Postprandial hyperglycemia and insulin sensitivity differ among lean young adults of different ethnicities

J Nutr. 2002 Sep;132(9):2574-9. doi: 10.1093/jn/132.9.2574.


Both postprandial hyperglycemia and insulin resistance (IR) have implications for the development of cardiovascular disease. The present study was designed to examine differences in postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity among young adults of different ethnic origins. Lean, healthy subjects (n = 60) from five ethnic groups [20 European Caucasians, 10 Chinese, 10 South East (SE) Asians, 10 Asian Indians and 10 Arabic Caucasians] were matched for age, body mass index, waist circumference, birth weight and current diet. A 75-g white bread carbohydrate challenge was fed to assess postprandial glycemia and insulinemia. Insulin sensitivity was assessed in three groups by the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp and in all subjects by homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) modeling. Postprandial hyperglycemia (incremental area under the curve) and insulin sensitivity (M-value) both showed a twofold variation among the groups (P < 0.001) and were significantly related to each other (R(2) = 56%, P < 0.001). Young SE Asians had the highest postprandial glycemia and lowest insulin sensitivity, whereas European and Arabic Caucasian subjects were the most insulin sensitive and carbohydrate tolerant. These findings suggest that IR is evident even in lean, young adults of some ethnic groups and is associated with significant increases in postprandial glycemia and insulinemia in response to a realistic carbohydrate load.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arabs / genetics
  • Asia, Southeastern / ethnology
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Australia
  • Bread
  • China / ethnology
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Europe / ethnology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / genetics
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / ethnology*
  • Hyperglycemia / genetics
  • India / ethnology
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Postprandial Period / genetics*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Insulin