Oxygen consumption and plasma thyroid hormone concentrations are modified by both low- and high-calorie diets. It has been suggested that the trigger may be changes in weight ("adipostatic" hypothesis involving the difference between the actual weight and the "set point") or changes in amount of carbohydrate in the diet ("carbohydrate" hypothesis). Two experiments were performed in order to test both hypotheses. Fourteen young healthy volunteers were studied: 1) at their spontaneous stable weight; 2) while losing weight rapidly on a calorically restricted diet; 3) and then at their stable new weight when consuming a refeeding diet. The calorie restricted diet resulted in decrease of VO2, and T3, and an increase of rT3; the refeeding diet resulted in values of VO2, T3, and rT3 intermediate between those of the spontaneous diet and those of the restricted diet. Another group of nine subjects were studied at their spontaneous caloric and proteic levels, comparing a diet containing only protein and carbohydrate with a diet containing only protein and fat. During the low carbohydrate diet rT3 increased and T3 decreased but they remained unchanged during the carbohydrate-rich diet. Thus neither the adipostatic hypothesis nor the carbohydrate hypothesis is sufficient alone to explain the observed changes in serum T3 and rT3.