The noradrenergic system of the hypothalamic paraventricular nuclei (PVN) has been associated with feeding, but whether it controls feeding in a way that is relevant to energy balance is still unclear. Rats were maintained on a high energy, carbohydrate-rich diet (HC), or a low energy, carbohydrate-free, protein-rich diet (LP), until their daily energy intakes equalized. When injected with noradrenaline (NA) into the PVN, they ingested the same amounts of both diets so that the animals on the LP diet consumed only half the total energy of those on the HC diet. Continuous delivery of NA into the PVN via a microdialysis probe induced chewing on non-nutritive pieces of corks. The same chewing pattern could again be elicited by the subsequent NA deliveries. It is concluded that the nutritional value of a diet is irrelevant to the NA feeding response. The failure of NA administration to increase rat feeding in terms of energy intake, combined with its ability to stimulate chewing, suggests that the primary role of the NA system of the PVN may not be controlling the carbohydrate and energy intake, but rather gating behavioral responses that under appropriate circumstances may lead to ingestion.