In the present study, the time course of change in sucrose-induced insulin resistance, triglyceride (TG) concentration, and liver fatty acid composition was examined. Male rats (n = 8-10/group per time point) was fed a high-starch (ST) diet for 2 wk and were then equicalorically fed ST or a high-sucrose (SU) diet for 1, 2, 5, or 8 wk. Body weight and percent body fat were similar between ST and SU diets at all time points. Glucose infusion rate (GIR) was significantly (P < 0.05) lower in the SU diet (9.2 +/- 0.9, 7.4 +/- 0.5, 6.2 +/- 1.0, and 6.0 +/- 0.9 mg.kg-1.min-1) vs. the ST diet (15.1 +/- 1.7, 15.7 +/- 0.7, 14.7 +/- 1.9, and 14.2 +/- 0.9 mg.kg-1.min-1) at 1, 2, 5, and 8 wk, respectively. Reduced suppression of glucose appearance accounted for 85, 50, 45, and 40% of the reduction in GIR at these same time points. Muscle glycogen synthesis was reduced (P < 0.05 vs. ST diet) in the SU diet at 2, 5, and 8 wk. Fasting plasma TG concentration was inversely related (r = -0.79, P < 0.001) to muscle glycogen synthesis, and liver TG concentration was positively related (r = 0.59, P < 0.01) to glucose appearance. Liver fatty acid composition was similar between diet groups. In summary, the SU diet produced insulin resistance in liver before muscle. TG concentration appears to be related to sucrose-induced insulin resistance in liver and muscle.