Numerous studies have examined energy compensation following overfeeding regimes whereas much less is known about the impact of acute underfeeding on energy compensation and fewer still have compared energy reduction and addition in the same group of individuals. This study compared the effects of consuming lunches with varying energy content (7.2-fold difference) on subsequent energy intake. A total of 27 healthy males took part in this randomized, crossover study with five treatments: 163 kcal (very low energy meal, VLEM), 302 kcal (low energy meal, LEM), 605 kcal (control), 889 kcal (high energy meal, HEM), and 1176 kcal (very high energy meal, VHEM) served as a noodle soup. Participants were instructed to consume a standardized breakfast in the morning and they were provided with one of the five treatments for lunch on non-consecutive test day. Test lunches were matched for palatability, sensory properties, and volume. Participants were provided with an afternoon snack and ad libitum dinner on each test day and recorded food intake for the rest of the day. Appetite ratings were measured at regular intervals. As the energy content of treatments increased, participants' hunger, desire to eat, and prospective consumption decreased significantly whereas fullness increased significantly. However, no significant difference in subsequent meal intake was found between the treatments (P = 0.458): 1003 kcal VLEM, 1010 kcal LEM, 1011 kcal control, 940 kcal HEM, and 919 kcal VHEM. Total daily energy intake was statistically significantly different between the treatments (P < 0.001) and was varied directly with the energy content of the lunchtime meal. Despite the large difference in energy content between the treatments, participants did not compensate for the “missing calories” or “additional calories” at subsequent meals. These results suggest that covertly manipulated, equally palatable, sensory and volume matched meals have the potential to promote either positive or negative energy balance if the effects seen in this single meal study are sustained.