Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) is a physiological gut peptide secreted from the intestinal K-cells with well documented insulin-releasing actions. However, the GIP receptor is widely distributed in peripheral organs, including the pancreas, gut, adipose tissue, heart, adrenal cortex and brain, suggesting that it may have other functions. The presence of functional GIP receptors on adipocytes and the key role played by GIP in lipid metabolism and fat deposition suggest a possible beneficial effect of compromised GIP action in obesity and insulin resistance. Several key observations in animal models of obesity-related diabetes with chemically or genetically mediated biological GIP deficiency support this concept. Thus, obese diabetic animals with compromised GIP action due to peptide-based GIP receptor antagonists, small molecular weight GIP receptor antagonists, vaccination against GIP, genetic knockout of GIP receptor or targeted K-cell destruction are protected against obesity and associated metabolic disturbances. In addition, by causing preferential oxidation of fat, blockade of GIP signalling clears triacylglycerol deposits from liver and muscle, thereby restoring mechanisms for suppression of hepatic glucose output and improving insulin sensitivity. Emerging evidence also suggests that rapid cure of diabetes in grossly obese patients undergoing bypass surgery is mediated, in part, by surgical removal of GIP-secreting K-cells in the upper small intestine.