The metabolic mechanism of hepatic glucose overproduction was investigated in 3,3'-5-triiodo-l-thyronine (T3)-treated rats and Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats (fa/fa) after a 24-h fast. 2H2O and [U-13C3]propionate were administered intraperitoneally, and [3,4-13C2]glucose was administered as a primed infusion for 90 min under ketamine-xylazine anesthesia. 13C NMR analysis of monoacetone glucose derived from plasma glucose indicated that hepatic glucose production was twofold higher in both T3-treated rats and ZDF rats compared with controls, yet the sources of glucose overproduction differed significantly in the two models by 2H NMR analysis. In T3-treated rats, the hepatic glycogen content and hence the contribution of glycogenolysis to glucose production was essentially zero; in this case, excess glucose production was due to a dramatic increase in gluconeogenesis from TCA cycle intermediates. 13C NMR analysis also revealed increased phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase flux (4x), increased pyruvate cycling flux (4x), and increased TCA flux (5x) in T3-treated animals. ZDF rats had substantial glycogen stores after a 24-h fast, and consequently nearly 50% of plasma glucose originated from glycogenolysis; other fluxes related to the TCA cycle were not different from controls. The differing mechanisms of excess glucose production in these models were easily distinguished by integrated 2H and 13C NMR analysis of plasma glucose.