is sugar really that bad?

i was doing my weekly trader joe's shopping yesterday evening and overhead two mothers tell their children, both of whom were under the age of 4, that sugar was not good for them.  their quotes, exactly, were:                                                                                                                                             "yes, we can buy these because they don't have any sugar in them."  and "mommy loves you too much to let you eat sugar.  it will make your tummy hurt." i left the store with my head spinning.  i AM a dietitian for pete's sake, but i just don't feel the same way these mommies do.  according to wikipedia, the foodstuff known as sugar "delivers a primary taste sensation of sweetness" and is defined as "a basic food carbohydrate that primarily comes from sugar cane and from sugar beet, but also appears in fruit, honey, sorghum, sugar maple, and in many other sources".

i know that the excessive consumption of sugar has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes, but sugar is not ALL bad.  instead of teaching our children that sugar is the bad guy, which teaches them that wanting something sweet to eat is naughty, let's teach our children that processed food stuffs that contain preservatives and additives are the real bad guys.  let's teach them that there are differences between foods stored in boxes and kept on shelves and foods that are whole and fresh. and that after they eat a wholesome, nutritious meal they can satisfy their "sweet tooth" or what i like to describe as that "extra spot in your stomach reserved especially to be filled with sweets" with a wholesome treat made with SUGAR!   

we need to refocus the attention that we give to our food.  let's start with the way we teach our children about food in the local trader joes.