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4 Health Myths That Are Costing You Money

Your health is an invaluable asset that you can’t afford to neglect. How well you take care of yourself has a significant impact on your quality of life and it can also affect your finances. If you’re in good health, you generally won’t have to spend as much on medical care and you may get a better deal on insurance. If you’re not in great shape, you may face more costly medical issues as you age. Maintaining good health requires time and effort but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a look at these budget-busting health myths that could be costing you money.

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Gluten-Free Foods Can Help You Lose Weight

Take a walk through your local grocery store and you’ll likely find an entire aisle devoted to gluten-free foods. This latest diet trend has gained popularity in recent years, largely thanks to the growing number of celebrities who tout the benefits of a gluten-free diet as a weight loss aid. Millions of Americans are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, to the tune of around $4 billion a year but is it really worth it?

4 Health Myths That Are Costing You Money

To date, there’s no hard evidence that links a gluten-free diet to weight loss or to any other specific health benefits, unless you belong to the 1 percent of the population that suffers from celiac disease. Despite the fact that gluten-free foods cost an average of 242 percent more than their regular counterparts, it’s expected that the market for these products will continue to grow. Shelling out the extra money is a no-brainer if you have a gluten sensitivity but not if you’re just looking for a quick weight loss solution.

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You Need to Take a Multivitamin to Stay Healthy

The vitamin craze began in the 1970s but it’s picked up speed over the last decade or so. Ideally, eating a balanced diet should guarantee that you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need but it hasn’t slowed the growth of the vitamin and supplement industry. Billions of dollars are spent on vitamins each year but it’s misleading to think of them as a magic pill for better health.

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A number of studies have attempted to link vitamin use to a decreased risk for major diseases, including cancer and heart disease but some of the research has indicated that the reverse may be true. Before you fork over your hard-earned dough to start a daily vitamin regimen, consider making some adjustments to your diet first to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need.

Name-Brand Prescription Drugs Are Better Than Generic

4 Health Myths That Are Costing You Money

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans spent $259 billion on prescription drugs in 2010 and that figure is expected to double over the next decade. With prescription drug costs on the rise, more companies are producing generic versions of brand-name drugs. Despite the fact that generic drugs can be anywhere from 80 to 85 percent cheaper, millions of Americans still prefer to pay more for brand-name medications but are they really better?

In terms of FDA approval, generic drugs are subject to the same standards as other brand-name drugs. They have to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form and method of administration and the manufacturer has to prove that their version works the same way as the name-brand. According to the FDA, research has shown that generic versions are just as effective as brand-name drugs. If you’re looking to shave a few extra bucks off your bottom line, switching to generic medications could equal big savings. Talking to your doctor can help you decide whether going generic is right for you.

You Have to Go to the Gym to Get a Good Workout

Americans spend billions of dollars each year on gym memberships in the hopes of perfecting their physique. Spending $40 or $50 a month doesn’t seem like much but if you don’t actually go to the gym regularly you’re throwing away hundreds of dollars a year. Factor in the cost of gas driving to and from the gym, money spent on workout gear and sessions with a personal trainer and you’re spending even more.

Unless you’re training to become a professional bodybuilder, there are plenty of ways to exercise at home that won’t break the bank. Jogging, walking, bicycling, yoga, Pilates and bodyweight routines are all great options and the only thing you need to invest is your time and energy.

Takeaway

Health fads come and go but you need to be able to separate fact from fiction when it comes to taking care of yourself. Knowing what diet and exercise trends to avoid can ensure that you and your bottom line stay healthy.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/mbbirdy, ©iStock.com/chameleonseye, ©iStock.com/

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake has been writing about the nuts and bolts of personal finance for nearly a decade. She is an expert in investing, retirement and home buying topics. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Business Insider, CBS News, U.S. News & World Report and Investopedia. As a homeschooling mom of two, she's always looking for ways to make the most of every dollar.
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