The aim was to evaluate the effect of zein-based nanoparticles on the glucose homeostasis, following oral administration to Wistar rats. For this purpose, bare nanoparticles (NP, with tropism for the upper intestinal regions) and poly(ethylene glycol)-coated nanoparticles (NP-PEG), with the capability to reach the ileum and cecum of animals, were evaluated. Both formulations were spherical in shape, displaying sizes around 200 nm and a negative surface zeta potential. The oral administration of a single dose of these nanoparticles to animals (50 mg/kg) induced a significant decrease of the glycemia, compared control rats and in animals treated with the free protein (p < 0.001). Moreover, these nanoparticles improved the glycemic control against an intraperitoneal glucose tolerance test; particularly NP-PEG. These findings would be due to an increased release of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) by L-cells, which are more abundant in distal regions of the intestine. In fact, the GLP-1 blood levels of animals treated with nanoparticles were significantly higher than controls (about 40 % and 60 % for NP and NP-PEG groups, respectively). This higher capability of NP-PEG, with respect to NP, to increase the release of GLP-1 and control glycemia would be related to its ability to reach the distal areas of the small intestine.