We, at Peas of Mind, like to avoid adding sugar whenever possible, but there are some situations where added sweetness is necessary. For example, let's say your child has a few friends over and you decide to make lemonade. Might you consider using a 'raw' type cane sugar or maybe even agave syrup to stand in for the good ole' white standard?
Refined white sugar is 99.9% pure sucrose, which means it is almost entirely absent of any vitamins or minerals. When considering alternative sweetners, natural food stores offer such an overwhelming selection that its tough to know what to choose. Below is a chart we created to help differentiate among several natural sweetners:
Note the sweetners that are "sweeter" than white sugar (honey and agave). These naturally contain fructose which, molecule for molecule, tastes sweeter than the sucrose in table sugar. That means that you can use a smaller amount of honey or agave to acheive the same sweet taste as sugar!
On Food and Cooking - Harold McGee