Lifespan and health in older age are strongly influenced by diet. Feeding Drosophila melanogaster diets high in sugar has increasingly been used as an experimental model to understand the physiological effects of unhealthy, contemporary human diets. Several metabolic parameters and physiological responses to nutrition are known to be dependent on the sex of the animal. However, sexual dimorphism in the responses to high-sugar diets in fruit flies has not been examined. Here we show that a high-sugar diet in Drosophila melanogaster elicits sexually dimorphic effects on feeding behaviour, starvation resistance and lifespan. Females feed less on such diets, while males feed more, and these feeding responses may have secondary consequences. Females, more than males, gain the ability to resist periods of starvation from high-sugar diets, indicating that the female response to excess sugar may be geared towards surviving food shortages in early life. At the same time, female lifespan is more susceptible to the detrimental effects of high sugar diets. Our study reveals differences between Drosophila sexes in their responses to sugar-rich diets, indicating the fruit fly could be used as a model to understand the sexually dimorphic features of human metabolic health.