This study was designed to examine the relationship between diet-induced insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, fat cell hypertrophy, and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) to elucidate whether an attenuated HSL activity leads to obesity. Female Fischer 344 rats were fed either a low-fat, complex-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat, refined-sugar (HFS) diet for 2 wk, 2 mo, or 6 mo. Adipose tissue morphology and HSL activity as well as plasma free fatty acid and glycerol levels were determined at these times. No differences between groups were seen after 2 wk except the previously reported hyperinsulinemia in the HFS animals. At both 2 and 6 mo, the HFS animals demonstrated adipocyte hypertrophy. Basal and stimulated HSL activities and plasma glycerol were significantly elevated in the HFS group. There was a positive correlation between adipocyte size and HSL activity for both basal and stimulated states. These results demonstrate that an attenuated HSL activity is not observed with the onset of insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia and therefore does not play a role in the development of obesity.