Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats are reported to be obese Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic rats with insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. To investigate the contribution of intestinal glucose absorption to postprandial hyperglycaemia, we determined the plasma xylose concentrations after an 0.8 g/kg oral xylose load which was used as a test of small intestinal glucose absorption in 6-week-old OLETF rats and weight-matched Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats. An oral glucose tolerance test showed that OLETF rats developed hyperglycaemia at 60 and 90 min after the glucose load, though the fasting plasma glucose concentration, insulin concentration and insulin-induced in vivo glucose utilization rate were similar. Consistently, in an oral D-xylose loading test, the peak concentration of plasma xylose in OLETF rats was increased by 58.7% compared with that of LETO rats (p < 0.005). The disappearance rate of plasma xylose concentrations after intravenous xylose loading did not differ between the two strains. Co-treatment with 0.4 g/kg phlorizin, a specific inhibitor of sodium-dependent glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1), abolished both plasma glucose and xylose concentrations after the loads. Morphological studies showed that both the small intestinal wet weight and surface area were 30% larger in the OLETF rats than in the LETO rats. Furthermore, the SGLT1 mRNA content of OLETF rats also increased compared with LETO rats. These results suggest that an increased SGLT1 expression concomitant with intestinal hypertrophy in OLETF rats is partly associated with postprandial hyperglycaemia before the onset of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia.