Research Article

Long-term dietary compensation for added sugar: effects of supplementary sucrose drinks over a 4-week period

Marie Reida1a2 c1, Richard Hammersleya3, Andrew J. Hilla4 and Paula Skidmorea5

a1 Psychology Department, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK

a2 Feeding and Eating Disorder Service, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK

a3 School of Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK

a4 Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, UK

a5 School of Medicine, Health Policy and Practice, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK


The long-term physiological effects of refined carbohydrates on appetite and mood remain unclear. Reported effects when subjects are not blind may be due to expectations and have rarely been studied for more than 24 h. The present study compared the effects of supplementary soft drinks added to the diet over 4 weeks on dietary intake, mood and BMI in normal-weight women (n 133). Subjects were categorised as ‘watchers’ or ‘non-watchers’ of what they ate then received sucrose or artificially sweetened drinks (4 × 250 ml per d). Expectancies were varied by labelling drinks ‘sugar’ or ‘diet’ in a counter-balanced design. Sucrose supplements provided 1800 kJ per d and sweetener supplements provided 67 kJ per d. Food intake was measured with a 7 d diary and mood with ten single Likert scales. By 4 weeks, sucrose supplements significantly reduced total carbohydrate intake (F(1,129) = 53·81; P < 0·001), fat (F(2,250) = 33·33; P < 0·001) and protein intake (F(2,250) = 28·04; P < 0·001) compared with sweetener supplements. Mean daily energy intake increased by just under 1000 kJ compared with baseline (t (67 df) = 3·82; P < 0·001) and was associated with a non-significant trend for those receiving sucrose to gain weight. There were no effects on appetite or mood. Neither dietary restraint status as measured by the Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire nor the expectancy procedure had effects. Expectancies influenced mood only during baseline week. It is concluded that sucrose satiates, rather than stimulates, appetite or negative mood in normal-weight subjects.

(Received February 01 2006)

(Revised July 11 2006)

(Accepted September 18 2006)


c1 *Corresponding author: Professor Marie Reid, fax +44 131 317 3605, email


Abbreviations: DEBQ, Dutch Eating Behaviour Questionnaire; MAFF, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food