British Journal of Nutrition

  • British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 111 / Issue 03 / February 2014, pp 563-570
  • Copyright © The Authors 2013 The online version of this article is published within an Open Access environment subject to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence <>.
  • DOI: (About DOI), Published online: 29 October 2013

Full Papers

Behaviour, Appetite and Obesity

Effects on obese women of the sugar sucrose added to the diet over 28 d: a quasi-randomised, single-blind, controlled trial

Marie Reida1 c1, Richard Hammersleya1, Maresa Duffya2 and Carrie Ballantynea3

a1 Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, UK

a2 Department of Nutrition, University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK

a3 Department of Psychology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK


To investigate whether obese women can compensate for sucrose added to the diet when it is given blind, rather than gaining weight or exhibiting dysfunctional regulation of intake, in the present study, forty-one healthy obese (BMI 30–35 kg/m2) women (age 20–50 years), not currently dieting, were randomly assigned to consume sucrose (n 20) or aspartame (n 21) drinks over 4 weeks in a parallel single-blind design. Over the 4 weeks, one group consumed 4 × 250 ml sucrose drinks (total 1800 kJ/d) and the other group consumed 4 × 250 ml aspartame drinks. During the baseline week and experimental weeks, body weight and other biometric data were measured and steps per day, food intake using 7 d unweighed food diaries, and mood using ten- or seven-point Likert scales four times a day were recorded. At the end of the experiment, the participants weighed 1·72 (se 0·47) kg less than the value predicted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) model; the predicted body weight accounted for 94·3 % of the variance in the observed body weight and experimental group accounted for a further 1·1 % of the variance in the observed body weight, showing that women consuming sucrose drinks gained significantly less weight than predicted. The reported daily energy intake did not increase significantly, and sucrose supplements significantly reduced the reported voluntary sugar, starch and fat intake compared with aspartame. There were no effects on appetite or mood. Over 4 weeks, as part of everyday eating, sucrose given blind in soft drinks was partially compensated for by obese women, as in previous experiments with healthy and overweight participants.

(Received September 20 2012)

(Revised July 11 2013)

(Accepted July 15 2013)

(Online publication October 25 2013)

Key Words:

  • Sucrose;
  • Fat intake;
  • Energy regulation;
  • Body weight;
  • Soft drinks;
  • Obesity


c1 Corresponding author: Professor M. Reid, email


  Abbreviations: CHO, carbohydrate; NIDDK, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases