How Many Grams of Sugar Should You Have to Lose Weight?

To lose weight and maintain overall health, follow American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines of having 25 grams or less of added sugar a day

When it comes to losing weight, calorie intake is more important to calculate than sugar intake. However, it is best to adhere to guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA), which recommends having 25 grams or less of added sugar a day.

  • Men: No more than 150 calories (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) a day should be from added sugar
  • Women: No more than 100 calories (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) a day should be from added sugar

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has slightly different guidelines, recommending consuming no more than 10% of your daily calories from added sugars. For example, if a person consumes around 2,000 calories per day, no more than 200 calories should come from added sugars.

Sugar will not necessarily prevent you from losing weight or fat. You lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. However, since extra sugar is stored in the body as fat, eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain.

What is the difference between added sugars and natural sugars?

Understanding the difference between added sugars and natural sugars is important in creating a healthy diet plan. 

Added sugars are sugars that have been added during the processing of foods or beverages, often labeled as:

  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Molasses and other things

Natural sugars, however, are those that can be found naturally. Examples include milk, whole fruits, and vegetables. These foods also contain important nutrients, fiber, and water.

What are the dangers of eating too much sugar?

Excess sugar or refined carbs lead to increased inflammation in the body and increases the rise of diseases:

Eating too much sugar can also lead to:


Weight loss occurs in the belly before anywhere else.
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What are the benefits of cutting back on sugar?

Cutting back on sugar may not be easy, but it comes with many health benefits: 

  • Weight loss: Sugar can be addictive. When you eat refined sugar, your body may not receive the signal that you are full, causing you to overeat and gain weight. When you replace sugar with nourishing and filling whole foods, your hormones will naturally regulate, signaling to your brain when you have eaten enough. Reducing sugar intake can thus help reduce cravings, allowing you to consume fewer calories and lose weight. 
  • Mood: Sugar consumption has been linked to an increased risk of irritability and depression. This could be because sugar can cause brain chemical changes and chronic inflammation, which affects brain function. When you eliminate sugar from your diet, you may notice positive differences in your mood.
  • Immunity: Sugar promotes chronic inflammation, which reduces the immune system’s ability to fight cold, flu, and infections. Limiting sugar intake may help you build better immunity, which can also help you fight allergy and asthma symptoms.
  • Risk of disease: Limiting sugar can help you lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. High blood pressure, type II diabetes, and obesity have been linked to excessive sugar consumption and are major risk factors for heart disease.
  • Aging: Excess sugar accelerates aging. Glycation is a process in which sugar molecules bind to and deform the collagen and elastin in the skin and is caused by sugar. Collagen and elastin are the two main proteins that give the skin its youthful, supple appearance. Reducing your sugar intake can reduce glucose and insulin spikes in the bloodstream, reducing inflammation associated with aging.
  • Dental health: Sugar is a major contributor to cavity formation because it feeds the bacteria in the mouth that produce acids that lead to tooth decay and bad breath.
  • Sleep: Sugar can cause poor sleep quality and increase night-time awakenings, especially when consumed before bed. Since too much sugar can also cause weight gain, it may also increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Skin and hair: Since excess sugar can disrupt hormonal imbalance, it can lead to acne and even hair loss.
  • Sex: Sugar consumption causes an insulin spike that activates pathways that reduce sex drive and function. It can also disrupt sex hormones. 

Latest Diet & Weight Management News

Medically Reviewed on 2/18/2022


Image Source: iStock Images

Voltolina V. Reduce Your Sugar Intake. WebMD.

Havard T.H. Chan. Added Sugar in the Diet.

Dieter B. Is sugar really bad for you? Yes and no! Here’s why. NASM.

American Heart Association. How much sugar is too much?


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