Preoperative oral carbohydrate administration reduces postoperative insulin resistance

J. Nygren, M. Soop, A. Thorell, S. Efendic, K. S. Nair, O. Ljungqvist

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228 Scopus citations


Infusions of carbohydrates before surgery reduce postoperative insulin resistance. We investigated the effects of a carbohydrate drink, given shortly before surgery, on postoperative metabolism. Method: Insulin sensitivity, glucose turnover ([6,6, 2H2]-D-glucose) and substrate utilization were measured using hyperinsulinemic normoglycemic clamps and indirect calorimetry in two matched groups of patients before and after elective colorectal surgery. The drink group (n = 7) received 800 ml of an isoosmolar carbohydrate rich beverage the evening before the operation (100 g carbohydrates), as well as another 400 ml (50 g carbohydrates) 2 h before the initiation of anesthesia. The fasted group (n = 7) was operated after an overnight fast. Results: After surgery, energy expenditure increased in both groups. Endogenous glucose production was higher after surgery and the difference was significant during low insulin infusion rates in both groups (P < 0.05). The supressibility of endogenous glucose production by the two step insulin infusion was similar pre- and postoperatively in both groups. At the high insulin infusion rate postoperatively, whole body glucose disposal was more reduced in the fasted group (-49 ± 6% vs -26 ± 8%, P < 0.05 vs drink). Furthermore, during high insulin infusion rates, glucose oxidation decreased postoperatively only in the fasted group (P < 0.05) and postoperative levels of fat oxidation were greater in the fasted group (P < 0.05 vs drink). Only minor postoperative changes in cortisol and glucagon were found and no differences were found between the treatment groups. Conclusions: Patients given a carbohydrate drink shortly before elective colorectal surgery displayed less reduced insulin sensitivity after surgery as compared to patients who were operated after an overnight fast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Fasting
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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