Articles / What Are the Symptoms of Sugar Withdrawal?

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Here’s what you might expect when you go off sugar:

  • sweating (without physical strain)
  • jitters/shaky hands
  • low energy
  • crankiness
  • depression
  • anxiousness
  • loss of sleep
  • lack of motivation
  • strange dreams
  • anticipated rituals unfulfilled
  • boredom
  • overspending on stuff (when you would have purchased snacks)
  • gas
  • bloating
  • possible weight gain
  • constipation or diarrhea
  • strong hunger
  • not feeling satisfied even after eating a lot
  • frequent urination
  • strong thirst
  • the need for naps
  • heavy deep naps that can last up to four hours if you lay down mid-day
  • overeating
  • transference of compulsive behavior to other areas of you life such as smoking, drinking, sex, gambling, shopping, etc.

Comments (archived)


I went on a terrible sugar binge last night, and am paying the price today. I am experiencing sleepiness, anxiety nausea, and lack of appetite. I will never binge like that again. It ruined my entire day!


I stopped eating sugar yesterday cold turkey.  I have been experiencing headache, nausea, vomiting, and sleepiness.  How long will this last? And, what can I expect in the days to come?


Janine, I know how you feel! I am still having daily headaches and some nausea. My appetite has sharply decreased. After dinner last night, I did have some severe sugar cravings. I had no idea what sugar is capable of until recently. I’ve always stayed away from sweets; no sugar in my coffee, unsweet ice tea etc. That one binge however sent me over the edge. Experiencing low energy, but am getting back on track. Best of luck with your situation!


I am 2 days sugar free and on top of headaches, nausea, and fatigue, I feel SO bloated! I expected the other symptoms but not this!


The first few weeks are the most difficult. If you slip up and eat sweets during that time, you have to repeat the first few weeks all over again!


Have not had a sugar episode since Aug. I really learned a good lesson. How can something so “innocent” cause such harm? Sugar is definitely a drug!


One week without sugar! Oh god I feel like my head is going to explode. It’s awful, like the flu. Hope it gets better soon.


i have gone 2 days cold turkey without sugar. i have no energy at all and get killer headaches! i always feel tired but i can never sleep! This sucks!!


Day two of no sugar and it’s not a fun at all! The cravings and mood instability are overwhelming. That goes to show that that white crystalline substance called sugar is truly a drug!!


I am 6 days sugar free and miserable.  No headaches but stomach cramping, fatigue, weakness and diarrhea.  Anything to help?


Yes, EAT! Eat healthy foods. Drink lots of water. Fill your stomach with veggies and keep going. This will pass.


The headache is killing me.  So tired it’s ridiculous.  I am really striving not to cave in and have some sugar.  I love bananas and they help.  Why, oh why must it last a week or more???  I do feel like I have a mild flu.  That’s really odd.


Don’t give up! This is the place where many turn back. There is a wonderful place on the other side of these cold and dark mountains. Keep going…


I quit 3 days ago, I can’t concentrate and my brain is all blergh! I will not fail now though, I’m not starting this again! I’m shakey, nauseous, weak and SO tired!


it’s day 9 and i feel like I’ve hit a brick wall. My sugar intake has been less than 26 grams a day these past nine days (i used to average 120+ grams a day). i have a lot of anxiety and am feeling depressed. I’m exercising 4 times a week and that helps but the weekends are the worst. I can’t concentrate, my body aches, and I feel like I have the flu. When will this end? I’m also having terrible mood swings. Is this what sugar withdrawal really feels like? thank god i never smoked or did drugs. this is absolutely painful.

debbie v.

I was wondering if giving up sugar can cause you to feel nauseated?
It’s only been 3 days and i feel terrible…like i have the flu.  I was also wondering how long this will last?


Hi. I have been sugar free for almost three months now. It was quite a quick transition for me but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been experiencing bowel problems, awful bloating, constipation, pain in the intestins that’s killing me. It’s so depressive. The problem is I had a bar of chocolate yesterday and my symptoms seemed to disapear. Only I’m craving sweet chocolate again and my bowel seems to “threaten” me after every meal and I can’t help thinking I should maybe grab another chocolate bar :(


I have been sugar free for 3 weeks. The first week was ok, but filled with anxiety. The 2nd week I had intense cravings for sugar, everything smelled like chocolate, the anxiety increased, and I had headaches.
This past week the anxiety has increased again to where Im over the top agitated, can’t sleep, over-reacting to EVERYthing. I’ve had diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, tons of gas.
Majda, I’m sorry to hear that you are 3 months out and having such symptoms. Does anything seem to help?
I’m just hoping I still have friends after things calm down. I’m really feeling out of control —however the one thing I will not do is eat sugar, no matter what.


Hi David - I eat a lot of protein, some fresh fruit. Im also gluten free and dairy free. I’ve had weight loss surgery (lap band), so there isn’t a lot of room for food; Im supposed to get a lot of protein each day, so I have to eat that first while there is still room.
Do you have suggestions for replacement foods?


Lucy, so it’s not just going off sugar that you’re dealing with—your whole system has changed! You’re being seen differently, you feel different, and everything happens so quickly. Are you in touch with other people who have gotten the same surgery? How long has it been since you got it?


Hi David,
Yes, my whole life has changed. I had the surgery 2.5 years ago. For the last 2 years I’ve had mystery symptoms that seem to be a complication—though western medicine cannot address it. It involved my throat and what made it feel much better was bread and butter :(
Long story short, acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage have worked a miracle and I am now feeling a lot better (not completely) and have the will power and motivation to get healthy again. Not so distracted with pain and discomfort. Thank you for the list of replacement foods! I will go read that now.
Thank you, also, for your response.


Hi Lucy, David,
Lucy, I’m sorry to hear about your symptoms, that must be hard to deal with. Having someone by your side is very important. My mom doesn’t wanna understand and keeps talking me into eating sugar again. She says you gotta be “normal”!
Thank God I have a friend who really supports me.
David, For replacement food, I eat a lot of protein, fruits, veggies, good fats and nuts, and I eat a handful of dates a day, sweet and delicious. I also drink up to 2 litters of water a day.
Unlike Lucy, I’m not dairy free. last month, I tried to go gluten free for a couple of weeks, but it didn’t seem to change anything so I’m back to eating whole wheat with moderate portions.
It could be stress, I mean it definitely is stress because I believe there is a sort of drug in sugar, and since my body is craving that drug, it’s sending signals to my brain that come out as stress. And since I’ve always had bowel problems when I stress out, it totally tells me it’s the sugar.
My diet is super balanced. I tested causality and dairy and whole grains are not what irritate my bowel.
I went to the doctor but he only gave me a bunch of medicines that made my irritation and bloating worse. My blood and stool analysis showed that everything is fine with me. It’s only when I had a chocolate bar that I understood that it was sugar so I googled withdrawal side effects and I was shocked to read all that stuff. I had no idea sugar withdrawal would get me in all that trouble!!
I have to say it was much worse when I was not able to know what was wrong with me, now once I feel my bowel I take a couple deep breaths. Yoga helps a whole lot. Since I had sugar again I’m gonna make a detox by fasting a week or so. I’ll let you know how it turns.
Thank you so much for everything.
I’m sorry my message was quite long.


Day 8 without sugar
I’ve been feeling fine but today i have been so thirsty it is ridiculous, I’ve probably been drinking at least 5-6 litres during the day and I am still thirsty.
Does anyone else have that experience?
I also feel a little confused and restless.
day 8 without sugar.
I’ve been feeling fine but today i have been so thirsty it is


Low blood sugar levels can cause dizziness, moodiness, and restlessness.  Thirst is also common. Eating complex carbs and proteins can help.


Hi Camilla
I havent especially been thirsty, but I imagine your body is signaling you to continue to flush out the toxicity of sugar. So it sounds like a good idea to flush away!
I have just finished my 4th week of being sugar free.  I’ve had quite a bit of anxiety, lack of ability to sleep, my face is breaking out; I had one where my body felt like my finger was stuck in an electrical socket - energy zinging every which way.
I have heard that if you have an abundance of yeast growth in your intestinal trac (which feed off sugar), when you stop feeding the yeast and it dies off - you can experience a lot of weird and intense symptoms.
My acupuncturist recommended a product—Im not sure naming products is allowed here, so I won’t say what it is—- but I have high hopes that it will help me.
I think everyone is different in what they can handle and in what their body needs.  Going off sugar is no small feat—so hang in there everyone who is doing this!  Let’s see whats on the other side :)


Thank you Lucy :)
The yeast growth sounds nasty, a very good reason to stay off sugar.
I’m on day 10 now and feel very proud, no added sugar at all and the thirst did calm down a bit, drinking alot of water though to “clean out ” the system


Hi Camilla
Sounds like you’re doing great!  congratulations on hanging in there :)


For a few months I’ve been having “a little sugar” after being off sugar for a couple months. The “little bit” turned into a huge 5 day binge. Now, I’m on day 5 totally sugar-free and it’s been horrible. Last night I was so depressed, having suicidal ideation (don’t worry - I will not act on it), crying, angry. I haven’t been able to function in the day and haven’t been able to sleep at night. I hope I remember this in the future so I don’t have to go through withdrawal again. I can not eat “a little sugar.” I also have Intercystial Cystitis so there’s a lot of healthy food I can’t eat, which is tough. So glad I can come to this site and read the comments; it’s very helpful.


I was so glad to see this site. Today is my 4th day off sugar, cold turkey. I am feeling so yucky. Cold chills, so very tired, fatique is getting to me, fuzzy mind, nausea, just an over all feeling of being sick. I will be soooo very glad when the light at the end of the tunnel comes. I want so much to be feeling better. Sorry that you all are going through this too. Just glad there are others out there who understand. God Bless.


Hi everyone,
I am on my 8th day of being sugar free. I have been having shakes with veggies and a little fruit. That seems to help a little. You don’t want your shakes to be too sweet though or you will use those the same way you used sugar, so stick with less sweet fruits. Also, I just recently learned that ginger tea helps with headaches. I use the Yogi brand. It is very strong, so I do add a very small amount of honey. More like a 1/4 teaspoon.
I have a question for anyone that has experience with this. Why is it that last week was easier than this week?? I am craving sugar more in week 2 and I am super tired and moody. I thought it was supposed to get better, not worse.


I’m thankful for this site!  I have started refined sugar free diet and I am on day 3.  The headache has continued since yesterday and today I’m nauseous and have no appitite plus I’m cold.

I am glad to know that this is only temporary!  I am forcing myself to eat to prevent starvation mode.  I never knew that sugar had this affect!


I am on my 5th day of being sugar free. I had a horrible headache that lasted from middle of day 1 to end of day 2. Other than that, I wasn’t experiencing many other symptoms until last night. My nose would not stop running and still hasn’t and I have this cough that does not end. I am constantly coughing up mucus and have to blow my nose within minutes of just blowing my nose. I can’t seem to find any blogs that have these symptoms listed. I also cut out most carbs from my diet. The carbs I am consuming come from veggies and nuts. I am not eating any fruit. Before my sugar cut off, I was eating a TON of sugar. I am an emotional eater and sweets were my go to.


I have been off sugar for 15 days now. This is the worst I have ever felt. I experienced, nausea, chills, muscle aches, bones ache, so very tired, can’t sleep though, fatique hits me and I have to lay down. I feel nutty, fuzzy headed. I am so hoping this will pass soon. I am not craving sugar, just feel like if I eat some sugar I will feel better, you know, caving in. I am a fighter though, so no sugar, dairy for me. I quit cold turkey. I know that the light is there, just will be so happy to see it.


I have bipolar II and am giving up sugar for my moods.  It’s day 3 and my lower stomach and back are killing me.  My head doesn’t hurt yet today, so that’s good.  My legs feel rubbery, like I need to repeatedly stretch them. 
My moods are doing great though.  Amazingly stable.  I just hope my back feels better soon.


Oh but after the first day no cravings, which is very surprising, and makes it much easier to deal with than the last time I did this a few years ago.


Hello all, Day 22 no sugar, no dairy. I still feel weak in the legs, tired every day, when I get up I’m tired and when I go to bed, I’m tired. Tired of being tired. I do feel better than when I started 22 days ago. Trying to hang in there and wake up feeling more energy and less fatique. I know this is worth it, I am so happy that I did this. Not fuzzy headed any more and mood swings are gone. Legs feel tired and achy still but I can live with that, just want the fatique to go. Patience, that’s what my husbands says to me. Good news is, I have lost 7 pounds. That’s a plus.


Given up sugar, artificial sweetners, wheat, flour and cheese almost 4 weeks ago. Still fighting fatigue. When does the fatigue pass?


That’s a lot you’ve given up. Mary. If you are eating new foods in place of all that (instead of just eating less) then figure three to six months before your body catches up.


Hi everyone
I continue to be sugar free, dairy free, and gluten free. I feel so much better! The last thing I gave up was sugar, since February.
The first month was rough. Now I feel great most of the time. However, I thought the symptoms of detox were gone—but this past week I have had severe fatigue and very thirsty (which I have read are detox symptoms).  So, it’s hard to say exactly how long this will go on.
What I can say, is that Im very glad I sugar free and have no regrets, no matter how tough it was there for a while.


Hi - I looked everywhere on the internet for answers, and found this.  I’m on day 6 of the 21-DSD.  I’ve had the usual symptoms (headaches, lethargy, cravings).  Also, as with Issa above, I’ve had a constant runny nose but claritin helps me with that.  But 3am this morning, I was violently ill.  Has this happened to anybody before?  I have an iron stomach, and never EVER get stomach bugs, even when they rip through the house.  The last time I vomited was during childbirth 13 years ago.  So I can’t explain it other than as a sugar withdrawal symptom.  I have to add that I was a true sugar-addict - I never ate breakfast, lived on nuts and cheese till the afternoon, and, often, a bag of candy for dinner.  So I was expecting severe withdrawal symptoms, but riding the Porcelain Bus for an hour last night was not what I was expecting.  I have zero appetite today, which is good - I was dreading my first weekend, sugar and alcohol-free.  Thanks in advance for any insight.  Elise