Incretin-based therapy promises to be a useful adjunct in the treatment of diabetes. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) and, to a lesser extent, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are potent stimulators of insulin secretion, and consequently have significant effects on the regulation of the glucose metabolism. What has been less clear, however, is whether these hormones exert direct effects on glucose metabolism independent of their effect on pancreatic insulin and glucagon release. Glucose effectiveness and insulin action (the ability of glucose and insulin respectively to stimulate glucose uptake and suppress glucose release) have been reported by some investigators, but not others, to improve during incretin infusion. The purpose of this review is briefly to examine some of the numerous conflicting reports in the literature as to the presence or otherwise of extrapancreatic incretin effects. In addition, we will briefly discuss the gastrointestinal effects of incretins. These effects may be of considerable importance in the treatment of postprandial hyperglycemia although they are not, strictly speaking, the result of a direct incretin effect on glucose metabolism.