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Are you willing to make a positive change? Join the thousands of individuals on the same fitness journey!

TESTMONIALS Start Your Transformation
English Macedonian

5 Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship

All romantic relationships go through ups and downs and they all take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner. But whether your relationship is just starting out or you’ve been together for years, there are steps you can take to build a healthy relationship. Even if you’ve experienced a lot of failed relationships in the past or have struggled before to rekindle the fires of romance in your current relationship, you can find ways to stay connected, find fulfillment, and enjoy lasting happiness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Emotional Connection: Maintaining a meaningful emotional connection is crucial.
  • Maintaining Individual Interests: Avoid putting all your emotional needs and expectations on your partner.
  • Open and Honest Communication: Good communication is fundamental. Express your needs, fears, and desires openly and directly.
  • Giving Back and Volunteering: Strengthen your relationship by focusing on shared values and interests outside of the relationship.

What makes a healthy relationship?

Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go. And that’s something you’ll only know by talking deeply and honestly with your partner.

Knowing these basic principles can help keep your relationship meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting whatever goals you’re working towards or challenges you’re facing together.

You maintain a meaningful emotional connection with each other.

You each make the other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. There’s a difference between being loved and feeling loved. When you feel loved, it makes you feel accepted and valued by your partner, like someone truly gets you. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without the partners truly relating to each other emotionally. While the union may seem stable on the surface, a lack of ongoing involvement and emotional connection serves only to add distance between two people.

You’re not afraid of (respectful) disagreement.

Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key to a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to feel safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation, or insisting on being right.

You keep outside relationships and interests alive.

Despite the claims of romantic fiction or movies, no one person can meet all of your needs. In fact, expecting too much from your partner can put unhealthy pressure on a relationship. To stimulate and enrich your romantic relationship, it’s important to sustain your own identity outside of the relationship, preserve connections with family and friends, and maintain your hobbies and interests.

You communicate openly and honestly.

Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people know what they want from the relationship and feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, it can increase trust and strengthen the bond between you.

A healthy relationship thrives on shared goals and open, honest communication. It’s about maintaining emotional connection, respecting disagreements, preserving individuality, and fostering trust through transparent communication.

Falling in love vs. staying in love

 For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It’s staying in love—or preserving that “falling in love” experience—that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort. A healthy, secure romantic relationship can serve as an ongoing source of support and happiness in your life, through good times and bad, strengthening all aspects of your well-being. By taking steps now to preserve or rekindle your falling-in-love experience, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts—even for a lifetime.

Many couples focus on their relationship only when there are specific, unavoidable problems to overcome. Once the problems have been resolved they often switch their attention back to their careers, kids, or other interests. However, romantic relationships require ongoing attention and commitment for love to flourish. As long as the health of a romantic relationship remains important to you, it is going to require your attention and effort. Identifying and fixing a small problem in your relationship now can often help prevent it from growing into a much larger one down the road.

The following tips can help you to preserve that falling-in-love experience and keep your romantic relationship healthy.

Pro Tip

Remember that staying in love requires ongoing effort and commitment. Prioritize your relationship consistently, not just when problems arise, to build a lasting, meaningful connection that enhances your overall well-being.

1. Spend quality time face to face

You fall in love looking at and listening to each other. If you continue to look and listen in the same attentive ways, you can sustain the falling-in-love experience over the long term. You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything seemed new and exciting, and you likely spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, the demands of work, family, other obligations, and the need we all have for time to ourselves can make it harder to find time together.

Many couples find that the face-to-face contact of their early dating days is gradually replaced by hurried texts, emails, and instant messages. While digital communication is great for some purposes, it doesn’t positively impact your brain and nervous system in the same way as face-to-face communication. Sending a text or a voice message to your partner saying “I love you” is great, but if you rarely look at them or have the time to sit down together, they’ll still feel you don’t understand or appreciate them. And you’ll become more distanced or disconnected as a couple. The emotional cues you both need to feel loved can only be conveyed in person, so no matter how busy life gets, it’s important to carve out time to spend together.

Commit to spending some quality time together on a regular basis.

No matter how busy you are, take a few minutes each day to put aside your electronic devices, stop thinking about other things, and really focus on and connect with your partner.

Find something that you enjoy doing together, whether it is a shared hobby, dance class, daily walk, or sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning.

Try something new together.

Doing new things together can be a fun way to connect and keep things interesting. It can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip to a place you’ve never been before.

Focus on having fun together.

Couples are often more fun and playful in the early stages of a relationship. However, this playful attitude can sometimes be forgotten as life challenges start getting in the way or old resentments start building up. Keeping a sense of humor can actually help you get through tough times, reduce stress, and work through issues more easily. Think about playful ways to surprise your partner, like bringing flowers home or unexpectedly booking a table at their favorite restaurant. Playing with pets or small children can also help you reconnect with your playful side.

Do things together that benefit others

One of the most powerful ways of staying close and connected is to jointly focus on something you and your partner value outside of the relationship. Volunteering for a cause, project, or community work that has meaning for both of you can keep a relationship fresh and interesting. It can also expose you both to new people and ideas, offer the chance to tackle new challenges together and provide fresh ways of interacting with each other.

As well as helping to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, doing things to benefit others delivers immense pleasure. Human beings are hard-wired to help others. The more you help, the happier you’ll feel——as individuals and as a couple.

2. Stay connected through communication

Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship. When you experience a positive emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe and happy. When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out the disconnect. It may sound simplistic, but as long as you are communicating, you can usually work through whatever problems you’re facing.

Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess. It’s not always easy to talk about what you need. For one, many of us don’t spend enough time thinking about what’s really important to us in a relationship. And even if you do know what you need, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view. Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden.

If you’ve known each other for a while, you may assume that your partner has a pretty good idea of what you are thinking and what you need. However, your partner is not a mind-reader. While your partner may have some idea, it is much healthier to express your needs directly to avoid any confusion.

Your partner may sense something, but it might not be what you need. What’s more, people change, and what you needed and wanted five years ago, for example, may be very different now. So instead of letting resentment, misunderstanding, or anger grow when your partner continually gets it wrong, get in the habit of telling them exactly what you need.

Take note of your partner’s nonverbal cues So much of our communication is transmitted by what we don’t say. Nonverbal cues, which include eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures such as leaning forward, crossing your arms, or touching someone’s hand, communicate much more than words.

When you can pick up on your partner’s nonverbal cues or “body language,” you’ll be able to tell how they really feel and be able to respond accordingly. For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues. Your partner’s responses may be different from yours. For example, one person might find a hug after a stressful day a loving mode of communication—while another might just want to take a walk together or sit and chat.

It’s also important to make sure that what you say matches your body language. If you say “I’m fine,” but you clench your teeth and look away, then your body is clearly signaling you are anything but “fine.”

When you experience positive emotional cues from your partner, you feel loved and happy, and when you send positive emotional cues, your partner feels the same. When you stop taking an interest in your own or your partner’s emotions, you’ll damage the connection between you, and your ability to communicate will suffer, especially during stressful times.

Be a good listener While a great deal of emphasis in our society is put on talking, if you can learn to listen in a way that makes another person feel valued and understood, you can build a deeper, stronger connection between you.

There’s a big difference between listening in this way and simply hearing. When you really listen—when you’re engaged with what’s being said—you’ll hear the subtle intonations in your partner’s voice that tell you how they’re really feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate. Being a good listener doesn’t mean you have to agree with your partner or change your mind. But it will help you find common points of view that can help you to resolve conflict.

Manage stress When you’re stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, you’re more likely to misread your romantic partner, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, or lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior. How often have you been stressed and flown off the handle at your loved one and said or done something you later regretted?

If you can learn to quickly manage stress and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but you’ll also help to avoid conflict and misunderstandings——and even help to calm your partner when tempers build.


Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Maintaining a positive emotional connection through open dialogue and attentive listening is crucial, especially during times of change or stress.

3. Keep physical intimacy alive

Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, affectionate contact for brain development. And the benefits don’t end in childhood. Affectionate contact boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment.

While sex is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important.

Of course, it’s important to be sensitive to what your partner likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want. As with so many other aspects of a healthy relationship, this can come down to how well you communicate your needs and intentions with your partner.

Even if you have pressing workloads or young children to worry about, you can help to keep physical intimacy alive by carving out some regular couple time, whether that’s in the form of a date night or simply an hour at the end of the day when you can sit and talk or hold hands.

4. Learn to give and take in your relationship

If you expect to get what you want 100% of the time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Healthy relationships are built on compromise. However, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.

Recognize what’s important to your partner Knowing what is truly important to your partner can go a long way toward building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs will only build resentment and anger.

Don’t make “winning” your goal If you approach your partner with the attitude that things have to be your way or else, it will be difficult to reach a compromise. Sometimes this attitude comes from not having your needs met while younger, or it could be years of accumulated resentment in the relationship reaching a boiling point. It’s alright to have strong convictions about something, but your partner deserves to be heard as well. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint.

Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but to keep a relationship strong, both people need to feel they’ve been heard. The goal is not to win but to maintain and strengthen the relationship.

Make sure you are fighting fair. Keep the focus on the issue at hand and respect the other person. Don’t start arguments over things that cannot be changed.

Don’t attack someone directly but use “I” statements to communicate how you feel. For example, instead of saying, “You make me feel bad” try “I feel bad when you do that”.

Don’t drag old arguments into the mix. Rather than looking to past conflicts or grudges and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the here and now to solve the problem.

Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive others.

If tempers flare, take a break. Take a few minutes to relieve stress and calm down before you say or do something you’ll regret. Always remember that you’re arguing with the person you love.

Know when to let something go. If you can’t come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.


In a healthy relationship, compromise is key, with both partners understanding each other’s priorities and needs. Prioritizing the relationship over winning disagreements, resolving conflicts respectfully, and practicing fair communication are essential for its strength and longevity.

5. Be prepared for ups and downs

It’s important to recognize that there are ups and downs in every relationship. You won’t always be on the same page. Sometimes one partner may be struggling with an issue that stresses them, such as the death of a close family member. Other events, like job loss or severe health problems, can affect both partners and make it difficult to relate to each other. You might have different ideas about managing finances or raising children.

Different people cope with stress differently, and misunderstandings can rapidly turn into frustration and anger.

Don’t take out your problems on your partner.

Life stresses can make us short-tempered. If you are coping with a lot of stress, it might seem easier to vent with your partner, and even feel safer to snap at them. Fighting like this might initially feel like a release, but it slowly poisons your relationship. Find other healthier ways to manage your stress, anger, and frustration.

Trying to force a solution can cause even more problems.

Every person works through problems and issues in their own way. Remember that you’re a team. Continuing to move forward together can get you through the rough spots.

Look back to the early stages of your relationship.

Share the moments that brought the two of you together, examine the point at which you began to drift apart, and resolve how you can work together to rekindle that falling-in-love experience.

Be open to change.

Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad.

If you need outside help for your relationship, reach out together.

Sometimes problems in a relationship can seem too complex or overwhelming for you to handle as a couple. Couples therapy or talking together with a trusted friend or religious figure can help.

Bottom Line:

Building and maintaining a healthy relationship requires open communication, emotional connection, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt and grow together. By following these key tips and being prepared for the inevitable ups and downs, you can nurture a fulfilling and enduring partnership that brings happiness and support to both partners.

What to Know About the Benefits of a Cold Shower vs. a Hot Shower

Getting into a cold shower is never a pleasant experience, but there are a few health benefits you may gain from braving the experience. Cold showers can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve circulation, lower stress levels, and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Hot showers, meanwhile, can improve cardiovascular health, soothe stiff joints, and improve sleep.

Understanding when to take a hot or cold shower is essential. Both deliver incredible potential health benefits and can affect your body differently.

Key Takeaways:

  • Introduction: Start with a compelling introduction that grabs readers’ attention and outlines the topic’s importance.
  • Benefits of Cold Showers: Explain the advantages of taking cold showers, such as improved circulation, reduced muscle tension, and potential sleep benefits.
  • Benefits of Hot Showers: Highlight the benefits of hot showers, like muscle relaxation and potential cardiovascular health improvements.

How cold showers increase circulation

There’s a reason your first reaction to a polar blast of H2O is to move away from it: Cold water strains your body. The natural response to icy water hitting your skin is your system flipping the switch to survival mode.

The shock brought by cold water puts your circulatory system into overdrive. Your body increases blood flow to warm your core and protect vital organs. At the same time, it constricts circulation near your skin.

This process stimulates blood flow, which – on the whole – is a good thing for your overall health. Even your skin gets clearer and healthier with increased circulation.

Pro Tip

Go for a 10 minute walk instead

Can cold showers help you lose weight?

Research has shown that cold showers (and exposure to cold in general), in addition to increasing metabolic rate directly, stimulate the generation of brown fat. Brown fat is a specific type of fat tissue that in turn generates energy by burning calories. Cold showers, then, are an effective tool for people who are looking to lose a few kilograms


Cold showers are not going to be your best route to weight loss

Impact of cold showers on your immune system and mental health

Showering alternately with hot and cold water is great for improving circulation. During a cold shower, the work of the heart increases as well as during exercise. When the muscles come into contact with the cold water, they contract. The contraction of the muscles and the moving blood through the body contribute to a greater flow of blood through the muscles and the elimination of toxins from the body.

How affects fertility

Cold showers can actually increase your chances of having children. This applies to both women and men. One study found that men who were forced to not take hot showers had a 500% improvement in sperm quality in just six months.

Increased testosterone

 Testosterone is important for many men, increasing muscle and even confidence. Researchers have found that hot showers can alter DNA, manipulating it to produce less testosterone.

Helps in muscle recovery

If you work out in the gym, the most important thing you need is muscle recovery. The faster your muscles recover, the faster you can increase your reps and weight.

Cold showers are key to speeding up muscle recovery, which is why Olympians almost always take advantage of cold showers and baths.

How It keeps you awake

Waking up in the morning and starting your day can be the hardest part, especially if you’re not a morning person.

Taking a cold shower can help a lot. Contact with cold water speeds up the work of the heart and forces your body to take in more oxygen, thereby waking up the brain faster.

Risks of taking a cold shower

If you have heart disease, resist the urge to adopt a cold shower routine. Your body’s reaction to cold water puts added stress on your heart and could lead to an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.


It’s going to tax your heart in a way that could be dangerous

How to make cold showering a habit Like any other habit, you have to generate the right triggers and motivators to be able to kick it all the way.

Do it either all at once or little by little

You choose how you start. You can start with hot water, as you normally do, and towards the end of the shower, gradually lower the water temperature over the course of a week, until you can stay under cold water for at least three minutes. Or, immediately stand under the stream of cold water.

Start in summer

Adapting your body to a period of high temperatures will help you endure the practice in the winter.

Keep in mind that it takes time and persistence

If you think you’re going to bathe like this forever, then the reward center in your brain is probably limiting you from getting the energy you need to do this. Instead of this approach, think of taking a cold shower as something you do “just today”, and you will see that this approach will bring you better results.

It’s better if you sweat beforehand

For example, some routine exercise of any kind before taking a cold shower will go a long way. In fact, it’s a recovery technique used by elite athletes to prevent muscle fatigue.

Breathe, take a deep breath

One suggestion is to constantly focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath through the nose and let it out through the mouth. And repeat. If you want to sing, this is the time when you can do it with all your might. And you can also stretch your body in different ways. These are the strategies that will help you incorporate the habit.

Hot Shower Benefits

After a long day at work, you probably dream of rushing home and jumping into a hot shower. Everyone loves sneaking away for a soak in the tub or a long, warm shower. You may not know that every time you take a hot shower, though, you also enjoy a few health benefits. Here are some benefits hot showers can have on our minds, bodies, and skin.

Burn some calories

When you are soaking in a hot bath, you are shedding a few calories while enjoying all the wonderful and relaxing benefits of a warm tub. Hot baths and showers should never be used as a substitute for exercise, though, and you should limit your time in the shower when you use hot water because it can increase your risk of burns or heat stroke.

Keep your skin clear and healthy

Taking a hot bath or shower can help open your pores and flush out toxins that become trapped in your skin throughout the day. Warm water can result in fresher skin that feels more hydrated.

Get better sleep

The muscles in your body may feel tense after a long day, and entering a warm bath or hot shower can help you relax, soothing your body as it soothes your mind. Jumping in the shower a couple of hours before bed can actually help you achieve better sleep. Additionally, getting clean before crawling under the cover will reduce the buildup of germs, dirt, sweat, and body oils that can accumulate on your bedding over time.

Making night-time showers a regular part of your routine can increase your sleep quality and help alleviate stress.

Bottom Line:

In the eternal debate of hot vs. cold showers, the choice ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and health goals. Cold showers offer benefits like increased circulation and potential weight loss, while hot showers can relax your muscles and improve sleep quality. So, whether you’re seeking an invigorating wake-up call or a soothing way to unwind, both options have something to offer. Remember, the key is moderation and finding the temperature that suits your needs best.

The Impact of Sugar on Your Health: How to Reduce Sugar Intake

Most of us think of sugar as the white stuff we add to coffee or the sweet stuff that makes cakes taste so good. But sugar comes in many forms and is often hiding in seemingly healthy foods, too. Sugar is basically

a carbohydrate. As well as the refined, processed sugar you buy for baking, healthy foods like fruit, milk and even some vegetables (corn, potatoes, peas) are also sources of natural sugars. With so much noisy ‘talk’ out there about sugar, we give you the facts.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sugars are a type of carbohydrate.
  • Sugar itself does not contain any essential nutrients — it only provides energy.
  • Foods and drinks may contain a combination of naturally-occurring sugars and added sugars.
  • Overconsumption of sugar can lead to obesity and other health risks.
  • Sugar-sweetened drinks can make it easier to overconsume sugar — because they don’t make you feel ‘full’ or satisfied.

Not all sugars are created equal

Fruit, vegetables, and whole grains are an important part of a healthy diet, so the natural sugars in these foods are not the ones you need to worry about. That’s because whole-natural foods are also a source of valuable vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Also, these foods do not promote tooth decay the way other sugars do. They also take longer to enter your bloodstream, so are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes and sudden slumps that can wreak havoc with your mood, energy levels, and appetite. On the other hand, added sugars (white sugar, honey, syrups, and even fruit juice) are more of a health problem. Known as ‘free sugars’ as they have no cell wall and gush into the bloodstream causing energy spikes and crashes. They also lack nutrients, which is why they’re also called ‘empty kilojoules’. They’re frequently added in concentrated form to packaged foods such as biscuits, so your consumption of them is also multiplied.

Some believe ‘natural’ sugars (rice malt syrup, coconut sugar, agave nectar) are better for you, but the body treats them just the same as refined white sugar. This is why they, too, are classified as ‘free sugars’ and should be limited, in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.


It is important to distinguish between the
sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are a natural part
of a healthy diet, and the sugars that should be avoided. Whole, natural foods
provide essential nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber that contribute to overall
health. On the other hand, added sugars such as white sugar, honey, syrups, and
fruit juices can pose health risks.

How much sugar can we eat?

The government recommends that free sugars – sugars added to food or drinks, and sugars found naturally in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies and purées – should not make up more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink each day.

This means:

  • Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
  • Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
  • Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
  • There’s no guideline limit for children under the age of 4, but it’s recommended they avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and food with sugar added to it.

Free sugars are found in foods such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and some fizzy drinks and juice drinks. These are the sugary foods we should cut down on.

For example, a can of cola can have as much as 9 cubes of sugar – more than the recommended daily limit for adults.

Sugars also occur naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and milk, but we do not need to cut down on these types of sugars.

Be aware that these are included along with free sugars in the “total sugars” figure that you’ll see on food labels.

Find out more about nutrition labels and sugar in my group for help on how to tell the difference.


Understanding the government’s recommendations for sugar consumption can empower your dietary choices. The focus is on “free sugars” – those added to foods or drinks and naturally present in honey, syrups, and unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices.

Tips to cut down on sugars

For a healthy, balanced diet, cut down on food and drinks containing free sugars.

These tips can help you to cut down:

Reducing sugar in drinks Instead of sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash, go for water, lower-fat milk, or sugar-free, diet or no-added-sugar drinks. While the amount of sugar in whole and lower-fat milk is the same, choosing lower-fat milk reduces your saturated fat intake. Even unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies are sugary, so limit the amount you have to no more than 150ml a day. If you prefer fizzy drinks, try diluting no-added-sugar squash with sparkling water.

Reducing sugar in food

  • Rather than spreading high-sugar jam, marmalade, syrup, chocolate spread or honey on your toast, try a lower-fat spread, reduced-sugar jam or fruit spread, sliced banana or lower-fat cream cheese instead.
  • Check nutrition labels to help you pick the foods with less added sugar, or go for the reduced- or lower-sugar version.
  • Try reducing the sugar you use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream.
  • Choose tins of fruit in juice rather than syrup.
  • Choose unsweetened wholegrain breakfast cereals that are not frosted, or coated with chocolate or honey.
  • Choose unsweetened cereal and try adding some fruit for sweetness, which will contribute to your 5 A Day. Sliced bananas, dried fruit and berries are all good options.

Find more ways of cutting sugar out of your diet.

To decrease your sugar intake, adopt smart strategies with confidence. Swap high-sugar spreads with lower-fat options, check nutrition labels for reduced-sugar choices, use less sugar in recipes, choose unsweetened cereals, and add fruits for natural sweetness. You got this!

Nutrition labels and sugars

Look at information on nutrition labels and ingredients lists to help reduce your intake of free sugars.

Nutrition information can be presented in different ways, including on the front and the back of packs.

Labels on the back of packaging

It’s important to look for the “of which sugars” figure on nutrition labels, which is part of the carbohydrate information.

While this does not tell you the amount of free sugars, it’s a useful way of comparing labels and can help you choose foods that are lower in sugar overall.

Look for the “Carbohydrates of which sugars” figure on the nutrition label.

Products are considered to either be high or low in sugar if they fall above or below the following thresholds:

  • high: more than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g
  • low: 5g or less of total sugars per 100g

If the amount of sugars per 100g is between these figures, that’s regarded as a medium level.

The “of which sugars” figure describes the total amount of sugars from all sources – free sugars, plus those from milk, and those present in fruit and vegetables.

For example, plain yoghurt may contain as much as 8g per serving, but none of these are free sugars, as they all come from milk.

The same applies to an individual portion of fruit. An apple might contain around 11g of total sugar, depending on the size of the fruit selected, the variety and the stage of ripeness.

But sugar in fruit is not considered free sugars unless the fruit is juiced or puréed.

This means food containing fruit or milk will be a healthier choice than one containing lots of free sugars, even if the 2 products contain the same total amount of sugar.

You can tell if the food contains lots of added sugars by checking the ingredients list.

Sometimes you’ll see a figure just for “Carbohydrate” and not for “Carbohydrate (of which sugars)”.

The “Carbohydrate” figure will also include starchy carbohydrates, so you cannot use it to work out the sugar content.

In this instance, check the ingredients list to see if the food is high in added sugar.

Use nutrition labels as a guide to cut down on free sugars. Focus on the “Carbohydrates of which sugars” figure to compare products and aim for those with lower sugar content.

Ingredients list

You can get an idea of whether a food is high in free sugars by looking at the ingredients list on the packaging.

Sugars added to foods and drinks must be included in the ingredients list, which always starts with the ingredient that there’s the most of.

This means that if you see sugar near the top of the list, the food is likely to be high in free sugars.

Watch out for other words used to describe the sugars added to food and drinks, such as cane sugar, honey, brown sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate/purées, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, glucose, crystalline sucrose, nectars (such as blossom), maple and agave syrups, dextrose, maltose, molasses and treacle.

Labels on the front of packaging

There are labels containing nutrition information on the front of some food packaging.

This includes labels that use red, amber and green colour coding, and advice on reference intakes (RIs) of some nutrients, which can include sugar.

Labels that include colour coding allow you to see at a glance if the food has a high, medium or low amount of sugars:

  • red = high (more than 22.5g of sugar per 100g or more than 27g per portion)
  • amber = medium (more than 5g but less than or equal to 22.5g of sugar per 100g)
  • green = low (less than or equal to 5g of sugar per 100g)

Some labels on the front of packaging will display the amount of sugar in the food as a percentage of the RI.

RIs are guidelines for the approximate amount of particular nutrients and energy required in a day for a healthy diet.

The reference intake for total sugars is 90g a day, which includes 30g of “free sugars”.

Your weight and sugar

Eating too much sugar can contribute to people having too many calories, which can lead to weight gain.

Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

For a healthy, balanced diet, we should get most of our calories from other kinds of foods, such as starchy foods (wholegrain where possible) and fruits and vegetables, and only eat foods high in free sugars occasionally or not at all.

The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat should come from each of the main food groups in order to have a healthy, balanced diet.

Learn more about how to have a balanced diet.

Tooth decay and sugar

Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay.

To prevent tooth decay, reduce the amount of food and drinks you have that contain free sugars – such as sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals, jams, honey, fruit smoothies and dried fruit – and limit them to mealtimes.

The sugars found naturally in fruit and vegetables are less likely to cause tooth decay, because they’re contained within the structure.

But when fruit and vegetables are juiced or blended into a smoothie, the sugars are released. Once released, these sugars can damage teeth.

Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a maximum of 150ml (a small glass) in total per day, and drink it with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Squashes sweetened with sugar, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and juice drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet.

If you’re looking after children, swap any sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milk or sugar-free drinks.


Vigilance against tooth decay is crucial; minimize consumption of foods and beverages high in free sugars, like sweets, chocolates, and sugary cereals, especially between meals.

Bottom Line:

Understanding the effects of sugar on your well-being is crucial. This guide explores the intricacies of sugar, from its different forms to its impact on health. By distinguishing between natural and added sugars, you can make informed decisions that support better nutrition and overall vitality. Remember to read nutrition labels, choose lower-sugar options, and prioritize whole, nutrient-rich foods. By practicing moderation and consuming a balanced diet, you can protect yourself and those you care for from the potential harms of excessive sugar consumption, promoting a healthier lifestyle.