To determine whether endogenous lateral hypothalamic (LH) glutamate and its N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors might participate in the stimulation of natural eating, LH injection of the NMDA antagonist D-(-)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (D-AP5) was tested in adult male rats for suppressive actions on feeding elicited by 1) NMDA, kainic acid or D, L-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole (AMPA) injected into the LH; 2) food deprivation; and 3) the onset of the nocturnal period. D-AP5 (10-100 nmol) reduced by 72-90% the approximately 10-g eating response elicited by NMDA (10 nmol) without affecting the quantitatively similar eating responses elicited by kainic acid (1.0 nmol) or AMPA (1.0 nmol). This treatment also suppressed deprivation-induced eating by as much as 61% and nocturnal eating by as much as 40%. To determine its long-term effects, D-AP5 (50 nmol) was injected bilaterally into the LH twice a day for 8 consecutive days. This treatment caused up to 65% reductions in daily food intake and body weight loss of up to 13 g/day. These findings, showing behaviorally selective suppressions of eating and body weight by D-AP5, argue that endogenous LH glutamate acts to regulate natural eating and body weight and that NMDA receptors participate in these functions.