The sugar debate certainly is an interesting one. I most definitely agree with eliminating (or at least minimal consumption) of refined sugar and refined carbohydrates. High sugar and carbohydrate intake is responsible for the prevalence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in our modern day society and it is killing us slowly. Several studies have shown that these refined sugars light up the reward centres of our brains, and that we are physically addicted to sugar. The 21 day sugar challenge clearly illustrates this and those individuals who have done it will testify to this fact. Eliminating sugar and refined carbs from your diet causes withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, anger, depression etc. Once these foods have been removed from the diet completely for 21 days the cravings disappear and there are clear benefits to general health. However, I do not agree with eliminating fruit from the diet. Fruit contains lots of antioxidants which has major health benefits and form part of a balanced diet. There is such a thing as too much fruit though and fruit juices are not a healthy option. Once fruit is juiced, all the fibre that was binding the sugar is removed and the impact on blood sugar levels are much more profound.
When it comes to sugar substitutes I prefer Stevia. It has no calories and does not impact on blood sugar levels at all. Xylitol is also another safe option and many people prefer its taste to that of Stevia. Aspartame is the most harmful of all sweeteners and I do NOT recommend it all. It has a detrimental effect on insulin receptors in the brain and also causes inflammation in the body. Honey is okay in small amounts but the sugar in there is Fructose, which has a detrimental effect on insulin levels and should only be used in moderation. As for all of the other synthetic sweeteners, you are probably better off avoiding them all.