Living organisms adapt to environmental changes through metabolic homeostasis. Sugars are used primarily for the metabolic production of ATP energy and carbon sources. Trehalose is a nonreducing disaccharide that is present in many organisms. In insects, the principal hemolymph sugar is trehalose instead of glucose. As in mammals, hemolymph sugar levels in Drosophila are regulated by the action of endocrine hormones. Therefore, the mobilization of trehalose to glucose is thought to be critical for metabolic homeostasis. However, the physiological role of trehalose as a hemolymph sugar during insect development remains largely unclear. Here, we demonstrate that mutants of the trehalose-synthesizing enzyme Tps1 failed to produce trehalose as expected but survived into the late pupal period and died before eclosion. Larvae without trehalose grew normally, with a slight reduction in body size, under normal food conditions. However, these larvae were extremely sensitive to starvation, possibly due to a local defect in the central nervous system. Furthermore, Tps1 mutant larvae failed to grow on a low-sugar diet and exhibited severe growth defects on a low-protein diet. These diet-dependent phenotypes of Tps1 mutants demonstrate the critical role of trehalose during development in Drosophila and reveal how animals adapt to changes in nutrient availability.