So how can a person tell if they are insulin resistant and have the metabolic syndrome? The Metabolic Syndrome is defined as having 3 of the following 5 conditions: central obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and low HDL Cholesterol if you have 3 of these you are definitely insulin resistant. No need to look further.
The best way to know if you have the earliest stages of insulin resistance and thus the metabolic syndrome is the "Kraft Assay". One expert on that is the engineer Ivor Cummins. He writes about that with the relevant scientific citation in this blog post. The test involves drinking 100 grams of glucose then taking a blood sample 5 times over the next 4 hours. You can actually do this at home with the online kit found at this website for Meridian Valley Labs.
The next most accurate measurement is the “Glucose Clamp Technique” where insulin is infused into the bloodstream intravenously in response to a glucose challenge the amount of insulin required to maintain the glucose level at a set point is determined. This procedure is generally only done in research laboratories and not as a general screening test.
There are 2 easier ways to tell if you are insulin resistant. The first is to get a routine Cholesterol Panel done. The Triglyceride/HDL Cholesterol ratio has been shown to closely mirror insulin resistance as this study shows(read the “Conclusion”}. If your Cholesterol Panel was done using U.S. style units (mg/dl) you can simply take your triglyceride number and divide it by the HDL Cholesterol number. If it is greater than 1.5 there is a good chance you are insulin resistant and you should proceed to the more sensitive HOMA-IR which is the test used to gauge insulin resistance in most clinical trials done recently. If your report is in the European values of mmol/l (millimoles per liter) you must then multiply the value by 2.3 to get the correct ratio.
To calculate your HOMA-IR you will need to have your doctor order a fasting insulin level and fasting glucose test to be done at the same time. You then take these 2 numbers and plug them into a HOMA-IR calculator like this one on the internet. If yours is greater than 1 then you should be concerned and consider a Low Carb, High Fat diet even if you are not overweight.