To test the benefits of aerobic exercise and dietary carbohydrate during reduced-energy feeding, 23 obese women (44 ± 4% fat) were randomly assigned to either aerobic exercise (Ex) or no exercise (Nx), and to a low-fat (LF) or low-carbohydrate (LC) reducing diet (5.00 ± 0.56 MJ/d) for 12 wk. Changes in body composition, postabsorptive resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of a meal (TEM), and total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) were measured by respiratory gas exchange and doubly labeled water. Significant effects of Ex included a greater loss of fat mass (Ex: -8.8 ± 2.1 vs Nx: -6.1 ± 2.3 kg, P = 0.008) and maintenance of TDEE (Ex: +0.07 ± 1.23 vs Nx: -1.46 ± 1.04 MJ/d, P = 0.004), due to a difference in physical activity (Ex: +0.75 ± 1.06 vs Nx: -0.61 ± 1.03 MJ/d, P = 0.006), which was not attributable solely to the Ex sessions. RMR in both groups decreased comparably (-0.54 MJ/d), and TEM (% of meal) did not change. Diet composition did not significantly influence body composition or energy expenditure changes, but a greater weight loss was observed after the LC than after the LF (-10.6 ± 2.0 vs - 8.1 ± 3.0 kg, P = 0.037) diet. The addition of aerobic exercise to a low- energy diet was beneficial in the treatment of moderate obesity because of its favorable effects on body composition, physical activity, and TDEE.