We studied the relation of serum insulin levels to plasma lipid levels and blood pressure in two groups drawn from among 247 healthy, normotensive nonobese subjects with normal glucose tolerance. One group of 32 subjects was defined as having hyperinsulinemia (serum insulin, greater than 2 SD above the mean) and then compared with 32 normoinsulinemic subjects (serum insulin within 1 SD of the mean) matched for age (mean, 39 years), sex (22 men and 10 women), and body-mass index (24.7). The two groups had similar patterns of smoking, drinking, and physical exercise. Plasma glucose levels after an oral glucose challenge were significantly higher (P less than 0.05) in the hyperinsulinemic group. In addition, the mean (+/- SEM) fasting plasma triglyceride levels in subjects with hyperinsulinemia were significantly higher (1.73 +/- 0.2 vs. 1.24 +/- 0.1 mmol per liter) and the plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations were lower (1.21 +/- 0.06 vs. 1.43 +/- 0.06 mmol per liter) than in subjects with normoinsulinemia. Both systolic (126 vs. 119 mm Hg; P less than 0.05) and diastolic (85 vs. 78 mm Hg; P less than 0.01) blood pressures were significantly elevated in the group with hyperinsulinemia. We conclude that healthy persons with hyperinsulinemia and normal glucose tolerance have an increase in risk factors for coronary artery disease, as compared with a well-matched group of healthy subjects with normal insulin levels.