The best blood test to determine your risk of developing diabetes

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 6 December 2016


Wouldn't it be important to know whether or not you are at risk of developing diabetes ten or even twenty years in advance?

Well with this blood test it is entirely possible to do just that.

One of the most common underlying causes of weight gain, fatigue, poor sleep, high blood pressure, and aching joints and muscles that I see in my clinic is insulin resistance. Ironically insulin resistance is also the precursor pathology aka cause of type 2 diabetes.


So if this is so important why have you never heard of it before?

Unfortunately our conventional medical practitioners don't discuss or test for insulin resistance because it is not covered by OHIP. The conventional system will only test your blood sugar. The problem with that is, once your blood sugar is abnormal it's like having a mechanic fix your car after the accident instead of fixing the breaks beforehand.

Here's how I test for insulin resistance in my office - it is called the reactive insulin test.

I have you eat a high carbohydrate meal, the standard meal being pancakes, maple syrup, and a small glass of orange juice. Then two hours later you have your insulin level in your blood measured at the lab.

In a normal patient the amount of insulin that gets secreted should be below 240. This means that your pancreas secretes a normal amount of insulin to get the sugar you have consumed into your cells. This sugar is either burned to produce energy or it is stored in your fat cells for later.

When an insulin reading is above 240 the pancreas is making more insulin than it should in order to get the same response - sugar into the cells. This only happens when someone has been eating too many carbohydrates and sugars over an extended period of time. The pancreas has secreted insulin so often that the cells start to ignore the signal. They start to become resistant to insulin's message.


If you have any of the symptoms that I mentioned previously (weight gain, fatigue, poor sleep, high blood pressure or joint and muscle pain) I highly suggest having this blood test done. You don't have to go down the road towards diabetes with a blind fold on.

You can make changes now. This is what preventative medicine should be about.

Now I would love to hear from you! Do you suspect that you have insulin resistance? What is one thing that you do currently to help prevent diabetes? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday.

8 Replies to “The best blood test to determine your risk of developing diabetes”

April Bremner

I stumbled across your website looking for a biomedical doctor, to help my daughter who I think is autistic. I came across this article and it makes so much sense, this is me to a T. Weight gain, fatigue, poor sleep, body pain. I’ve been told I don’t have diabetes but feel I will get it as I’ve had gestational diabetes and my mother has type 2. My mother didn’t take care of herself when she was told she had it years ago and now she’s laid up in the hospital with a ton of problems. She is now on kidney dialysis and was told she has two weeks to live if she doesn’t do the dialysis, she’s only just turned 66! I do not want to end up this way. I’m going to start eating better and walking more. Thank you for sharing your work.

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

I’m glad you found this article helpful April.

Auld Holmes

How much does the test cost and how does one prepare for this test?

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

My office charges $42 for the test. The patient will eat a high carb meal eg. pancakes, maple syrup and a glass of orange juice and 2 hours later have their blood drawn.


Nice clear explanation of this topic Dr. D!

Recently a registered dietician who specializes in diabetic care shared some interesting information I’d like to run by you. She said when diabetics consume meals with carbohydrates the glycemic effects are reduced if the meals have fiber. So when a patient calculates the amount of insulin they need to inject based on a particular meal, they account for the amount of fiber in the meal and reduce the insulin accordingly.

I might not be explaining this very well but I hope you get the concept.

The reason I bring this up is because there are certain carb foods I am having a real challenge eliminating from my diet. So is adding extra fiber to such meals an effective alternative to elimination? Or is it at least partially effective? And if so, could one drink a fiber shake with a carb meal instead of adding fibrous food?

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

You bring up a good point Robert! The dietician is referring to what we call Net Carbs. You take the total carbohydrate and minus the fibre. The reason the glycemic effect is reduced with fiber is because it slows the absorption of the sugars.
I would say adding fiber will only be partially effective. You want to eat food that inherently have high amounts of fiber in them versus ones that don’t. For example look at the net carb difference between a cup of pasta and a cup of spaghetti squash.
A slower rise in glucose in the blood can help reduce the amount of insulin you are secreting, but having a Coke with a glass of Metamucil is still going to get you in trouble long term.

thanks for sharing this great valuable article, I want to ask a question that what is the root cause of diabetes?

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Insulin resistance is the underlying cause of diabetes.

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