The Natural Sweetener Debate

I know I haven't posted for a while. I didn't even have a chance yet to post about my daughters 2nd birthday(!). But this I kinda wanted to put out there. I haven't done any extensive research, but I guess we'll see how things go.

I guess what I'm looking for is 'the best' natural sweetener for our family/situation. We are a 1 income family and there's Type I Diabetes in our household. So something not too expensive and if it's good for the diabetes, all the better. I've been looking around online, and, of course, there's many conflicting opinions.

As far as I can tell, here are my options:
  • Agave Nectar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Sucanat
  • Raw Cane Sugar
The pricepoint for regular refined sugar seems to be best, but I've 'banned' it from our home. I know people who have gone to the sugar factory and seen things. I mean, it's just heaped in piles on the floor and people step on it and spit in it. Yuck. This is what's in the package at the store. I'm not naming names/companies. I'm just sayin'. It could be the same for the sweeteners in the list, for all I know.

I'm not including Stevia because I don't like the aftertaste. I've bought it before and no one uses it.

Agave Nectar:
I've read lots of conflicting articles on this one. That it's just as bad as high fructose corn syrup, that it's super processed/not processed, that it's processed like maple syrup, that it's processed like corn syrup, that it is good for diabetes, that it's NOT good for diabetes. I'm not really sure what to think on this one. If it really has a low Glycemic index, that would be a plus, and worth the cost. I'd be interested in baking with this one if that is the case.

Maple Syrup:
Delicious, but expensive.

After reading some articles, seems like this is just fancy raw sugar? Also Expensive.

Raw Cane Sugar:
Like regular sugar, but unrefined and not super processed. I've been buying various versions of this lately. It's cheaper but it doesn't dissolve in liquids that great and it's grainy in baking.

This is definitely not a deeply researched topic for me, but sometimes it's hard to weed through the 'facts' that are out there. I guess I'll just keep searching. =)