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Can Giving Up Sugar Make You Lose Weight?

By Dana Severson ; Updated July 18, 2017

Giving up sugar can help you lose weight, especially if you’re eating lots of foods relatively high in sugar. If, however, you don’t get much sugar in your diet, cutting it out may not make much of a difference to your weight-loss goals. Calories are key when it comes to losing weight, so pay attention to the calories you eat — and drink — as you limit your intake of sugar.

Caloric Deficit

To lose any amount of weight, you must generate a caloric deficit. It takes a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. If giving up sugar causes a deficit of 250 calories a day, you can expect to lose roughly 1 pound every two weeks. A deficit of 500 calories a day can result in a loss of 1 pound a week.

Naturally Occurring

Though all sugars are considered simple carbohydrates, some forms are better than others. Those found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are naturally occurring, which makes them worth keeping in your diet. Not only do these foods contain many of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients essential to your health, but they're all fairly low in calories. In fact, most medical professionals will tell you to eat more fruits, vegetable and whole grains to help you lose weight. This is largely because of their high fiber content, which can help you feel full on fewer calories.

Added Sugar

Cut foods containing added sugar from your diet. It’s not necessarily the sugar itself that’s most problematic to your weight. Foods with added sugar -- such as cakes, cookies, granola bars, pizza and yeast breads -- often also contain solid fats, explains Foods high in fat tend to be high in calories, which can add inches to your waistline.


As of 2011, about 35 percent of the calories in an average American diet come from solid fats and added sugars, or SoFAS, according to The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends limiting your intake of SoFAS to no more than 5 to 15 percent of your caloric intake each day. If your diet consists of 2,000 calories, you should be eating no more than 100 to 300 calories of solid fats and added sugars.

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