Longevity and aging are influenced by common intracellular signals of the insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 pathway. Abnormally high levels of bioactive IGF-1 increase the development of various cancers and may contribute to metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance. Enhanced availability of IGF-1 is promoted by cleavage of IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) by proteases, including the pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPPA). In vitro, PAPP-A is regulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines (PICs) such as interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Mice born with deficiency of the Papp-a gene (PAPP-A knockout (KO) mice) live ∼30–40 % longer than their normal littermates and have decreased bioactive IGF-1 on standard diets. Our objective was to elucidate how the effects of high-fat, high-sucrose diet (HFHS) promote obesity, induce metabolic dysfunction, and alter systemic cytokine expression in PAPP-A KO and normal mice. PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet for 10 weeks were more glucose tolerant and had enhanced insulin sensitivity compared to normal mice fed HFHS diet. PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet had lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-2, IL-6, and TNF-α) compared to normal mice fed the same diet. However, anti-inflammatory cytokine levels (IL-4 and adiponectin) were higher in PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet compared to normal mice fed HFHS. Circulating PAPP-A levels were elevated in normal mice fed an HFHS diet compared to normal mice fed a standard, low-fat, low-sucrose (LFLS) diet. Indirect calorimetry showed, at 10 weeks of feeding HFHS diet, significantly increased oxygen consumption (VO2) in PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet compared to normal mice fed the same diet. Furthermore, respiratory quotient (RQ) was significantly lower in PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet compared to normal (N) mice fed HFHS diet indicating PAPP-A KO mice fed HFHS diet are able to rely on fat as their primary source of energy more so than normal controls. We conclude that PAPP-A KO mice are resistant to the HFHS diet induction of metabolic dysfunction associated with higher levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and a remarkably metabolic flexible phenotype and that some of the effects of HFHS diet in normal animals may be due to increased levels of PAPP-A.