 26% after the standard snack (P = 0.327).
Conclusions: These data suggest that uncooked cornstarch, as part of the evening snack, can diminish the nighttime and morning hypoglycemia associated with type 1 diabetes, without causing hyperglycemia.