Four adult female Sprague-Dawley rats, maintained on an ad lib feeding schedule were deprived for either 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, or 8 hours during the dark phase of the day-night cycle. It was found that the latency to initiate the first meal following the deprivation was independent of the previous deprivation interval. The animals were found to overcompensate for the periods without food by eating a large initial meal that increased proportionately in size with the duration of food restriction. Furthermore, the animals continued to overeat throughout the day. This deprivation-induced overeating by the animals resulted in an overcompensation in total food consumption that was 21-56% greater than on control days. The role of food intake as a regulator of body weight is discussed.