Administration of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists GLP-1 and exendin-4 (Ex-4) directly into the central nervous system decreases food intake. But although Ex-4 potently suppresses food intake after peripheral administration, the effects of parenteral GLP-1 are variable and not as strong. A plausible explanation for these effects is the rapid inactivation of circulating GLP-1 by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), an enzyme that does not alter Ex-4 activity. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the relative potency of Ex-4 and GLP-1 under conditions in which DPP-4 activity was reduced. Outbred rats, wild-type mice, and mice with a targeted deletion of DPP-4 (Dpp4(-/-)) were treated with GLP-1 alone or in combination with the DPP-4 inhibitor vildagliptin, Ex-4, or saline, and food intake was measured. GLP-1 alone, even at high doses, did not affect feeding in wild-type mice or rats but did reduce food intake when combined with vildagliptin or given to Dpp4(-/-) mice. Despite plasma clearance similar to DPP-4-protected GLP-1, equimolar Ex-4 caused greater anorexia than vildagliptin plus GLP-1. To determine whether supraphysiological levels of endogenous GLP-1 would suppress food intake if protected from DPP-4, rats with Roux-en-Y gastric bypass and significantly elevated postprandial plasma GLP-1 received vildagliptin or saline. Despite 5-fold greater postprandial GLP-1 in these animals, vildagliptin did not affect food intake in Roux-en-Y gastric bypass rats. Thus, in both mice and rats, peripheral GLP-1 reduces food intake significantly less than Ex-4, even when protected from DPP-4. These findings suggest distinct potencies of GLP-1 receptor agonists on food intake that cannot be explained by plasma pharmacokinetics.