The effects of chlorogenic acid (CA) on hepatic glucose output, blood glucose levels and on glucose tolerance were analysed. Hepatic uptake of CA and its effects on hepatic catabolism of L-alanine and glucose-6-phosphatase (G-6-Pase) activity were also evaluated. CA (1 mM) inhibited about 40% of G-6-Pase activity (p < 0.05) in the microsomal fraction of hepatocytes, but no effect was observed on production of glucose from gluconeogenesis or on L-alanine catabolism, at various concentrations of CA (0.33, 0.5 and 1 mM), in liver perfusion experiments. Since there were indications of a lack of uptake of CA by the liver, it is possible that this compound did not reach sufficiently high intracellular levels to inhibit the target enzyme. Accordingly, intravenous administration of CA also failed to provoke a reduction in blood glucose levels. However, CA did promote a significant reduction (p < 0.05) in the plasma glucose peak at 10 and 15 min during the oral glucose tolerance test, probably by attenuating intestinal glucose absorption, suggesting a possible role for it as a glycaemic index lowering agent and highlighting it as a compound of interest for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.