Sugar is essential in the kitchen. Consider all that it does for baking, creating a tender cake crumb and ensuring crisp cookies. Then there’s its role in creating airy meringue or soft-textured ice cream. Keep in mind that other sweeteners like “natural” honey are basically refined sugar anyway—and they are all metabolized by your body the same way, as 4 calories per gram. Sugar also balances the flavors in healthy foods that might not taste so great on their own. Don’t go overboard, of course. Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more than 10 percent of your total calories—about 200 in a 2,000-calorie diet.