In adrenalectomized (ADX) rats, either corticosterone replacement or increased sucrose intake will restore body weight gain, uncoupling protein-1, fat depot mass, food intake and corticotropin-releasing factor mRNA expression to normal. Here, we tested the potential interactions between sucrose intake and circulating corticosterone on behavioural, metabolic, autonomic and neuroendocrine responses to the stress of cold. Rats were left intact, sham-ADX, or ADX and replaced with pellets that provided normal, basal (30%B) or high stress (100%B) constant circulating concentrations of corticosterone ± sucrose. More calories were consumed in cold than at room temperature (RT), provided that corticosterone concentrations were elevated above mean daily basal values in cold. Neither increased sucrose nor increased chow ingestion occurred in cold if the rats were ADX and replaced with 30%B. However, sucrose drinking in this group markedly ameliorated other responses to cold. By contrast, ADX30%B rats not drinking sucrose fared poorly, and none of the metabolic or endocrine variables were similar to those in sham-ADX controls. ADX100%B group in cold, resembled intact rats without sucrose; however, this group was metabolically abnormal at RT. We conclude that drinking sucrose lowers stress-induced corticosterone secretion while reducing many responses to cold; elevated corticosterone concentrations in the stress-response range are essential for the normal integrated cold-induced responses to occur.