The effects of long-term moderate food restriction were assessed in lean and obese male Zucker rats. A 30% reduction in food intake from 5 to 68 wk of age resulted in parallel lowering of body weight in both lean and obese rats compared to their respective ad libitum-fed control groups. In lean rats, epididymal and retroperitoneal fat pad weights and cell size were lowered by food restriction. In obese rats there was an effect of food restriction on growth of the epididymal pad but not the retroperitoneal pad. Hyperinsulinemia, hyperlipidemia and elevated serum albumin levels, as well as higher activity of lipogenic enzymes, were also not affected by food restriction in the obese rat. In a second experiment, long-term food restriction resulted in greater glucose conversion to CO2 in response to insulin in adipocytes from lean rats but not obese rats compared to their respective control groups. These results indicate that food restriction throughout the first year of life in the obese Zucker rat does not alter the development of hyperplastic obesity and insulin resistance.