Books, Reviews

Book Review: Year of No Sugar


Find it on Amazon: Year of No Sugar, by Eve O. Schaub

Book description: With her eyes opened by the work of obesity expert Dr. Robert Lustig and others, Eve challenged her husband and two school-age daughters to join her on a quest to eat no added sugar for an entire year. Along the way, Eve uncovered the real costs of our sugar-heavy American diet—including diabetes, obesity, and increased incidences of health problems such as heart disease and cancer.

This book was okay, but I found myself disappointed with most of the author’s methods. She gave herself a LOT of exceptions.

It wasn’t a year without sugar, it was a year without fructose (dextrose, apparently, was allowed). It was a year where each family member got to choose one thing they could still consume anytime they wanted (wine for her, diet soda for her husband, jam for her daughters). They also had one monthly dessert they shared as a family.

Her kids, although they ate what their parents did at home, were exempt from the no-sugar rule if they were at school, or at birthday parties, where they might otherwise feel left out not eating what all the other kids their age were eating.

Personally, I agree with Whole9: “Sugar is sugar is sugar, regardless of the form it may take or the claims it might make.” I’ve completed the Whole30 twice (recap from 2012 is posted here), which doesn’t allow sugar in any form. No exceptions. Doing a Whole30 is difficult. Eating cookies sweetened with dextrose and fruit is not difficult. [Edited to add: I’ve now completed a third Whole30.]

The author and her family did learn a lot: how sugar is added to pretty much everything, including many things you wouldn’t expect; strategies for questioning the ingredients of your meals in restaurants; how to navigate food events and sugar-filled holidays; discovering that your taste buds change after a while and those “monthly” desserts actually start to taste too sweet. (I put “monthly” in quotation marks because obviously they were consuming sugar more than once a month.)

This family consciously made an effort to avoid excess sugar – even if they didn’t avoid all of it – and I commend them. I’m sure Eve and her family ate a lot less sugar that year than they would have otherwise.

Still, I found myself underwhelmed with this book. If you’re going to commit to something, and write about it, and call your book Year of No Sugar, then, well…do it right.

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