Summary Effects of refined carbohydrates on satiety and mood remain controversial. After a brief review of findings, some conceptual distinctions underlying mood and satiety are discussed; the physiological processes, cognitive processes and behaviours involved all need to be considered. From recent research on emotion and mood, a two-stage model is described of the psychological processes that mediate between carbohydrate ingestion, mood rating and food intake. This involves rapid non-conscious appraisal and slower cognitive appraisal. It is concluded that the effects of carbohydrates on subjective state and eating behaviour are fragile and liable to alter as a function of the prior state of an individual and the setting of ingestion.