The etiology of weight loss in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients is still uncertain. This study was designed to investigate the possible factors that might contribute to weight change of AD patients. From July 1999 to June 2001, we recruited 51 AD patients and 27 non-demented controls. Demographic data, neuropsychological tests, Geriatric Depression Scale-Short Form, eating behavior questionnaire, dietary and physical activity diaries, anthropometric and laboratory measures of nutritional status were assessed. More than half of our AD patients developed body weight loss, and overall, the AD patients were significantly thinner than the non-demented subjects. Anthropometric and laboratory measures suggested a poorer nutritional status in the AD patients. The AD patients had fewer daily physical activities. More AD patients had the problem of poor appetite. However, daily calorie intake was not significantly different between the two groups. The AD patients, especially those who presented with body weight loss, even consumed more calories per body weight kilogram (kg) per day. In the food composition analysis, AD patients took more carbohydrate than controls. Multivariate regression analysis showed the existence of AD and poor appetite were the main risk factors of weight loss. We suggest that the pathophysiological process in AD gives rise to the changes of appetite and metabolic state in AD patients, and that these changes contribute to the weight loss.