Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Effect of optimal glycaemic control with continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion on energy expenditure in type I diabetes mellitus.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 01 November 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:1121
  1. P Leslie,
  2. R T Jung,
  3. T E Isles,
  4. J Baty,
  5. R W Newton,
  6. P Illingworth


    To assess the role of insulin in the control of body weight energy expenditure was measured by indirect calorimetry in eight patients of normal weight with type I diabetes initially while poorly controlled during conventional insulin treatment and later during optimal glycaemic control achieved by using the continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion pump. Their response to seven days of fat supplementation was also assessed and the results compared with those in eight non-diabetic subjects. After a mean of 5.3 months of continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion the diabetic subjects had gained on average 3.5 kg. In the poorly controlled diabetic state the resting metabolic rate was raised but decreased by a mean of 374 kJ (90 kcal) per 24 hours with optimal glycaemic control. The thermic response to infused noradrenaline was reduced by 59% in the diabetic subjects, was not improved by continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion, but was improved when three of the subjects were given metformin in addition. The diabetic subjects had no abnormality in the thermic response to a meal while taking their usual diabetic diet. During fat supplementation, however, this thermic response was reduced when glycaemic control was poor but not when control was precise. Fat supplementation did not alter the resting metabolic rate or the reduced noradrenergic thermic response in the diabetic subjects. These findings suggest that precise glycaemic control could produce weight gain if energy intake remained unaltered, for diabetic subjects do not compensate for the decrease in metabolic rate by an increase in noradrenergic and dietary thermic responses. Also precise glycaemic control using continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion does not correct all the metabolic abnormalities of diabetes mellitus.