Measurements were made of both glucose disposal (M) during hyperinsulinemic clamp studies and plasma glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose challenge in 100 individuals with normal glucose tolerance. The subjects were divided into 4 quartiles on the basis of M values, ranging from a low mean (+/- SEM) value of 140 +/- 3 mg/m2 X min (quartile 1) to a high of 349 mg/m2 X min (quartile 4). The plasma insulin response to oral glucose inversely correlated with the M value (r = -0.60; P less than 0.001), being highest in those with the lowest M (quartile 1) and lowest in those with the highest M (quartile 4). On the other hand, the plasma glucose responses of the 4 quartiles were virtually identical. These results document that insulin-stimulated glucose uptake varies widely in subjects with normal glucose tolerance, and that these differences are independent of any change in the plasma glucose response to oral glucose. Furthermore, the results indicate that insulin resistance in normal individuals is associated with hyperinsulinemia.