Ten pairs of normal men were overfed by 5 MJ/d for 21 d with either a carbohydrate-rich or a fat-rich diet (C- and F-group). The two subjects in each pair were requested to follow each other throughout the day to ensure similar physical activity and were otherwise allowed to maintain normal daily life. The increase in body weight, fat free mass and fat mass showed great variation, the mean increases being 1·5 kg, 0·6 kg and 0·9 kg respectively. No significant differences between the C- and F-group were observed. Heat production during sleep did not change during overfeeding. The RQ during sleep was 0·86 and 0·78 in the C- and F-group respectively. The accumulated faecal loss of energy, DM, carbohydrate and protein was significantly higher in the C- compared with the F-group (30, 44, 69 and 51 % higher respectively), whereas the fat loss was the same in the two groups. N balance was not different between the C- and F-group and was positive. Fractional contribution from hepatic de novo lipogenesis, as measured by mass isotopomer distribution analysis after administration of [1-13C]acetate, was 0·20 and 0·03 in the C-group and the F-group respectively. Absolute hepatic de novo lipogenesis in the C-group was on average 211 g per 21 d. Whole-body de novo lipogenesis, as obtained by the difference between fat mass increase and dietary fat available for storage, was positive in six of the ten subjects in the C-group (mean 332 (SEM 191) g per 21 d). The change in plasma leptin concentration was positively correlated with the change in fat mass. Thus, fat storage during overfeeding of isoenergetic amounts of diets rich in carbohydrate or in fat was not significantly different, and carbohydrates seemed to be converted to fat by both hepatic and extrahepatic lipogenesis.