Have you ever tried to tell an 11 year old that they can’t have dessert? Have you tried to tell that child the same thing every night for a year? Then you might understand what Eve Schaub and her family experienced in 2011. Inspired by research conducted by Dr. Robert Lustig, among others, Eve along with her husband and daughters spent all of 2011 eating no added sugar.

So what did this mean for the family? First, they had to go over ingredient lists with a fine-toothed comb, and reject anything that had high-fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose, maple syrup, molasses, honey, evaporated cane juice, and artificial sweeteners. They didn’t completely ban sugar – each family member was allowed one regular exception that had a small amount of sugar, and once a month the family would treat themselves to an agreed-upon dessert.

Eve wrote a book about the experience, entitled Year Of No Sugar. In it, she discusses how she and her husband decided to go no-sugar, their daughters’ reactions to the change, and what they noticed about themselves. Eve says they didn’t notice major physical changes, but every member of the family has developed a more sensitive palate. Now that they eat sugar again, they do such much less frequently, preferring smaller servings and lighter dishes. Eve, for instance, now would choose a fruit sorbet over a chocolate cake.

The family also felt much better over the course of the year. Each member felt a noticeable improvement in their health. Colds had milder symptoms and were recovered from faster, and the girls missed far less school than normal.

Eve doesn’t insist that every family try to forgo sugar for a year – after all, she did it and wrote a book so people could learn about it first! She does recommend that families be more conscious of the ingredients in the items they purchase. Most people don’t realize how many aliases there are for sugar, and even informed consumers can miss one small item in a huge list. Eve also recommends cooking at home more often – that way you know every ingredient that has gone into your food. She emphasizes that families should do their own research. After all, she’s not an expert in the field, just “a mom who decided to go on an adventure.”