Here is an interesting article about sugar, weight and internal regulation. This apparently replicated findings on a similar study done on 'normal' weight women.
Basically they took 'overweight' women (25-30 BMI) and fed two groups with a sweet beverage. One group had artificial sweetener and the other had a sugar sweetened drink. Neither group knew what they were drinking.
The coolest part? The women who drank more calories from the sugar sweetened beverage consumed less throughout the day. When their minds were taken out of the equation, their bodies regulated and compensated by consuming fewer calories. Those 'fat' women were able to self-regulate. They could trust their bodies.
(Different studies show that when women THINK they are eating low-fat yogurt for example, but it is high in fat, they actually eat MORE throughout the day. The so-called "halo" effect means people tend to eat more if foods are labeled low-fat or even organic.) The body does a better job than the brain. (Internal vs. cognitive control of intake.)
A few quotes from the article:
"The results show that overweight 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. Instead women took in fewer calories elsewhere in the diet, to balance the calories in the drinks."
"Widespread publicity about the supposed harmful effects of sugar may make such effects more likely, as believing sugar to be harmful may encourage negative emotions after eating sugary food and lead to the abstinence violation effect."
Have you experienced the "abstinence violation" effect? In other words, the binge after the diet? The being 'bad' after the being 'good?' The "I've been starving all day and now I'm, stressed and can't hold myself back anymore?"
The good news is we can trust our bodies. We just have to learn how to get our heads and all the crazy around food out of the equation...