I’ve never done well with the concept that a healthy diet excludes all sweeteners. I’ll acknowledge that that may very well be the best, but for myself and many others it’s a deal breaker.
Obviously the optimal choice for satisfying your sweet tooth would be whole fruits. Make sure they are in prime condition and ripe (preferably as locally grown as possible) and you’ll enjoy these more than you ever thought possible. Personally I would list dates as the next best option, (I know they’re a fruit too, but SOOO sweet) closely followed by stevia. Stevia is an herb that has been used for quite a while in other countries as a sweetener. It is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar so that even though its healthiest form would be the dried green leaves (or fresh, yum) a little of the refined white stuff goes a long way. For instance, one teaspoon of stevia typically replaces one cup of sugar. You can probably see a potential snag there, amounts need to be modified so much that this is not an easy substitution when cooking.
The thing is that for me, so far, that doesn’t quite cut it. So, I draw the line at refined sweeteners. This eliminates corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, fructose, sucrose, and dehydrated cane juice (the labeling on this is not regulated so the amount of refinement varies) among other sweeteners. Basically if it’s not honey, molasses, agave nectar, and in more limited amounts maple syrup and sucanat (sugar cane natural) it’s not O.K.. There are people who feel this doesn’t make much difference and sugar is sugar, but aside from not believing that, I’ve noticed that being selective about the sweeteners you use greatly limits the amount you consume.