Ingested metabolizable energy was partitioned into 3 components - storage, cost of storage, and maintenance - to study energy utilization during 20 days of refeeding following a 3-day fast in adult male Wistar rats. During the refeeding period, one experimental group was refed ad libitum, whereas two others were restricted to approximately 75 and 50%, respectively, of prefast food intake. Energy utilization in the experimental groups was compared with that in nonfasted controls. Energy conservation occurred in all experimental groups during refeeding, and the primary form of that conservation was a decrease in the energy required for maintenance. The decreased requirement for maintenance allowed a greater proportion of ingested energy to be used for restoration of carcass energy. The degree of energy conservation was, in general, proportional to the degree of food restriction during refeeding.