What Are The Side Effects Of Detoxing From Sugar?

There are some side effects of detoxing from sugar. These can include impacting on your mental focus, sleep patterns, triggering headaches and possibly even nausea.

Keep in mind that there’s so much on the other side of a sugar detox that will make any of these seem like a tiny disruption for a very short period of time.

Deciding to quit sugar can be a big step to take for most of us. It can be an extremely addictive substance but can be broken quite easily by taking the right steps. The most difficult part is not falling back into old habits!

On the bright side, however, giving up sugar from your diet can lead to a multitude of health benefits in the long run. But while the process is happening, you can find you will suffer some negative effects.

In today’s article, we discuss the side effects of detoxing from sugar.

Side Effects Of Detoxing From Sugar - sweet sugar
It can be tough kicking the sweet treats. Find this image on Instagram.

Just how bad is sugar for the body?

While on its own in small quantities sugar is generally not a major issue. The health risks tend to typically come from one of two ways (or even both in some cases).

Either overconsumption of sugar, or consuming the man-made sugar known as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). For the sake of clarity, I’m of the firm belief that HFCS are really bad for you. 1

Fructose is a type of sugar itself, however, it is not harmful to the body if eaten in its natural state. Fructose is found in a majority of fruits, especially sweet fruits.

The difference between fructose and HFCS is that you consume fructose with a high amount of fiber in the fruit itself, helping to counteract the effects of fructose.

For an in-depth dive into how fructose and glucose are all processed by your body, check out our comprehensive deep dive into the body’s method for processing sugar.

Are there any benefits to overcoming sugar addiction?

There is a wide range of benefits to cutting processed sugars out of your life. These can range from the physical to the non-physical. While going through the process of detoxing from sugar can feel challenging, the benefits will eventually begin to show.

Removing sugar helps with:

  • Improving your mental clarity and energy due to sustained blood sugar levels
  • Reducing inflammation of the skin, leading to cleaner and healthier skin
  • Helping to improve both your sleeping patterns and quality of sleep
  • Leading to loss of weight due to calorie deficit (provided the rest of your diet and lifestyle is healthy!)
  • Lowering anxiety in the long run, and
  • Saving you money as you avoid sugary snacks and buying more cost effective, healthier alternatives (or avoid all snacks if you are Fasting!).

The benefits, in the long run, will far outweigh any negative side effects of detoxing from sugar. It can be challenging to quit but it is more than possible.

Side Effects Of Detoxing From Sugar - sweet
Look for better sources of sweetness. Find this image on Instagram.

So what are the side effects of detoxing from sugar?

Like any detox from an addictive substance, you may experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. Some are simple and some are more serious.

Simple symptoms may include:

  • Reduced or limited ability to focus
  • Increased cravings for sugary or starchy foods, or
  • A feeling of fatigue, nausea or even light-headedness.

More serious symptoms may include:

  • Temporary disruption to your sleeping pattern, where the decreased energy intake from lack of sugar takes effect
  • Increased chance of experiencing anxiety in the form of feeling on edge. Although this is a reasonably normal feeling when detoxing from any substance, or
  • A feeling of depression due to the lower energy levels and withdrawal symptoms.

The great thing about these side effects is that they are temporary and only stick around for the short term. Detoxing from sugar can initially be challenging but it will get better in the long run.

Overall, you will not know how your body will react until you try to remove sugar from your life. You may even find that you are fortunate enough to not encounter any of the above side effects!

Detoxing from sugar can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, varying based on how dependent your body has become to the sugar that has been a part of your diet.

If you are concerned about any of the side effects, check in with your health professional. If you already suffer from some of the side effects, ensure you have a check up with your health professional before, and while detoxing.


How long does it take to detox from sugar?

The duration to detox from sugar can vary depending on individual factors such as metabolism, diet, and the extent of sugar consumption prior to detox. Generally, the initial withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to two weeks. However, the complete detox process and the time it takes for the body to adjust to lower sugar levels can differ from person to person.

What are the symptoms of a sugar detox?

Symptoms of a sugar detox can include cravings, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, and muscle aches. These are signs that the body is adjusting to the reduced intake of sugar. 2

Can stopping sugar make you tired?

Yes, stopping sugar can make you tired. This is one of the common symptoms experienced during the detox process as your body adjusts to lower sugar intake.


Detoxing from sugar, while initially challenging due to withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and mood swings, ultimately leads to significant health benefits. These benefits include improved mental clarity, reduced inflammation, better sleep quality, weight loss, and lower anxiety levels.

Overcoming sugar addiction, despite its short-term discomforts, yields long-term rewards for both physical and mental well-being. As each individual’s experience with sugar detox may vary, it’s recommended to consult a health professional if any concerns arise.

Have you detoxed from sugar in the past? Let us know your experiences below on our Instagram.


  1. “6 Reasons Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Is Bad for You” – R. Mawer, 27 September 2019 [Healthline] [Archive] ↩︎
  2. “How Long Do Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms Last?” – C. Osborn, 6 December 2023 [VeryWell Mind] [Archive] ↩︎

Last Updated on 5 months by D&C Editorial Team

About the Author

Luke has a background in bodybuilding and martial arts. His fitness focus drove his interest in health. After learning about what a plant based diet can offer he began to transition from a carnivorous diet to one that comprised of more plants and wholefoods. A devotee of clean drinking water, and clean eating, Luke is on a life long path to fulfillment and understanding.

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