I'm not going to suggest that all sugars are equal and I think it is pretty widely accepted that high fructose corn syrup is unnatural (I certainly feel that way) but there seems to be a camp of people out there that believe that "natural" sugars are somehow not bad for them. These people will put honey on already sweet fruit and feel as though it somehow "doesn't count" because it is natural.
Well, from a weight loss / maintenance point of view the people in this camp couldn't be more wrong.
The research out there is very easy to find and it turns out that our bodies absorb high-fructose corn syrup, regular granular sugar, and even natural sugars in fruit in an almost identical manner. They are also all very high in calories.
One of the main arguments I hear is that people use honey instead of pancake syrup (of which there are many varieties, but let's just speak in a general sense) because since the honey is natural, it is somehow not bad for you.
Here's some bad news: Honey actually contains more calories and carbohydrates than maple syrup (which is also natural) and most other popular pancake syrups. Mrs Butterworth's, which is arguably the most popular pancake syrup in USA, is seen as an "evil extravagance" and honey has almost identical nutritional data.
As a side note: If you are eating pancakes at all it doesn't really matter what you are putting on them, you are not taking the whole diet thing very seriously anyway.
I do realize that there is a big movement out there to only consume real foods that would occur in nature but believe it or not, there are things that occur in nature that are really bad for you if you are trying to lose weight. 2 Bananas for example, have about as much carbs and calories in them as a Snickers bar, just because it grows on a tree doesn't mean that it is necessarily good for you. One cup (which isn't a lot!) of fresh mangoes has 100 calories and nearly 30 grams of carbs. One ounce (a very small amount) of raisins has 100 calories and 22 grams of carbs.
I'm not suggesting that people should never eat fruit but there seems to be this very untrue notion out there that if you want to lose weight, just eat fruit all day and you'll be fine! If you are going to take this uneducated approach you may as well just eat pasta and bread if you would rather, because from a caloric and carbohydrate point of view, fruit is one of the worst things you can eat in regards to weight loss.
Avocados are all the rage right now and my goodness is that a bad one as far as elimination of excess calories are concerned.
here's the tl;dr : Sugar and calories are sugar and calories... period. If you are trying to lose weight and someone has told you that there is a difference between natural ones and processed ones, their intentions might be good but they are dead wrong.
Avoiding "extra" or "added" sugar is a good place to start, but if you are truly serious about jump-starting your weight loss, you need to look a bit closer than just how the product came into being. Just because it grows on a farm and wasn't make in the Hershey's laboratory, doesn't mean it is going to be beneficial as far as weight loss is concerned.
Wanna lose some weight? Step up your meat and non-root-vegetable intake.