Objective: Subclinical hypercortisolemia often occurs in subjects with features of the metabolic syndrome, and it has been suggested that it may be, at least in part, responsible for the development of these metabolic abnormalities. However, the metabolic effects of glucocorticoid administration to mimic subclinical glucocorticoid excess have not been evaluated. Methods: We used stable isotope-labeled tracer methods in conjunction with magnetic resonance techniques to measure the effect of glucocorticoid excess within the physiological range (∼0.7 mg dexamethasone/day for 3 weeks) on glucose and free fatty acid (FFA) rates of appearance (Ra) into plasma, intrahepatic triglyceride (TG) content, very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-TG and VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB-100) kinetics and plasma lipoprotein subclass concentrations, and particle sizes in nine overweight and obese individuals. Results: Dexamethasone treatment led to a very small but significant increase in body weight (from 87.4±7.1 to 88.6±7.2 kg; P=0.003) and increased HDL-cholesterol (from 45.9±2.8 to 55.1±4.6 mg/dl; P=0.037) and HDL particle (from 33.7±2.2 to 41.4±4.2 nmol/l; P=0.023) concentrations in plasma but had no effect on intrahepatic TG content, glucose and FFA Ra in plasma, hepatic VLDL-TG and VLDL-apoB-100 secretion rates and mean residence times in the circulation, plasma TG and LDL-cholesterol concentrations, and plasma lipoprotein particle sizes. Conclusion: Subclinical hypercortisolemia does not have significant adverse metabolic consequences.