The spontaneous food intake of six normal-weight male volunteers was measured for 24 days while the subjects were inpatients on a metabolic unit. They were fed a palatable diet of conventional foods and were kept unaware that their food intake was being measured. On days 7-18 the caloric content of their diet was covertly reduced by 25% by substituting aspartame-sweetened analogues for all menu items containing sucrose. Subjects did not alter their food intake for 3 days. Then between days 4-6 on the aspartame diet, they increased their intake to compensate for 40% of the missing calories. Food intake stabilized at 85% of baseline and remained the same for the rest of the 12-day dilution period. Subjects did not show a shift in either sweetened or unsweetened food choices while their diet was being diluted. In adjusting for the missing calories, they simply ate more of their customary diet. The replacement of sucrose by aspartame tended to curb the weight gain observed on the baseline diet.