Dumb question about insulin.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM

The body in some ways does prepare itself to receive a meal. I know that I produce saliva in my mouth at the sight of a meal when I'm hungry.

Does the pancreas secrete insulin as an automatic response in anticipation of a meal that's before it? Just wondering... Probably not, it would only react to signals after ingestion, right?

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2 Answers



on December 30, 2012
at 10:49 AM

I've read from several sources (at least Gary Taubes has mentioned it) that we actually do start secreting insulin even in the anticipation of a meal. As with all other things related to nutrition I think it's highly individual. Besides that, I would think that the expectation would have to be credible in the sense that a picture of food on the internet doesn't secrete much (or a negligable amount) insulin as you know you can't eat. Whereas something put in front of you which you can eat would secrete more (the problem is then to determine how much 'more' is).



on December 30, 2012
at 02:09 PM

And even if it is secreted, insulin only works if there are actually carbs/glucose in the blood, right? That's why if you take an insulin shot fasted no carb it can kill you, even a small amount from what I understand. So it would have to be an insignificant or minuscule amount if it is secreted.

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