Since most of the weight-reduced obese humans are in a protein deficit state, this study was designed to examine whether a high protein diet (HP) enhances the restoration of lean body mass and facilitates the maintenance of weight loss. Obesity in rats was produced by 16 weeks of high fat diet (HF) feeding. In the 17th week, all HF-fed obese rats were fed a limited amount of control diet to normalize their body weights, but they still had more body fat content. The HF-fed rats were then divided into subgroups with different diets offered for 5 weeks: HP, HF or chow diet. A control group was fed the chow diet throughout the study. HP feeding maintained normal body weight and carcass composition in weight-reduced obese rats by reducing feeding efficiency levels to within normal ranges. Weight-reduced rats fed a chow diet, however, had more fat mass than controls and HF feeding stimulated weight gain again. Therefore, a HP diet has a higher probability of enhancing weight loss maintenance in weight-reduced obese subjects than does a usual well-balanced diet.