PurposeGlucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is an incretin hormone that appears to play a major role in the control of food intake. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate and quantify the association of circulating GLP-1 concentration with ad libitum total calorie and macronutrient intake.MethodsOne-hundred and fifteen individuals (72 men) aged 35 ± 10 years were admitted for an inpatient study investigating the determinants of energy intake. Ad libitum food intake was assessed during 3 days using a reproducible vending machine paradigm. Fasting plasma GLP-1 concentrations were measured on the morning of the first day and on the morning of the fourth day after ad libitum feeding.ResultsPlasma GLP-1 concentrations increased by 14% after 3 days of ad libitum food intake. Individuals overate on average 139 ± 45% of weight-maintaining energy needs. Fasting plasma GLP-1 on day 1 was negatively associated with carbohydrate intake (r = − 0.2, p = 0.03) and with daily energy intake from low fat–high simple sugar (r = − 0.22, p = 0.016).ConclusionHigher plasma GLP-1 concentrations prior to ad libitum food intake were associated with lower carbohydrate intake and lower simple sugar ingestion, indicating a possible role of the GLP-1 in the reward pathway regulating simple sugar intake.Trial registrationClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00342732.