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Sugar Burner vs Fat Burner (2023 Updated) Which One Are You?

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 9, 2023

This is a question I always try to address with my clients.

The reason it’s so important is that depending on whether you’re a sugar or fat burner, you can make a lot better choices about your diet and weight loss training routine.

However, there’s a lot of confusion, especially around what kind of sugar or fat we’re actually talking about.

Before you read on, I want to make sure that we’re not referring to sugar burner or fat burner supplements here; instead, we’re talking about the body’s type of metabolism.

So before you jump to a conclusion, use the following information to make your own determination.

What Is A Sugar Burner?

A sugar burner is a person whose main fuel source for all physical activity is their blood sugar levels.

This is quite different from what many people, including me, commonly believe. See, I always thought it was a positive, believing that sugar burners were particularly good at getting rid of the sugar you take in through treats [1​​​].

​What it actually means, though, is that your body will constantly look for blood sugar as fuel, and will be quite reluctant to target body fat.

With the Western diet having significantly shifted towards carbohydrates, your body could end up with a very constant and high level of blood glucose. And because glucose is a much more accessible source of energy, our bodies tend to favor it.

As a result, despite your best efforts to restrict calories, ingest fewer carbs, and become more physically active, you could end up just grumpy and tired and not actually lose weight.

Let’s compare that to someone who can burn fat.

How Is A Fat Burner Different?

meter for metabolism

A fat burner is different in that they are able to metabolize body fat stores as a ready source of energy.

For most people, some fat reserves have built up over time that you’d love to just wish away.

And how often have you encountered that friend who seems to be able to eat whatever they want and never get fat?

However, it is far more likely that those people “simply” have a diet that is not as reliant on carbohydrates, rather having hit the genetic jackpot.

See, when you shift your macros away from carbs and more towards protein and fat, then your body has no choice but to resort to fat reserves when blood sugars start to dip [2].

This also means that you’re not hounded by those dreaded hunger cravings for sugary snacks. You know the ones that you tend to encounter in those slumps in between meals?

When you burn fat for fuel, you can easily go hours without thinking about food, and you feel energized and focused all day long. Your body gets energy from your body fat and fat from your diet.

See our ​recommended ​​​fat burner supplements.

Identify Your Type

The only real way to understand if you’re a fat burner or sugar burner is to have an exercise test done, which measures the gas exchange of your lungs. This involves measuring the oxygen levels of the air you breathe in and the CO2 you breathe out.

The respiratory quotient that is measured through this test will indicate what type of metabolic type you currently are.

If you don’t want to go through such a test, then these common symptoms of sugar burners are a good guide:

  • You feel hungry every 2 hours or less.
  • You’re overly reliant on caffeine to get through mid-morning and afternoon slumps.
  • Sudden mood swings when blood sugars dip.
  • You struggle to lose weight.
  • You suffer frequent energy crashes even when not exercising.
  • Morning runs after fasting are a huge struggle.

How Is Your Metabolic Type Influenced?

Your metabolic type is influenced by the types of food you eat and how much physical exercise you get. A fat burner type is far more likely to have a low-carbohydrate diet, while sugar burners will likely have a lot of sugar in their food intake.

Having type 2 diabetes and issues with insulin resistance could also influence your blood sugar and metabolic type [3]. And along with that comes the same issue of becoming overly reliant on glucose with less fat metabolism.

How Do You Start Burning Fat Instead Of Burning Sugar?

Clean Eating Protein Donuts

I know this might sound like a tough pill to swallow, but if you’re a sugar burner struggling to get rid of belly fat, then you’ll have to quit all those sugary snacks and treats.

That doesn’t just mean candy bars and sodas.

Even high-carb healthy fruit, vegetables, and cereals may increase your blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, that means suffering through a few days of low energy, but this should quickly change.

Soon, you could be rid of the glucose roller coaster, while releasing some of those unwelcome fat reserves.

Remember, you cannot out-exercise a bad diet, and adding some natural fat burners might help boost your body’s fat-burning ability.

I advise some of my clients to couple their exercises with a thermogenic pre-workout for fat-burning alongside their diet to get quicker results.

​Other Resources You May Like:


Does sugar or fat burn first?

During physical activity, sugar burns first, followed by fat after blood sugar reserves have been depleted. A fat burner may find it a lot easier to transition without a sudden feeling of tiredness and exhaustion.

​How long does it take for your body to burn off sugar?

It can take 2 to 7 days for your body to burn off sugar and residual carb reserves before switching to fat storage. Once you get through this period, you may find that certain food cravings disappear.

What Does All This Mean For Your Fitness Goals?

In all likelihood, if you’ve struggled with losing some pounds, then you’re probably a sugar burner.

Sugar burners may be overly reliant on carbs for fuel, and the only way to get a grip on that is through their diet.

The good news is that within about a week, you could start seeing many of the health benefits of becoming a fat burner.

We recommend  checking these list of tested fat burners:

Start by cutting down on sugary snacks, and eating fewer carbs, gradually over a period of 5 days, and see how those cravings become less of an issue.

You may also go the supplementation route to fast track your body’s ability to burn fat.

Are you a sugar burner or a fat burner? Let’s discuss in the comments.


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