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To determine whether the frequency rate of hyperglycemia and infectious complications can be reduced by an underfeeding strategy in patients requiring total parenteral nutrition (TPN), without deleterious effects on nitrogen balance.Prospective, randomized, controlled nonblinded trial.A university-affiliated teaching hospital with a dedicated TPN service.TPN was initiated in 40 adult patients and continued for ≥5 days.Two different TPN feeding strategies were compared: hypocaloric feeding (1 L containing 70 g protein and 1000 kcal) and standard weight-based regimen, begun in similar amounts initially, but advanced in increments toward 25 kcal and 1.5 g protein/kg dry (or adjusted ideal) weight.We evaluated the frequency rate of hyperglycemia, average blood glucose, numbers and types of infections while receiving nutritional support, and nitrogen balance after 5 days of TPN. There were significant differences between the quantities of calories, dextrose, fat, and protein provided to the two groups. However, average blood glucose, frequency rate of hyperglycemia, and infection rates (from intravenous catheter, pneumonia, and wound/abdominal collection) were similar in each group. The control group showed a trend toward a higher insulin requirement. Nitrogen balance, only available as a subset, was significantly more negative in the hypocaloric group.Provision of TPN to a goal of 25 kcal/kg was not associated with more hyperglycemia or infections than a deliberate underfeeding strategy. A regimen of 1.5 g/kg protein in conjunction with 25 kcal/kg did, however, provide significant nutritional benefit in terms of nitrogen balance in comparison with hypocaloric TPN.