This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply. Chronic nutrient excess leads to metabolic disorders and insulin resistance. Activation of stress-responsive pathways via Nrf2 activation contributes to energy metabolism regulation. Here, inducible activation of Nrf2 in mice and transgenesis of the Nrf2 target, NQO1, conferred protection from diet-induced metabolic defects through preservation of glucose homeostasis, insulin sensitivity, and lipid handling with improved physiological outcomes. NQO1-RNA interaction mediated the association with and inhibition of the translational machinery in skeletal muscle of NQO1 transgenic mice. NQO1-Tg mice on high-fat diet had lower adipose tissue macrophages and enhanced expression of lipogenic enzymes coincident with reduction in circulating and hepatic lipids. Metabolomics data revealed a systemic metabolic signature of improved glucose handling, cellular redox, and NAD+ metabolism while label-free quantitative mass spectrometry in skeletal muscle uncovered a distinct diet- and genotype-dependent acetylation pattern of SIRT3 targets across the core of intermediary metabolism. Thus, under nutritional excess, NQO1 transgenesis preserves healthful benefits.