This study compared the ability of glucagon to restore plasma glucose (PG) after mild hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes on an isocaloric high-carbohydrate diet (HCD) versus a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD).
Ten patients with insulin pump–treated type 1 diabetes randomly completed 1 week of the HCD (≥250 g/day) and 1 week of the LCD (≤50 g/day). After each week, mild hypoglycemia was induced by a subcutaneous insulin bolus in the fasting state. When PG reached 3.9 mmol/L, 100 µg glucagon was given subcutaneously, followed by 500 µg glucagon 2 h later.
Compared with the HCD, the LCD resulted in lower incremental rises in PG after the first (mean ± SEM: 1.3 ± 0.3 vs. 2.7 ± 0.4 mmol/L, P = 0.002) and second glucagon bolus (4.1 ± 0.2 vs. 5.6 ± 0.5 mmol/L, P = 0.002). No differences were observed between the diets regarding concentrations of insulin, glucagon, and triglycerides.
The LCD reduces the treatment effect of glucagon on mild hypoglycemia. Carbohydrate intake should be considered when low-dose glucagon is used to correct hypoglycemia.