Effects of Smoking Versus Nonsmoking on Postprandial Glucose Metabolism in Heavy Smokers Compared With Nonsmokers

Magnus F Grøndahl, Jonatan I Bagger, Asger Lund, Annesofie Faurschou, Jens F. Rehfeld, Jens J Holst, Tina Vilsbøll, Filip K Knop

8 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Epidemiological studies suggest that smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. We hypothesized that smoking-derived nicotine and ensuing activation of nicotinic cholinergic receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and the autonomic nervous system would have a detrimental effect on postprandial glucose metabolism and, thus, potentially constitute a link between smoking and the development of type 2 diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We subjected 11 male heavy smokers to two identical 4-h liquid mixed-meal tests: one with concomitant cigarette smoking (immediately before and after meal intake) and one without smoking. Twelve age-, sex-, and BMI-matched nonsmokers underwent an identical meal test without smoking.

RESULTS: The smokers were characterized by higher fasting plasma concentrations of glucagon compared with the nonsmokers. Among smokers, cigarette smoking before and after the meal significantly reduced postprandial plasma glucose excursions. There were no differences in gut or pancreatic hormone concentrations between the test days in the smoking group, and the responses were similar to those in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that smoking in association with meal intake decreases the postprandial plasma glucose concentrations, possibly through decreased gastric emptying, and that elevated fasting glucagon concentrations rather than smoking-induced alterations in postprandial glucose and hormone responses may be associated with the elevated risk of type 2 diabetes in chronic smokers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1260-1267
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Journal Article


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