Year of No Sugar: A Memoir by Eve O. Schaub
(Sourcebooks, 2014, 303 pages)
It seemed like I was hearing about Year of No Sugar everywhere I went. After a pretty long wait on the library’s reserve list I finally got my hands on it. After watching a YouTube video of a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig Schaub makes the decision (with her family’s approval) to try and go a year without any added sugar. This is easier said than done because sugar is secretly hiding everywhere, from the bread you buy at the store to ketchup, mayonnaise, deli meat, and chicken stock. Plus, it’s listed in the ingredients as a number of different things so that can be anything from sugar or honey to high fructose corn syrup or fruit juice. To say this was a big decision is putting it lightly. And when you consider that Schaub has two young daughters (under the age of 11 when the experiment was going on) it impresses you that she got them to go along with things.
Essentially the premise is that sugar can logically be considered a poison. Your body doesn’t need fructose – it can’t really even process it so it has no nutritional value (this is not the same as glucose, which your body can work with). In layman’s terms Schaub explains the many negative impacts that sugar can have on your body and your overall health.
The year-long experiment got easier with time but it involved lots of research and lots of home cooking. There were some “cheat” days to make the experiment doable. For example, once each month the family got to have a real dessert – this would typically be to celebrate someone’s birthday. Also, when the girls went to birthday parties they got to make the decision of whether or not to enjoy sugar-laden treats without any judgment.
Year of No Sugar was both interesting and entertaining. Schaub’s writing is accessible, which probably stems from the fact that this book originally began as a blog. It definitely makes you think about how much sugar you’re putting in your body and trying to think of ways you can reduce it in your daily routine.