Fat Insulinogenic or Chronic Glycemia vs Chronic Hyperinsulinemia

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 24, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Has anybody read these studies? They sparked in me an interesting train of though about distinguishing the different effects of chronic hyperglycemia and chronic hyperinsulinemia.

(Diabetes Care 16:1459, 1993; Am J Clin Nutr 73:878, 2001).

I'd be happy to post the PDFs if no-one can get acces to them. They are being cited by people against high-fat diets as evidence that one cannot contend that high-fat diets are beneficial because they lessen the side effects of chronically elevated insulin. (If fat increases insulin, even if it does nothing to blood sugar, then people on a high-fat diet should still experience the effects of chronic hyperinsulinism.) The increased insulin in fat is smaller than that in glucose, but, if one calculates the difference in insulin secreted over say 50 yrs on a 60% carb vs 60% fat diet, the difference isn't astounding (like two orders of magnitude).

But, don't some people on high-fat have very low fasting insulin? Perhaps they have an exaggerated response to meal.

Jeez, this all seems like an argument for caloric restriction trumping everything.

Link to American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Article: http://www.ajcn.org/content/73/5/878.full.pdf+html. Having read this article, I think it is improper to cite this as evidence for fat's insulinogenic properties no matter how frequently others use it this way. I will search for research that more directly address the question.

Abstract of "Diabetes Care" Article: Diabetes Care. 1993 Nov;16(11):1459-69.

Usual dietary fat intake and insulin concentrations in healthy women twins.Mayer EJ, Newman B, Quesenberry CP Jr, Selby JV. Division of Research, Permanente Medical Group, Oakland, CA 94611.


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the associations between the usual intake of dietary fats and insulin concentrations. Insulin concentrations and insulin resistance have been positively related to risk for NIDDM, obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and coronary heart disease, yet little is known of the environmental risk factors for relative hyperinsulinemia. Insulin resistance can be induced by high-fat feeding in laboratory animals; therefore, high-fat diets may increase risks for developing NIDDM. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Subjects included 544 nondiabetic women who participated in the second examination of the Kaiser Permanente Women Twins Study (1989-1990). Fasting and 2-h post 75-g glucose load insulin levels were determined. Dietary fat intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. Generalized least-squares regression analyses for unpaired twin data were used to determine the relationship between dietary fat intake and insulin levels after adjustment for total calories, age, several behavioral variables, and in some models, percentage of body fat and waist-to-hip ratio. Associations of dietary fat intake with insulin levels were also evaluated within the subset of monozygotic twin pairs (n = 164 pairs) after removal of genetic influences by regression analysis of intrapair differences. RESULTS: Among the 544 individual women, a 20 g/day increase in total dietary fat was associated with a higher fasting insulin level (9% [P < 0.001] before and 6% [P < 0.01] after adjustment for the obesity variables). Higher intakes of saturated fat, oleic acid, and linoleic acid were each positively related to higher fasting insulin values. The relation of dietary fat with fasting insulin was significantly attenuated among physically active women compared with those who were sedentary (P = 0.04), even after adjustment for obesity. Only saturated fat intake was significantly associated with 2-h postglucose load insulin level before (P = 0.004) but not after adjustment for obesity. Within identical twin pairs, total dietary fat was positively related to fasting insulin before (P = 0.03) but not after adjustment for obesity (P = 0.11). CONCLUSIONS: High intake of total dietary fat is positively related to relative fasting hyperinsulinemia in nondiabetic women, particularly those who are sedentary. This effect appears to be partly mediated by the relation of dietary fat with obesity.

N.B: Looking at the author's affiliations, I wouldn't believe a word of the article. Perhaps that's the jaded medical researcher in me.



on January 25, 2011
at 06:53 PM

@Cheryl: I edited the post to have the links.



on January 24, 2011
at 11:53 PM

@Todd: I completely agree with you. Perhaps in the focus on the overcumption of carbs I forgot this and began to think that the insulin response to protein & fat was negigible. I'm re-examining that assumption as I wonder whether the unifying strand behind all 'successful' diets is a supply of the nutrients we need while minimizing insulin by minimizing calories rather than any specific macronutrients.



on January 24, 2011
at 10:11 PM

Interesting for sure. Great Question. At the risk of sounding completely silly, does the body not produce insulin in response to any type of calories?

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3 Answers


on January 25, 2012
at 08:20 PM


I am looking at the Am J study right now at the diet composition between two diets and look at the carb % - comparing 55% against 40%. Both diets are high carb !!!!!!!!!!

Intake High-carbohydrate diet High-fat diet Energy (kJ ?? kg1 ?? d1) 128.0 ?? 9.2 141.0 ?? 5.0 Protein (% of energy) 14.0 ?? 0.4 15.1 ?? 0.3 Carbohydrate (% of energy) 55.0 ?? 0.3 40.9 ?? 0.9 Fat (% of energy) 30.9 ?? 0.3 44.0 ?? 0.9



on January 24, 2011
at 10:21 PM

Here is the first article in full. The second one only has an abstract available online. I don't have time to read them now though.

Am J Clin Nutr 73:878, 2001


Diabetes Care 16:1459, 1993



on January 24, 2011
at 09:50 PM

Mac389, could you link to the PDFs please? Love the question, and would like to read some of the literature before answering. Thanks.



on January 25, 2011
at 06:53 PM

@Cheryl: I edited the post to have the links.

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