The acute effects of different macronutrients on the secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1(7–36)amide (GLP-1(7–36)amide) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) were compared in healthy human subjects. Circulating levels of the two hormones were measured over a 24-h period during which subjects consumed a mixed diet. In the first study, eight subjects consumed three equicaloric (375 kcal) test meals of carbohydrate, fat and protein. Small increases in plasma GLP-1(7–36) amide were found after all meals. Levels reached a maximum 30 min after the carbohydrate and 150 min after the fat load. Ingestion of both carbohydrate and fat induced substantial rises in GIP secretion, but the protein meal had no effect. In a second study, eight subjects consumed 75 g glucose or the equivalent portion of complex carbohydrate as boiled brown rice or barley. Plasma GIP, insulin and glucose levels increased after all three meals, the largest increase being observed following glucose and the smallest following the barley meal. Plasma GLP-1(7–36)amide levels rose only following the glucose meal. In the 24-h study, plasma GLP-1(7–36)amide and GIP concentrations were increased following every meal and remained elevated throughout the day, only falling to fasting levels at night. The increases in circulating GLP-1(7–36)amide and GIP levels following carbohydrate or a mixed meal are consistent with their role as incretins. The more sustained rises observed in the daytime during the 24-h study are consistent with an anabolic role in lipid metabolism.