OBJECTIVE:To investigate the link between dietary sugar consumption and two separate pathogenetic mechanisms associated with metabolic syndrome: de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and nonenzymatic glycation. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS:We assessed changes in serum d-lactate (the detoxification end-product of methylglyoxal) concentration in response to 9 days of isocaloric fructose restriction in 20 children with obesity and metabolic syndrome, and examined correlations with changes in DNL, liver fat, insulin sensitivity, and other metrics of hepatic metabolism. INTERVENTIONS:Nine days of dietary sugar restriction, with substitution of equal amounts of refined starch. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:On days 0 and 10, children had laboratory evaluation of d-lactate levels and other analytes, and underwent oral glucose tolerance testing, magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify fat depots, and 13C-acetate incorporation into triglyceride (TG) to measure DNL. RESULTS:d-Lactate was associated with baseline liver fat fraction (P < 0.001) and visceral adipose tissue (P < 0.001) but not with subcutaneous adipose tissue. At baseline, d-lactate was positively correlated with DNL-area under the curve (AUC) (P = 0.003), liver fat fraction (P = 0.02), TG (P = 0.004), and TG/high-density lipoprotein ratio (P = 0.002). After 9 days of isocaloric fructose restriction, serum d-lactate levels reduced by 50% (P < 0.0001), and changes in d-lactate correlated with both changes in DNL-AUC and measures of insulin sensitivity. CONCLUSION:Baseline correlation of d-lactate with DNL and measures of insulin sensitivity and reduction in d-lactate after 9 days of isocaloric fructose restriction suggest that DNL and nonenzymatic glycation are functionally linked via intermediary glycolysis in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome and point to fructose as a key dietary substrate that drives both pathways.