When I was in college in the late 1970's I visited my first holistic MD, James Hill, in Dallas. I was in my early 20's and was already interested in eating healthy. In fact, back in those days a little food co-op I used to frequent eventually became Dallas' first Whole Foods Market!
I was already a pastry chef at the time, so baking was a passion and I was already finding ways to reduce or delete refined sugars from my recipes. After that appointment I had only carob syrup, maple syrup and raw honey in my kitchen for many, many years. While refined white sugar hasn't made an appearance in my kitchen since then, it was much later that I discovered some alternative sweeteners to add to that trio - things like dates and date sugar, maple sugar, palm and coconut sugar, agave and powdered stevia.
Over time I've also learned that all sweeteners, with the exception of stevia, can contribute to increased inflammation in the body. I still stand pretty steadfast that raw local honey (never heated) has some pretty great health benefits, and that small amounts of these sugars can be enjoyed on occasion without guilt.
But, once you read this article I found on the effects of sugar on your brain I think you will see the profound benefits of a sugar-less lifestyle . . . especially high-fructose corn syrup!