The effects of macronutrient intake on obesity are controversial. This research aims to investigate the associations between macronutrient intake and new-onset overweight/obesity. The relationship between the consumption of carbohydrate and total fat and obesity was assessed by the multivariable Cox model in this 11-year cohort, which included 6612 adults (3291 men and 3321 women) who were free of overweight and obesity at baseline. The dietary intake was recorded using a 24-h recall method for three consecutive days. Moreover, substitution models were developed to distinguish the effects of macronutrient composition alteration from energy intake modification. During 7·5 person years (interquartile range 4·3, 10·8) of follow-up, 1807 participants became overweight or obese. After adjusting for risk factors, the hazard ratio (HR) of overweight/obesity in extreme quintiles of fat was 1·48 (quintile 5 v. quintile 1, 95 % CI 1·16, 1·89; Ptrend = 0·02) in women. Additionally, replacing 5 % of energy from carbohydrate with equivalent energy from fat was associated with an estimated 4·3 % (HR 1·043, 95 % CI 1·007, 1·081) increase in overweight/obesity in women. Moreover, dietary carbohydrate was inversely associated with overweight/obesity (quintile 5 v. quintile 1, HR 0·70, 95 % CI 0·55, 0·89; Ptrend = 0·02) in women. Total fat was related to a higher risk of overweight/obesity, whereas high carbohydrate intake was related to a lower risk of overweight/obesity in women, which was not observed in men.