Adult female rats were fed, in addition to chow and water, a carbohydrate source that differed in type (glucose, sucrose, or polysaccharide), form (32% solution, powder, or gel), or taste (very sweet, minimally sweet, or bitter). A control group was fed only chow and water during the 40-day experiment. The groups fed the glucose solution, sucrose solution, or one of three polysaccharide solutions (Polycose, maltose-dextrin 10, maltose-dextrin 42) all overrate and gained more body weight and fat than did the control group. The carbohydrate solution groups did not differ in their total caloric intake, weight gain, percent body fat, or basal insulin level. The polysaccharide groups, however, consumed more carbohydrate than did the sugar groups. The groups fed glucose, sucrose, or Polycose in powder form consumed less carbohydrate and total calories, gained less weight and fat, and had lower insulin levels than did the groups fed the saccharides in solution form. The powder groups did not reliably differ from the control group on these measures. Rats fed Polycose in solution form or in a solid gel form (32% Polycose + 1% agar) were similar in their carbohydrate intake, total caloric intake, weight gain, and percent body fat. Rats fed Polycose solutions that were minimally sweet (32% Polycose), sweet (0.2% saccharin + 32% Polycose), or bitter [0.05% sucrose octa acetate (SOA) + 32% Polycose] did not differ in their Polycose intake, total caloric intake, weight gain, or percent body fat. The results demonstrate that saccharide form is more important than saccharide type or taste in promoting hyperphagia and obesity in rats. The Polycose gel findings further indicate that it is the water of hydration, not liquidity that is responsible for the hyperphagia-inducing effect of carbohydrate solutions.