Although filial cannibalism (eating one’s own offspring) occurs in numerous species, including several teleost fishes, its adaptive value is still not well understood. One often-discussed explanation is that individuals enhance their mass and body condition by consuming part of their eggs. However, evidence for this assumption is scarce thus far. In this study, male three-spined sticklebacks ( Gasterosteus aculeatus), a species with paternal care, were allowed to care for a batch of eggs or for an empty nest under food-deprived conditions. All brood-caring males cannibalised at least part of their eggs and thus preserved their initial mass and body condition. Furthermore, mass as well as body condition was significant positively correlated with the number of cannibalised eggs. In contrast, empty-nest males that had no possibility to cannibalise eggs significantly lost mass and body condition. This is, to our knowledge, the first experimentally documented evidence that mass as well as body condition were preserved by filial cannibalism.