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Family survives a year without sugar in 'Year of No Sugar'

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A Vermont family adopted a sugar-free diet for one year and was surprised how easy it was to kick their sugar habit, NPR reported. Author Eve Schaub, 43, decided to put her husband and two daughters on a sugar-free diet after watching Dr. Robert Lustig's video "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" in 2010 (see above).

Listening to Dr. Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, describe the health dangers of sugar gave her a major wake-up call. "I was totally freaked out," said Schaub. "Sugar is everywhere. It's making us all fat and sick, and almost no one realizes it."

Eve chronicled her family's sugar-free adventure in her book, A Year Of No Sugar. Not surprisingly, Schaub said her two daughters and husband weren't thrilled with the idea of not eating any sugar for 365 days, but she said they made the adjustment fairly well after a rocky start.

Eve said she didn't experience any weight loss on her sugar-free diet, but felt more energetic, happier and healthier after kicking the sugar habit. She noted that her two daughters, ages six and 11, also got sick less frequently during that year.

'Sugar Is the Most Dangerous Drug of Our Time'

The one shocking discovery Schaub made was how much sugar there is secretly lurking in common foods, like pasta sauce, gravies, and ketchup. That's when she came to the realization that we may all be secretly addicted to sugar. "Could it be that we were really all just addicts sucking away at our soda-straw hookahs, never making the obvious connection between our 'drug' of choice and our rapidly declining health?" she wondered.

Schaub's observation echoes similar sentiments made by leading health and medical experts. In 2013, Paul van der Velpen, the head of Amsterdam’s health service, made headlines after suggesting there should be government-mandated limits on how much sugar can be added to processed foods.

"Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug," van der Velpen wrote on a Dutch health website. "The use of sugar should be discouraged, and users should be made aware of the dangers. Sugar is the most dangerous drug of our time."

While van der Velpen's comments may sound extreme, they are supported by diet and health experts around the world, who point out that heavy sugar consumption leads to diabetes, obesity, cancer, tooth decay and neurological conditions such as dementia, depression and ADHD. According to Dr. Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, sugar is definitely addictive and causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease and early mortality.

"When you do the math, fully one-quarter of the world's diabetes is explained by sugar alone," said Dr. Lustig, who also wrote The Real Truth About Sugar. "The food industry has contaminated the American food supply with added sugar to 'sell more product' and thereby uphold their Wall Street mandate to increase profits. Sugar in excess is a toxin. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit."

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