Mendelian randomization (MR) suggests that postprandial hyperinsulinemia (unadjusted for plasma glucose) increases BMI, but its impact on cardiometabolic disease, a leading cause for mortality and morbidity in people with obesity, is not established. Fat distribution i.e., increased centripetal and/or reduced femoro-gluteal adiposity, is causally associated with and better predicts cardiometabolic disease than BMI. We therefore undertook bidirectional MR to assess the effect of corrected insulin response (CIR) (insulin 30 min after a glucose challenge adjusted for plasma glucose) on BMI, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), leg fat, type 2 diabetes (T2D), triglyceride (TG), HDL, liver fat, hypertension (HTN), and coronary artery disease (CAD) in people of European descent. Inverse variance–weighted MR suggests a potential causal association between increased CIR and increased BMI (b = 0.048 ± 0.02, P = 0.03), increased leg fat (b = 0.029 ± 0.012, P = 0.01), reduced T2D (b = −0.73 ± 0.15, P = 6 × 10−7, odds ratio [OR] 0.48 [95% CI 0.36–0.64]), reduced TG (b = −0.07 ± 0.02, P = 0.003), and increased HDL (b = 0.04 ± 0.01, P = 0.006) with some evidence of horizontal pleiotropy. CIR had neutral effects on WHR (b = 0.009 ± 0.02, P = 0.69), liver fat (b = −0.08 ± 0.04, P = 0.06), HTN (b = −0.001 ± 0.004, P = 0.7, OR 1.00 [95% CI 0.99–1.01]), and CAD (b = −0.002 ± 0.002, P = 0.48, OR 0.99 [95% CI 0.81–1.21]). T2D decreased CIR (b −0.22 ± 0.04, P = 1.3 × 10−7), with no evidence that BMI, TG, HDL, liver fat, HTN, and CAD modulate CIR. In conclusion, we did not find evidence that increased CIR increases cardiometabolic disease. It might increase BMI with favorable fat distribution, reduce T2D, and improve lipids.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.20112998.

A.N. and R.K. contributed equally.

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