Refined sugar from any source isn't healthy. You can confirm this with kinesiology (muscle testing). Holding any amount of refined sugar close to your body will make you weaker. Refined white sugar of any variety is not healthy and specifically damaging to the human body. If you look at the per capita refined sugar consumption of the countries in the world, you will see the refined sugar consumption rates approximates the same curve as chronic or debilitating diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity (leading to coronary heart disease and high blood pressure) in those countries. It makes little sense to me for a person to use other products to improve their health and extend their life and not also start curbing their refined sugar intake.
The per capita consumption of refined sugar in the United States is often wrongly quoted as being 150 pounds per year. Actually, refined sugar consumption in the U.S. has been dropping since the late 1970's and was never at that high level. In 1990, the per capita consumption was approximately 65 pounds annually. However, corn sugar and syrup have replaced sugar in many commercial products and its per capita annual consumption in the U.S. is at approximately 75 pounds. Thus, when we consider both refined sugar and corn sugar products together we get a number which approximates 140 pounds annually per capita. The true danger of sugar seems to be that, due to its overwhelming appeal to the human taste buds, we eat it in excess-often displacing other more nutritious foods from the diet.
However, at the current time, no specific disease can be associated with its use, especially if taken in moderation. The greatest potential threat of white sugar stems from the processing it undergoes. Initially, the sugarcane plants are washed, shredded, crushed, and rolled to extract the cane juice. Nothing particularly bad happening here so far. In fact, the fibrous residue is often recycled as fuel for the mill furnaces. However, the cane juice is then "clarified" by the addition of lime. After evaporation and centrifugation, it is then further refined though the addition of sulfur dioxide, phosphoric acid, and de-colorizers (ground cattle bone powder). These processes remove all the phytonutrients, including the vitamins and minerals, and leave only the empty calories behind for us to put in our tea, coffee, and recipes.
Some studies have claimed that sugar intake is related to the development of coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus, obesity, and dental caries. As of 2002, no direct causative role of sugar in coronary artery disease or diabetes has ever been established. But of course most of the studies are paid for by the sugar industry. As for obesity and overweight, remember that sugar is essentially pure energy-16 kcal per teaspoon. According to the first law of thermodynamics, energy cannot be destroyed. Anytime the amount of energy flowing into our physiology exceeds the amount flowing out, the remainder is converted into triglycerides and stored as fat.
Excess energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats all contribute to this deposition of fat. Refined sugar is 'unnatural', or 'not immediately digestible (usable) by the human body', unlike honey, which is composed of two main sugars, laevulose and dextrose. These sugars do not need to be broken down by the digestive process, so the sugars in honey are immediately useable and absorbed into the bloodstream giving a quick energy boost to the body. Honey also contains protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, but no cholesterol.) Whereas the molecular structure of refined sugar once ingested must be converted to glucose before it can be utilized by the body, this conversion process taxes several systems in the body.
To most people, sugar is understood to be pure, bleached sucrose-however, to the nutrition scientist, "sugar" includes a variety of carbohydrates including glucose, fructose (as in corn syrup), galactose, lactose, ribose, maltose-and sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide (i.e. composed of two sugars), some glucose and mostly fructose. The fructose is eventually converted during digestion into glucose, so sucrose in effect provides the body with pure glucose after digestion. This means it provides the body with essentially pure energy: one teaspoon (four grams) of table sugar is equivalent to 16 Calories (kcal) and little else.
Personally, I quit refined sugar in tea, coffee, cereal, juices, etc. a couple of years ago. No more milk. No more sugared or artificially sweetened drinks. Now I drink mostly various teas, flower and herbal teas, and some coffee, but only sweetened with granulated honey. My previous problems with indigestion, acidity, a bloated feeling, and about 15 pounds - all went away after about 30 days and have never returned. Once I discovered that they put cattle bone powder in refined sugar, I swore off refined sugar completely.
In my opinion, it should be a crime for grocery store shelves be lined with candy masquerading as food - like granola bars, ketchup, or pizza sauce, all of which are made with refined sugar. See "Refined sugar use and increase risk of Breast Cancer" at http://www.newstarget.com/001673.html
And don't even get me started on the dangers of the artificial sweeteners... which are even more damaging and harmful than refined sugar.