Fructose consumption in the USA has increased over the past three decades. During this time, obesity, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome have also increased in prevalence. While diets high in fructose have been shown to promote insulin resistance and increase TAG concentrations in animals, there are insufficient data available regarding the long-term metabolic effects of fructose consumption in humans. The objective of the present study was to investigate the metabolic effects of 10-week consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages in human subjects under energy-balanced conditions in a controlled research setting. Following a 4-week weight-maintaining complex carbohydrate diet, seven overweight or obese (BMI 26·8–33·3 kg/m2) postmenopausal women were fed an isoenergetic intervention diet, which included a fructose-sweetened beverage with each meal, for 10 weeks. The intervention diet provided 15 % of energy from protein, 30 % from fat and 55 % from carbohydrate (30 % complex carbohydrate, 25 % fructose). Fasting and postprandial glucose, insulin, TAG and apoB concentrations were measured. Fructose consumption increased fasting glucose concentrations and decreased meal-associated glucose and insulin responses (P = 0·0002, P = 0·007 and P = 0·013, respectively). Moreover, after 10 weeks of fructose consumption, 14 h postprandial TAG profiles were significantly increased, with the area under the curve at 10 weeks being 141 % higher than at baseline (P = 0·04). Fructose also increased fasting apoB concentrations by 19 % (P = 0·043 v. baseline). In summary, consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages increased postprandial TAG and fasting apoB concentrations, and the present results suggest that long-term consumption of diets high in fructose could lead to an increased risk of CVD.