Are you taking too many pills? You could have pill fatigue. To combat the problem, you can replace your vitamins with functional foods or gummies. Both trends have become more popular as pill fatigue increases. But are these trends really the best way to fight the problem?

Pill Fatigue Is Real

Here’s a number you might find hard to swallow: Adults over 45 take an average of four pills a day. Pill fatigue sufferers constantly search for ways to reduce the amount of medicine they take each day, which typically involves no longer taking some of their daily meds.

Cutting back on prescription medications should not happen without a doctor’s approval. But vitamins are optional and easy to substitute. Replacing traditional horse-pill-sized vitamins with gummies or food is a much more palatable option for those with pill fatigue.

Gummy Vitamins

If you suffer from pill fatigue, but aren’t ready to give up your daily supplements, you may consider gummy vitamins. These chewables may look like something for kids, but these are part of a growing list of supplements for adults. In fact, global sales of gummy vitamins amounted to $2.68 billion in 2016. This amount could nearly double by 2025.

Many adults who exchange their vitamin pills for gummies prefer the texture and flavor. Gummy vitamins feel like eating a candy instead of taking a pill. In fact, the supplement maker Perrigo teamed up with candy maker Ferrara to create adult multivitamins that taste like the candy company’s Trolli Sour Brite Crawlers. Though tasty and healthy, these vitamins have downsides.

Compared to standard vitamins, gummies cost more and contain lower amounts of nutrients. To create the gummy texture, manufacturers must add extra ingredients, mostly sugar or corn syrup. These give the vitamins their taste, but take away space available in the supplement for higher doses of vitamins. The extra sugar also makes these dangerous to children. Kids can poison themselves from eating too many candy-like vitamins.

Gummy vitamins may solve one part of pill fatigue. But these vitamins have enough drawbacks to convince many to shelve supplements in favor of food.

Functional Foods

If you want to skip vitamins altogether and just eat healthier foods, you have innumerable options for functional foods. This market accounted for $159 billion in sales worldwide in 2016. Functional foods and drinks offer specific health benefits beyond the standard nutritional value of food. To make foods healthier, manufacturers often fortify the foods with vitamins, fiber, protein or minerals.

Part of the allure of functional foods comes from consumers’ ability to choose foods to help their personal health. In some cases, the buyers of these foods don’t have to significantly change their diets to get the health benefits they desire, due to the substantial number of snack foods and desserts that are considered functional. Functional food candy and gum sales totaled $2.4 billion in 2016.

Makers of functional foods typically add nutrients to make them healthier. But this fortification takes these foods further from their natural origins. In a backlash against unnatural fortification, naturally healthy foods drive the health-foods market. Considered “naturally functional,” foods in this category lead the health food trend. You likely know these as less processed, or “whole,” foods.

Being healthy does not require you to take multiple pills. There are alternatives to getting the vitamins and minerals you need. You could choose to jump on the gummy vitamins bandwagon or eschew vitamins in all forms of functional foods. Regardless of how you get your nutrients, doing so without taking more pills is possible. You don’t have to live with pill fatigue anymore.

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