Fermentable nonstarch polysaccharides (dietary fiber) affect energy retention in group-housed growing pigs by reducing physical activity. This study assessed the effects of fermentation and bulkiness of dietary carbohydrates on physical activity in relation to energy metabolism. Eight clusters of 14 pigs were fed one of four diets in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Factors included 1) gastrointestinal fermentation and 2) dietary bulkiness. Contrasts in fermentation were created by exchanging gelatinized maize starch with raw potato starch on a volume basis. Bulkiness was altered by adding 15% milled wheat straw to the diets. Apart from these differences, amounts of other dietary ingredients fed to the pigs were similar. Pigs were housed in groups. Nitrogen and energy balances were measured per cluster during a 14-d period. Dietary bulkiness did not affect ME intake, heat production, or energy retention. Metabolizability decreased when maize starch was replaced with raw potato starch (P < .01), resulting in a lower energy retention on the potato starch diets (P < .01). However, the lower ME intake on the potato diets was partially compensated by a reduced energy expenditure on physical activity (P < .01), which was 17.6% lower than that of pigs fed the maize starch diets. Dietary bulkiness did not affect physical activity. The effect of fiber-rich diets (non-starch polysaccharides) on activity in growing group-housed pigs seems to be related to fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract, and not to bulkiness (volume).