Assessing impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in polycystic ovarian syndrome with a muffin test: an alternative to the glucose tolerance test

Endocr Pract. 2010 Sep-Oct;16(5):810-7. doi: 10.4158/EP09330.OR.


Objective: To determine the sensitivity of a high-glucose load in a meal as an alternative to the standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in detecting impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and the relationship of body composition to insulin resistance in the PCOS cohort.

Methods: In this prospective, single-center study, women with PCOS who were being followed up as out-patients were recruited. The study was performed between November 2007 and March 2008. All participants underwent OGTT before study enrollment. Participants were given a meal including carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Glucose and insulin levels were measured every 30 minutes for 2 hours after completing the meal. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: Thirteen of the 15 participants completed the meal tolerance test and the body composition study. Four of 13 participants (31%) had abnormal glucose tolerance with the meal test compared with 2 of 8 participants (25%) who completed the OGTT. Those who had insulin resistance on OGTT were detected with the meal test. The 2-hour insulin levels following the meal were 38% higher than with the OGTT. Of 10 participants with insulin resistance, 9 had a total body fat mass greater than the 90th percentile, whereas 1 of 3 participants (33%) with normal body composition was insulin resistant.

Conclusion: Administration of oral glucose load via a meal is an effective alternative to the OGTT in diagnosing impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance and may be more sensitive, without the adverse effects of the oral glucose load in the OGTT. PCOS is an independent risk factor for impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, regardless of body composition.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Endocrine*
  • Dietary Sucrose* / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose Intolerance / complications*
  • Glucose Intolerance / diagnosis*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test / methods
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / blood
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Insulin
  • Glucose