How Many Grams Of Sugar Per Day To Lose Weight? 11 Tips In 2023

Nia Stevens, BS
Dr. Maya Frankfurt, PhD
When you are formulating a diet plan, you should consider how many grams of sugar per day to lose weight? This article has the answers.
how many grams of sugar per day to lose weight
Excess sugar is the bane of a healthy diet. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Health professionals and people on fad diets agree on one important fact: excess sugar is the bane of a healthy diet!

Overdoing your sugar intake can lead to various health problems.[1] From obesity and diabetes to headaches and gum disease, paying attention to your sugar consumption is vital to staying healthy.

But sugar is also a big part of your daily diet. It’s impossible to avoid because our bodies NEED sugar to function. So, how many grams of sugar to eat per day when trying to lose weight is important to consider when limiting sugar intake.

In addition to answering that question, we will examine the difference between added sugars and natural sugars and provide tips on tracking and reducing your daily sugar intake.

How Much Sugar A Day To Lose Weight?

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day and that women consume no more than 24 grams. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may need to reduce your intake even more. The following 11 tips will help you meet your goals:

  • Read food labels.
  • Know the various names for sugar.
  • Use a food diary.
  • Cut high-sugar foods.
  • Make healthier choices.
  • Beware of hidden sugars.
  • Choose natural sweeteners.
  • Consider zero-calorie sweeteners.
  • Limit sugary beverages.
  • Eat whole foods instead of fruit juices.
  • Cook at home.

How Many Grams Of Sugar Per Day To Lose Weight?

The American Heart Association has recommendations[2] for limiting added sugar intake: 36 grams (nine teaspoons) for men and 24 grams (six teaspoons) for women daily. Just one 12oz can of soda contains 30-46 grams (eight teaspoons) of refined sugar! 

When trying to achieve lasting weight loss, you must burn more calories than you consume. There are several methods for determining how many calories you need to eat to lose weight and help you estimate how long it will take to lose weight. Remember, it is not only about how much sugar per day to lose weight but how your consumption fits within a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

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How Many Grams Of Sugar Should Diabetics Eat?

Sugar intake directly impacts blood sugar levels. The number of carbs that a diabetic should consume[3] varies from person to person because it has to take into account many factors, especially their physical activity levels. Before embarking on a diet, diabetics should consult a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create an appropriate, personalized plan.

Added Sugars Vs. Natural Sugars

how many grams of sugar per day to lose weight
Not all forms of sugar are the same. Photo: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

So, how many grams of natural sugar per day to lose weight is generally accepted? There is not one easy answer. Sugar comes in various forms and is hidden in all sorts of foods. The two major categories to consider are added sugars and natural sugars.[4]

Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, milk, and other whole foods. Alternatively, added sugars are those added to food and beverages during processing. Examples of added sugars include:

  • Table sugar.
  • High fructose corn syrup.
  • Honey.
  • Any other calorie-bearing sweetener that is added to foods.

Natural sugars in whole foods are accompanied by vital nutrients, vitamins, and fiber, rounding out your healthy diet and muting the effects of these sugars on your blood glucose levels. Added sugars, on the other hand, tend to provide empty calories with no nutritional value.

Too many grams of added sugar in your diet can lead to obesity, increased the risk of heart disease, and other potentially deadly health issues. Furthermore, if you’re trying to eat less to lose weight, you may be shocked to find that extra sugar can destroy your progress.

Tips For Reducing Sugar Intake

how many grams of sugar per day to lose weight
Follow tips to cut down on sugar. Photo: fizkes/Shutterstock

How To Track Your Daily Sugar Intake

You have to develop a game plan for tracking your daily sugar intake. Here are some strategies to consider:

Read Food Labels

Food manufacturers must list the total sugars and added sugars on nutrition labels. Be sure to pay attention to the serving size and amount of sugar per serving. Do the numbers on the label account for the total package or a single serving?

Know Sugar’s Aliases

There are different names for added sugars,[5] such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose. If an unknown ingredient rhymes with “gross,” it’s probably some form of processed sugar.

Use A Food Diary

Record everything you eat and drink. Some people do best with pen and paper; others prefer to use an app. Either way, good record-keeping will help you identify the foods and beverages that contribute the most sugar to your diet.

Eliminate Or Reduce High-Sugar Foods

List the items that contribute the most sugar to your diet. You don’t have to give these foods up entirely, but limiting them will help. Being an informed consumer is the first step towards healthier eating.

Make Healthier Choices

You may find that some of your favorite foods have low-sugar alternatives. When that’s not an option, smaller portions and saving sweets for special occasions can help you incorporate your cravings into a healthy diet.

How To Reduce Sugar In Your Diet

Now that we’ve discussed why you want to reduce sugars in your diet and how to track them, here are some tips to help you reduce your sugar intake, boosting weight loss and overall health.

Be Aware Of Hidden Sugars

The sugar found in sweets and desserts is easy to identify and avoid. However, many packaged foods[6] like bread, sauces, salad dressings, and other savory foods can contain a surprising amount of added sugars. Always check food labels!

Choose Natural Sweeteners

Cutting back on added sugars doesn’t mean you have to forgo all sweeteners. Instead of adding table sugar to your foods, consider natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. These are still calorie-rich sweeteners, and you should use them sparingly. But these more complex carbohydrates are kinder to your blood glucose levels.

Consider Zero-Calorie Sweeteners

While artificial sweeteners such as aspartame aren’t the healthiest sugar substitute, there are natural zero-sugar options, including:

  • Stevia.
  • Monk Fruit.
  • Xylitol.

Limit Sugary Beverages

Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, sweet tea, fruit juice cocktails, and energy drinks are all significant sources of added sugar. Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and cocktails also pack a ton of sugar into just a few ounces. If you’re drinking enough water and responsibly managing sweet cravings, you can enjoy the occasional special beverage without missing your weight-loss goals.

Eat Whole Fruit Instead Of Fruit Juice.

Whole fruits contain natural sugars, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy part of your diet that fulfills and curbs cravings for sweets while providing micronutrients you won’t find anywhere else. However, even 100% fruit juice lacks adequate fiber,[7] causing fast absorption of the sugar and leading to blood sugar spikes. 

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Cook At Home

The best way to avoid processed foods, added sugars, and other unwanted ingredients is to prepare your food at home. You can track your nutritional and daily calorie intake to know exactly how much sugar complements your health goals.


If you want to lose weight and maintain overall health, managing your sugar intake is an essential step. Understand the difference between natural and added sugars. Read food labels. Use sweeteners sparingly. Limit sugary beverages. Eat whole foods prepared at home.

All of these are effective strategies for reducing sugar in your diet. Remember, it’s not about how many grams of sugar a day to lose weight, but about maintaining a balanced diet. When you stay vigilant in the kitchen, you can learn how to lose weight fast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I eat sugar and still lose weight?

Yes. You can eat sugar and still lose weight, but managing your overall calorie intake is still necessary to see results.

Is it OK to have sugar on a cheat day?

Yes. Having sugar on a cheat day is okay, but try not to overindulge. It is important to have a balanced diet, even on a cheat day.

How many calories is classed as a cheat day?

A cheat day has no specific calorie limit as it varies from person to person. It is important to listen to your body and not to overindulge. One way to track your overall progress is to record your calories by the week rather than the day.

Will two cheat days make me gain weight?

Having two cheat days in a row will make it difficult to maintain a calorie deficit and can lead to weight gain. Having one cheat day and maintaining a balanced diet on other days will generally lead to better outcomes.

Should you work out after a cheat day?

Exercise can help burn off some of the extra calories consumed on a cheat day. But it is always good to exercise regularly, whether it is after a cheat day or not.


  1. Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez, Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Martín-Rodríguez, A., Domingo Jesús Ramos-Campo, Redondo-Flórez, L. and José Francisco Tornero-Aguilera (2022). The Burden of Carbohydrates in Health and Disease. Nutrients, [online] 14(18), pp.3809–3809. doi:
  2. (2019). How much sugar is too much? [online] Available at:
  3. Ojo, O. (2019). Dietary Intake and Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrients, [online] 11(9), pp.2177–2177. doi:
  4. (2021). Sugar 101. [online] Available at:,adding%20sugar%20to%20your%20cereal).
  5. Turck, D., Bohn, T., Castenmiller, J., Stefaan De Henauw, Karen Ildico Hirsch‐Ernst, Helle Katrine Knutsen, Maciuk, A., Mangelsdorf, I., McArdle, H.J., Androniki Naska, Peláez, C., Pentieva, K., Siani, A., Thiès, F., Tsabouri, S., Roger A.H. Adan, Emmett, P.M., Galli, C., Kersting, M. and Moynihan, P. (2022). Tolerable upper intake level for dietary sugars. EFSA Journal, [online] 20(2). doi:
  6. Lustig, R.H. (2020). Ultraprocessed Food: Addictive, Toxic, and Ready for Regulation. Nutrients, [online] 12(11), pp.3401–3401. doi:
  7. Katarzyna Gołąbek and Bożena Regulska−Ilow (2019). Dietary support in insulin resistance: An overview of current scientific reports. Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine, [online] 28(11), pp.1577–1585. doi:

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