Published compact and extended models of the glucose-insulin physiologic control system are compared, in order to understand why a specific functional form of the compact model proved to be necessary for a satisfactory representation of acute perturbation experiments such as the Intra Venous Glucose Tolerance Test (IVGTT). A spectrum of IVGTT’s of virtual subjects ranging from normal to IFG to IGT to frank T2DM were simulated using an extended model incorporating the population-of-controllers paradigm originally hypothesized by Grodsky, and proven to be able to capture a wide array of experimental results from heterogeneous perturbation procedures. The simulated IVGTT’s were then fitted with the Single-Delay Model (SDM), a compact model with only six free parameters, previously shown to be very effective in delivering precise estimates of insulin sensitivity and secretion during an IVGTT. Comparison of the generating, extended-model parameter values with the obtained compact model estimates shows that the functional form of the nonlinear insulin-secretion term, empirically found to be necessary for the compact model to satisfactorily fit clinical observations, captures the pancreatic reserve level of the simulated virtual patients. This result supports the validity of the compact model as a meaningful analysis tool for the clinical assessment of insulin sensitivity.