What Happens When You Reduce Your Sugar Intake?

Medically Reviewed on 2/2/2022
What Happens When You Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Reducing your sugar intake can help with weight loss, reduce your risk of diabetes, and improve your dental health

Cutting back on sugar isn’t always easy, but the benefits are definitely worth it. Reducing your sugar intake can help with weight loss, reduce your risk of diabetes, and improve your dental health.

Here is what happens in your body when you eat less sugar:

  • Withdrawal: Just like drugs and alcohol, cutting out sugar may cause temporary withdrawal effects. Sugar can give you a high, releasing feel-good hormones, dopamine and serotonin, in the brain. So reducing your sugar intake can make you feel irritable, at least initially. However, this side effect will go away on its own after a few days.
  • Weight loss: Cutting out added sugars and reducing simple carbs from your diet means that you’re consuming fewer calories, which in turn can lead to weight loss
  • Improved nutrition: Even if you’re already at a healthy weight, reducing your sugar intake likely means you are feeding your body with more nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains—all of which contain important nutrients your body needs to repair and maintain optimal functions.
  • Lowered risk of diabetes: Regular sugar intake has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, and cancer. Eating less sugar can help you keep your blood glucose levels healthy, lowering your risk of developing chronic conditions.
  • Lowered blood cholesterol: Excess sugar gets converted to calories, and excess calories contribute to increased cholesterol levels in the blood. By reducing your sugar intake, you can reduce your risk of high cholesterol.
  • Lowered risk of heart disease: By lowering your cholesterol levels, reducing excess weight, and eating healthier, you also lower your risk of developing heart disease.
  • Reduced risk of tooth decay: Sugar promotes the growth of bacteria in your teeth and increases your chances of developing tooth decay. Cutting back on sugar can help you keep cavities and other dental problems at bay.

How to identify added sugars in packaged foods

There are two types of sugar that you should be aware of: natural and added.

Sugar is found naturally in foods such as milk, nuts, fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, and even grains. However, sugar is often added to processed foods such as ice cream, pastries, cookies, candy, soda, and even ketchup, yogurt, and salad dressings.

Make sure to read nutrition labels and avoid added sugars such as:

  • Corn syrup
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Raw sugar
  • Cane sugar
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Dextrose
  • Agave
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Barley malt syrup


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Medically Reviewed on 2/2/2022
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Cording J. Looking to Reduce Your Family's Intake of Added Sugars? Here's How. eatright.org. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/looking-to-reduce-your-familys-added-sugar-intake-heres-how#