The aim of the present study was to examine the balance between caloric intake and expenditures in successive 12 and 24 hour periods, for several consecutive days in rats. The simultaneous and continuous measurements of respiratory exchanges and of the spontaneous feeding pattern were performed in 6 rats during 38 days, in periods of 2 to 4 successive days. At night, caloric intake exceeded caloric expenditures by 32% on the average. In individual rats, the excess was positively correlated to meal size but not to meal number. During the daytime, caloric intake was 24% lower on the average than the concomitant energy expenditures. In individual subjects, these deficits were correlated to meal number but not to meal size. A nocturnal excess and the subsequent daytime deficit, and the diurnal deficit and the excess during the subsequent night were highly positively correlated. In fact, the 24 hour energy balance was either slightly positive (12% excess) or negative (4% deficit). The daily weight gain or loss was highly correlated to the residual excess and/or deficit with a mean caloric cost of 4.8 kcal per g of body weight. The absence of correlation between balances on successive days indicates that the body energy balance is regulated within 24 hr through 12/12 hr compensations and that no compensatory mechanisms are involved beyond 24 hr.