As dietary exposure to fructose has increased over the past 40 years, there is growing concern that high fructose consumption in humans may be in part responsible for the rising incidence of obesity worldwide. Obesity is associated with a host of metabolic challenges, collectively termed the metabolic syndrome. Fructose is a highly lipogenic sugar that has profound metabolic effects in the liver and has been associated with many of the components of the metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance, elevated waist circumference, dyslipidemia, and hypertension). Recent evidence has also uncovered effects of fructose in other tissues, including adipose tissue, the brain, and the gastrointestinal system, that may provide new insight into the metabolic consequences of high-fructose diets. Fructose feeding has now been shown to alter gene expression patterns (such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α/β in the liver), alter satiety factors in the brain, increase inflammation, reactive oxygen species, and portal endotoxin concentrations via Toll-like receptors, and induce leptin resistance. This review highlights recent findings in fructose feeding studies in both human and animal models with a focus on the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that underlie the development of insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis, and the metabolic syndrome.