INTRODUCTION: Obesity is a major public health problem worldwide. The quantity and site of accumulation of adipose tissue is of great importance for the physiopathology of this disease. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a high carbohydrate diet on adipose tissue distribution. METHODS: Male Wistar rats, control (CONT) and high sucrose diet (HSD; 30% sucrose in their drinking water), were monitored during 24 weeks and total energy and macronutrient intake were estimated by measuring daily average consumption. A bioelectrical impedance procedure was performed at 22 weeks of treatment to assess body compartments and systolic arterial blood pressure was measured. Serum was obtained and retroperitoneal adipose tissue was collected and weighed. RESULTS: HSD ingested less pellets and beverage, consuming less lipids and proteins than CONT, but the same amount of carbohydrates. Retroperitoneal adipose tissue was more abundant in HSD. Both groups were normoglycemic; triglycerides, adiponectin and leptin levels were higher, while total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol were lower in HSD; insulin, HOMA index and systolic blood pressure had a tendency of being higher in HSD. DISCUSSION: This model presents dyslipidemia and a strong tendency for insulin resistance and hypertension. Even though there was no difference in body compartments between groups, retroperitoneal adipose tissue was significantly increased in HSD. This suggests that a rearrangement of adipose tissue distribution towards the abdominal cavity takes place as a result of chronic high sucrose consumption, which contributes to a higher risk of suffering from metabolic and chronic degenerative diseases.