couples

They forced their kids to give up sugar. Cue tantrum.

 When this family decided to give up sugar, they knew there would be tears, but not like this.

When Eve Schuab and her husband Stephen decided their family would try giving up sugar for a year they knew it would be tough. They sat their daughters, Greta, 11 and Ilsa, 6 down and explained to them what they’d be doing and why.

Cue hysterical sobbing.

“Immediately, they started bawling,” Eve told Huffington Post. “They knew this meant birthdays and Halloween and play dates and Christmas would all be different. As a mother, the last thing you want to do is make your kids cry! I assumed and hoped there would be lots of positive things that would come from it, but I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy road.”

Still, they stayed firm. Eve had become increasingly concerned about the amount of sugar their family was eating and the alleged side effects of the average amount of sugar consumption in the modern world.

So, what on earth were they going to eat?

Sugar is being blamed for everything from the obesity epidemic to behavioural problems in children

One of the first things she did was cut out dessert after dinner. Her younger daughter Ilsa adjusted quickly to their new way of eating quickly however Greta struggled.

"She's the actress of the family. I encouraged her to keep a journal because I knew there would be plenty of times she'd be mad at me and not want to talk to me about it. In the journal, she could get those emotions out. There are excerpts from her journal in the book. I asked her permission first. [Eventually], she loved the project. She said and wrote that it made us unique or special or interesting. I loved watching that transformation into this very aware kid."

Writing for Everyday Health, Eve explains what happened when she did try eating sugar after a while:

ADVERTISEMENT

During our year of no sugar, one of the rules was that, as a family, we could have one actual sugar-containing dessert per month; if it was your birthday, you got to choose the dessert. By the time September rolled around we noticed our palates starting to change, and slowly, we began enjoying our monthly “treat” less and less.

But when we ate the decadent multi-layered banana cream pie my husband had requested for his birthday celebration, I knew something new was happening. Not only did I not enjoy my slice of pie, I couldn’t even finish it. It tasted sickly sweet to my now sensitive palate. It actually made my teeth hurt. My head began to pound and my heart began to race; I felt awful.

One of the most common questions Eve is asked is, "Did you lose weight?" They didn't, but Eve says that was never the point. They cut out sugar to improve their health and she feels it did improve in the most amazing ways.

"We did notice other changes. Our palates changed over time. Things that were sweet began to taste different to us and really repellent by the fall. Things that normally looked very appealing looked obscene and disgusting. We felt healthier, it seemed like we got sick less, like we got better faster or got milder colds. My kids missed significantly less school."

Now that the year is over, Eve says they haven't returned to their previous levels of sugar consumption because it just tastes too sweet.

"We're somewhere hovering in the middle, but 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."

Eve has written a book about her family's experience called Year of No Sugar: A MemoirShe says her ultimate goal is that people become aware of just how much sugar they are eating and rethink it.

"I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nutritionist. I'm a mom who decided to go on an adventure."

You can read more at eveschuab.com.

Do you think your kids eat too much sugar? Would it be hard to cut it out for a year?

The Schuab family shopped for food together and struggled to find sugar-free foods. The kids help search for them. They found sugar in the most surprising foods: