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Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2019 Jun;31:48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2019.03.002. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Postprandial glucose response after the consumption of three mixed meals based on the carbohydrate counting method in adults with type 1 diabetes. A randomized crossover trial.

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Lab of Food Chemistry and Analysis, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece. Electronic address:
Lab of Food Chemistry and Analysis, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.
Third Pathology Clinic, Diabetes Center, Nice General Hospital, Athens, Greece.



People on intensive insulin therapy usually calculate their premeal insulin dose based on the total amount of consumed carbohydrates. However, arguments have been expressed supporting that also the protein and fat content of the meals should be considered when estimating premeal insulin dose. We examined the effectiveness of the carbohydrate counting method after consumption of mixed meals, and we further explored the effects of added extra virgin olive oil in these mixed meals, in adults with type 1 diabetes.


Twenty adults (35.0 ± 8.9 years, BMI 27 ± 5 kg/m2) with diabetes duration 17 ± 11 years, on intensive insulin therapy with multiple injections, consumed 3 mixed meals (pasticcio, chicken with vegetables and baked giant beans), with and without the addition of 11 ml extra virgin olive oil (total of 6 meals), in random order, with the insulin dose determined by using the carbohydrate counting method. Capillary blood glucose was measured at premeal (baseline) and 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 min after meal consumption. At every visit, participants were assessed for anthropometric parameters and subjective stress.


Participants had mean HbA1c 7.5 ± 1.2%, mean carbohydrate to insulin ratio 9:1 IU and stable body weight, waist circumference and subjective stress throughout the study. The mean glucose concentration, for all 6 meals, 120 min postprandially was within target (<180 mg/dl) in nearly 80% of the sample. Addition of olive oil produced sustained increased postprandial glucose concentrations only to pasticcio meal, although within target, and no significant differences were noticed for the grilled chicken with vegetables or the baked giant beans (legume) meals.


The carbohydrate-counting method was effective for achieving postprandial glucose levels within target threshold up to 3 h postprandially. Moreover, adding small amounts of dietary fat (extra virgin olive oil) to low fat meals does not significantly alter the postprandial response within the first 3 h, whereas caused a sustained increase in postprandial blood glucose concentrations to the high energy density meal (i.e. the pasticcio meal).


Carbohydrate counting method; Extra virgin olive oil; Fat; Glucose; Protein; Type 1 diabetes

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