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To explore whether preoperative oral carbohydrate (CHO) loading could achieve a reduction in the occurrence of postoperative infections.Hyperglycemia may increase the risk of infection. Preoperative CHO loading can achieve postoperative glycemic control.This was a randomized, controlled, multicenter, open-label trial. Nondiabetic adult patients who were candidates for elective major abdominal operation were randomized (1:1) to a CHO (preoperative oral intake of 800 mL of water containing 100 g of CHO) or placebo group (intake of 800 mL of water). The blood glucose level was measured every 4 hours for 4 days. Insulin was administered when the blood glucose level was >180 mg/dL. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of postoperative infection. The secondary endpoint was the number of patients needing insulin.From January 2011 through December 2015, 880 patients were randomly allocated to the CHO (n = 438) or placebo (n = 442) group. From each group, 331 patients were available for the analysis. Postoperative infection occurred in 16.3% (54/331) of CHO group patients and 16.0% (53/331) of placebo group patients (relative risk 1.019, 95% confidence interval 0.720–1.442, P = 1.00). Insulin was needed in 8 (2.4%) CHO group patients and 53 (16.0%) placebo group patients (relative risk 0.15, 95% confidence interval 0.07–0.31, P < 0.001).Oral preoperative CHO load is effective for avoiding a blood glucose level >180 mg/dL, but without affecting the risk of postoperative infectious complication.