TIME Nutrition

This Is What Happens When You Give Up Sugar for One Year

One family's quest to avoid added sugars in their diet

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The World Health Organization recently announced new guidelines, suggesting we cut our sugar intake to 5% of our daily calories, down from the previously recommended 10%. But in 2011, Eve Schaub had already decided to do something even more drastic: eliminate sugar from her diet altogether.

In her new book, Year of No Sugar, out this week, the author chronicles how she, her husband, and their two children got through the challenge. Starting with the usual suspects, like table sugar and honey (natural sugar, like the kind found in fruit, was acceptable), the Schaubs eliminated any food products containing added sugar. To their surprise, that meant some salad dressings, mayonnaise, bread, and even bacon.

The result: they started feeling much better. The changes came on slowly, Schaub says, beginning with having more energy. Schaub’s daughters missed fewer days of schools. The effects were more startling when the family indulged in dessert for her husband’s birthday. It tasted too sweet, gave Schaub a headache, and she couldn’t even finish it.

The Schaub family is now moderate when it comes to sugar consumption. “We definitely have retained much more sensitive palates and a more subtle appreciation for sweetness. I went from somebody who would love a big decadent piece of cake to somebody who would much rather have a very subtle fruit sorbet. When we do choose to have dessert, it’s small and it’s very special. It’s infrequent,” Schaub tells the Huffington Post.

While Schaub doesn’t think people need to cut sugar out of their diet completely, she says there should be greater awareness of what foods contain added sugars.

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