Background and aims: Metabolic syndrome (MS) may be associated with the presence of an energy sparing metabolism that predisposes to the excess accumulation of body fat. This study examined the relationship between reported energy intake and obesity in individuals with and without MS. Methods and results: Ninety consecutive non-diabetic obese subjects were divided into two groups based on the presence (MS+: n= 50) or absence (MS-: n= 40) of metabolic syndrome. The study design was cross-sectional. The three-day food record method was used to assess the subjects' usual energy intake and the Diet Readiness Test (DRT) was also administered. Compared to the MS- group, the MS+ group had a significantly higher body weight, BMI (mean +/- sem: 39.1 +/- 1.3 vs 31.5 +/- 0.9, p <0.001) and fat-mass. The absolute energy intake of the MS+ group (8629 +/- 331 kJ/24h) did not differ from that of the MS- group (8571 +/- 515 kJ/24h; p ns). The daily energy intake normalized for the fat-free mass size was higher in the MS- group (163 +/- 8 kJ/Kg-FFM.24h) than in the MS+ group (138 +/- 4 kJ/Kg-FFM.24h; p <0.03). The DRT test results were similar in both groups except that the section 6 (exercise patterns and attitudes) score was lower in the MS+ group (10.0 +/- 0.5) than in the MS- group (11.9 +/- 0.5; p <0.01). Conclusion: The results of this study support the hypothesis that subjects with metabolic syndrome have an energy sparing metabolism.