The metabolic fate of hepatic glucose can be best studied using invasive techniques such as tracer infusions and frequent blood sampling which have been revealed to be impractical in the pediatric age group. The aim of this study was to develop a non-invasive method based on indirect calorimetry and expired <sup>13</sup>CO<sub>2</sub> monitoring in order to gain insight into the mechanisms leading to impaired glucose tolerance in children and teenagers. As a first step, net glucose oxidation (NGO) and energy expenditure (EE) were measured in 47 subjects (range 7.5–17.3 years) of whom 18 were prepubertal (P1), 11 in early puberty (P2–P3) and 18 in late puberty (P4–P5) after 3-hourly loads of 180 mg/kg of oral maize glucose containing naturally enriched <sup>13</sup>C. Isotope analysis allowed to calculate exogenous and endogenous glucose oxidation (EXGO, ENGO) and, hence, to derive TGS and NGS, that is glycogen turnover. NGO and EE decreased significantly with pubertal progression, reflecting higher metabolism at younger ages, whereas EXGO remained constant. TGS did not change significantly whereas NGS showed a significant negative correlation with pubertal progression: this can be explained by the fact that glycogenolysis exceeded glycogen synthesis in this experimental setting. This non-invasive method appears to be a promising tool to study the fate of hepatic glucose and therefore glycogen turnover in children at risk of developing glucose intolerance and/or type 2 diabetes.