Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine malignancy. However, more than 90% of thyroid nodules are benign. It remains unclear whether thyroid carcinoma arises from preexisting benign nodules. Metabolomics can provide valuable and comprehensive information about low molecular weight compounds present in living systems and further our understanding of the biology regulating pathological processes. Herein, we applied 1H NMR-based metabolic profiling to identify the metabolites present in aqueous tissue extracts of healthy thyroid tissue (H), non-neoplastic nodules (NN), follicular adenomas (FA) and malignant thyroid cancer (TC) as an alternative way of investigating cancer lesions. Multivariate statistical methods provided clear discrimination not only between healthy thyroid tissue and pathological thyroid tissue but also between different types of thyroid lesions. Potential biomarkers common to all thyroid lesions were identified, namely, alanine, methionine, acetone, glutamate, glycine, lactate, tyrosine, phenylalanine and hypoxanthine. Metabolic changes in thyroid cancer were mainly related to osmotic regulators (taurine and scyllo- and myo-inositol), citrate, and amino acids supplying the TCA cycle. Thyroid follicular adenomas were found to display metabolic features of benign non-neoplastic nodules and simultaneously displayed a partial metabolic profile associated with malignancy. This finding allows the discrimination of follicular adenomas from benign non-neoplastic nodules and thyroid cancer with similar accuracy. Moreover, the presented data indicate that follicular adenoma could be an individual stage of thyroid cancer development.