For now, there are few substitutes for just leaving bees enough honey to survive winters, and whether one agrees or not, sugar remains as one that WILL keep your bees alive.
And there lies the problem.
In nature, bees would thrive in areas with vast nectar varieties, coupled with several flows lasting a good part of the year.
However, beekeepers keep bees where they live, and some parts of the country just does not produce well timed flows for stimulating fall brood, as well as other aspects for a colony to thrive. (ie. little spring buildup prior to flow, etc.) And in some areas, if the beekeeper ever wanted honey (And I suspect many do), you may not get any due to lack of flow and excess honey production. This idea that one should never feed artificial feeds is many times at odds with keeping bees alive and actually producing a honey crop.
So what one hears, is beekeepers taking this "I'm not feeding my bees anything but their own honey" which is an empty promise to the bees since the beekeeper does not have any to feed anyways.
January 2011 ABJ page 16, advertisement for the "4th organic beekeepers chemical free conference" includes in their advertisement the wording "Getting off the artificial feeds" as one of their topics and goals. Yes, it's nice to think you can always leave enough honey for bees to survive, but that is not always the case. And for many beekeepers, especially for those starting out, it's a pipe dream shoved their way, oftentimes resulting in death of a colony by some line drawn in the sand.
Beekeepers may want to assess their location, flow, and other aspects of keeping bees before assuming because a bunch of others suggest or promote not feeding your bees (or feeding with something you don't have) that this would be a good thing.