BACKGROUND: Although insulin secretion after carbohydrate ingestion is severely impaired in patients with type 2 diabetes, amino acid and protein co-ingestion can substantially increase plasma insulin responses. OBJECTIVE: We investigated insulin responses and the subsequent plasma glucose disposal rates after the ingestion of carbohydrate alone (CHO) or with a protein hydrolysate and amino acid mixture (CHO+PRO) in patients with a long-term diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. DESIGN: Ten type 2 diabetic patients [mean (+/-SEM) age: 62 +/- 2 y; body mass index (kg/m(2)): 27 +/- 1] and 9 healthy control subjects (age: 58 +/- 1 y; body mass index: 27 +/- 1) participated in 2 trials in which the plasma insulin response was measured after the ingestion of 0.7 g carbohydrate . kg(-1) . h(-1) with or without 0.35 g . kg(-1) . h(-1) of a mixture that contained a protein hydrolysate, leucine, and phenylalanine. Continuous infusions with [6,6-(2)H(2)]glucose were then given to investigate plasma glucose disposal. RESULTS: Plasma insulin responses were higher by 299 +/- 64% and 132 +/- 63% in the CHO+PRO trial than in the CHO trial in the diabetic patients and the matched control subjects, respectively (P < 0.001). The subsequent plasma glucose responses were reduced by 28 +/- 6% and 33 +/- 3% in the CHO+PRO trial than in the CHO trial in the diabetic patients and the matched control subjects, respectively (P < 0.001). The reduced plasma glucose response in the diabetic patients was attributed to a 13 +/- 3% increase in glucose disposal (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The combined ingestion of carbohydrate with a protein hydrolysate and amino acid mixture significantly increases de novo insulin production in patients with a long-term diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. The increased insulin response stimulates plasma glucose disposal and reduces postprandial glucose concentrations.