The relationship between starch α-amylase (EC 184.108.40.206) susceptibility, plasma responses and gastric emptying rates has been investigated in humans. Nine randomly chosen healthy subjects were given three carbohydrate test meals (25 g starch or equivalent glucose units): two maize starch pastes with (a) 240 (S24) or (b) 500 (S50) g amylose/kg, and a glucose solution (GS). At 30 min, in vitro starch α-amylolysis was 48 (sd 4)% for S24 and 35 (sd 4)% for S50. Test meals differed in viscosity (mPas: S24, 54000; S50, 190; GS, 4). Carbohydrates were labelled with 99mTechnetium and isotope gastric emptying was measured by external gamma counting. Carbohydrate isotopic gastric emptying patterns were exponential. Half gastric emptying time (min) was significantly (P < 0.05) shorter for S50 (19 (sd 2)) than for GS (26 (sd 2)) or S24 (29 (sd 2)). No correlation was found between half gastric emptying time and plasma response values. Values for peak insulin (pmol/l) above fasting were significantly (P < 0.05) different: GS, 306 (sd 11); S24, 227 (sd 11); S50, 187 (sd 11). It is concluded that α-amylase susceptibility of the test carbohydrates is a determining factor in the insulin response of healthy subjects, while viscosity of the test meals and gastric emptying rate have no effect.