Sugary drinks, taken in small quantities, do not promote weight gain, carbohydrate craving or adverse mood effects in overweight women.
The study, conducted by Marie Reid and colleagues at the Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, set out to determine the long-term effects on dietary intake and mood of adding a sucrose drink to the diet of overweight women aged between 20 and 55 years.
The results show that such women do not suffer adverse effects, such as weight gain or mood fluctuation, if they do not know whether or not they are drinking a sugary or artificially sweetened drink, says a Queen Margaret release.
Instead women took in fewer calories elsewhere in the diet, to balance the calories in the drinks, reports the journal Appetite.
These findings suggest that because it is widely believed that sugary drinks are bad and part of an unhealthy diet, people then go on to behave accordingly.
The primary causes of any negative effects of sugar on food choices and mood, may be psychological.
Marie Reid, professor of applied psychology at Queen Margaret concludes: 'Knowing that you're drinking sugary drinks, while believing that they're harmful, might result in the derailing of a generally healthy low-fat diet.'