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 x 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.