I have written previously about Insulin Resistance, and the “Kraft Insulin Assay” test which talked about the Insulin response when doing a glucose tolerance test when you consume 75ml of glucose. They then measure both your glucose and insulin levels each hour over 5 hours. The “ghetto” version of this is just to measure your insulin levels at the 2 hour mark and if you are below 30, you should be ok, and if you are about 40 you are probably not okay.
This video I just watched finally put some numbers towards the whole insulin levels, both fasting insulin and what sort of example responses are at the prediabetic and diabetic levels.
The following screenshots are from the video.
The first is the blood glucose and insulin response at 0, 1 and 2 hour marks. At the 0 hour it is the fasting insulin level.
5-7 years later as they continue to eat their standard Australian diet fuelled by carbs, their insulin resistance increases, and their fasting insulin and 2 hour insulin response for a glucose tolerance test is now 11 and 83. So, compared to a “healthy” insulin sensitive person, your blood contains 8 times more insulin to remove that 75ml of glucose from the glucose tolerance test. And in the mean time, your blood glucose has gone from 4.4 at the 2hour mark to 5.6, so even with so much insulin being produced, you aren’t even lowering your blood glucose to the same level! At this point, you are pre diabetic, and the standard blood tests which does not test for even fasting insulin, but only glucose, will not indicate there is even an issue, as your blood glucose is in normal range.
Then you continue on for another 5 years, and your doctor detects abnormality in your blood glucose level, while all the time your blood insulin has being going insane to try and keep your blood glucose down. Here, your blood insulin has a fasting value of 16 and your 2 hour mark is 117. Oh, and by the way, at 1 hour it was up to 239!
And then finally, you haven’t changed your diet, and you continue to eat carbs, and your pancreas has had enough. Fasting insulin is 7, and your 2 hour insulin level is 54. I lets your blood glucose go as it can’t keep up. Your body’s cells (skeletal muscle, liver, organs, etc) are insulin resistant, and your pancreas just can’t pump out the insulin to force the glucose out of your blood and into your cells.
Here was also another good graph about the 3 macro nutrient groups and the insulin response for someone who has a fasting insulin level of about 14 (from the looks of it, so somewhere between pre-diabetic and diabetic, with a good deal of insulin resistance if you compare the responses to the glucose tolerance test numbers above). As can be see, fat produces the smallest peak of insulin response, and also has the smallest duration in which insulin is “raised”, if you can even call it that when you see protein and carbohydrate insulin responses. Protein is both more in peak response, and it slowly decreases almost linearly over time. Carbohydrates have the biggest response, stays high for quite a while, then drops quickly, below of the of protein at the 1.5 hour mark.
Another good graph was the one below, showing it doesn’t take much of a rise insulin to go from a fat burning mode (using fat as fuel), the the fat storing mode. From the graph below, you have 10% of your energy being from fat metabolism into energy when you have an insulin level of 17 mmol/L. Not sure here, but the insulin units have switched from mU/L to uU/ml to mmol/L here, so a bit confusing??
In any case, I would suggest you get your fasting insulin tested, and if possible an insulin assay test (5 hour full, or 2 hour short), to see how far along the path you are to insulin resistance and diabetes.