The effects of low-chromium diets containing chromium in the lowest quartile of normal intake on glucose tolerance and related variables in 11 females and 6 male subjects were evaluated. Subjects with glucose concentration greater than 5.56 mmol/L but less than 11.1 mmol/L 90 min after an oral-glucose challenge were designated as the hyperglycemic group and the remainder, the control group. Glucose tolerance and circulating insulin and glucagon of the hyperglycemic group all improved during chromium supplementation (200 micrograms/d) whereas those of the control group were unchanged. Glucose and insulin concentrations 60 min after the oral-glucose challenge and the sum of the 0-90 min and 0-240 min glucose values were all significantly lower after chromium supplementation in the hyperglycemic group. These data demonstrate that consumption of diets in the lowest 25% of normal chromium intake lead to detrimental effects on glucose tolerance, insulin, and glucagon in subjects with mildly impaired glucose tolerance.