Only problem is, sugar is literally the definition of an "empty calorie."
The Sugar Association, a Washington D.C.-based lobbying organization, would like you to know, that's just not true!
Nope, it's not a side project of The Onion: this sugar lobby website really does feel passionately (and somewhat defensively) that sugar is being undeservedly demonized in today's healthy climate (PDF).
The fundamental problem here is that we are talking about sugar. No one needs sugar to survive. Sugar is not a nutrient. (Carbs are a nutrient, but we're not talking about carbs. We're talking specifically about sugar - as in, the white crystalline powder that tastes sweet.) When The Sugar Association claims that "sugar is not empty calories," this is clearly false. In fact, sugar is literally the definition of an empty calorie. It's a calorie that provides zero nutritional benefit.
The Sugar Association's claims take a somewhat sinister turn when they address the claim that "Sugar is not the cause of obesity." It's true that obesity is caused by more input (food) than output (calories burned). But here, the Sugar Association's primary tactic is to make you feel bad about your own choices. It's your own fault that you're fat, as you would see if you followed their clunky suggestion to "purchase a pamphlet at your local grocery store that provides calorie information."
(PROTIP for the internet era: just Google "calories X" where X is the food you're looking up.)
This "blame the victim" technique completely ignores the fact that sugar is in everything. It's inescapable. According to the USDA, Americans eat 156 pounds of sugar per person per year. And guess what? We don't need any of it, and a lot of it has been snuck into random foods where you don't expect it.
I love their assertion that this very process is what causes Americans to eat healthy. Sugar: it makes healthy food more palatable, so you'll eat it, you mindless hogs! I look forward to the development of frosted brussels sprouts and sugar-coated broccoli.
Well bravo for sugar. I'm a fan of sugar, honestly. But even I think we could maybe get away with only 10 or 20 pounds of sugar per person per year, regardless of its effects on the Millard Reaction.
I also, I just have to say this: so many grammatical errors. Apparently the Sugar Association doesn't know how to use an apostrophe to correctly pluralize "sugars" as a possessive.