Health Hacks – How to Save Money on Health Care Costs
What are health hacks? They are tricks or lifestyle changes that can save you money on your health care costs.
You may recall from our last health care costs post: a study done by Fidelity finds that American couples will need about $285,000 saved to cover health care costs in retirement. Moreover, that is an estimate in today’s dollars, and it doesn’t include long-term care costs.
So, if there are health hacks or lifestyle changes that would save you thousands of dollars in the future, would you do them?
I hope so. Let’s start with the Number One Money Saving Health Hack:
#1 Health Hack: Cut out sugar from your diet
This isn’t a joke, and it is not something to take lightly. Cutting out or significantly reducing sugar from your diet will save you thousands of dollars, and there are studies to prove it.
How Much Sugar are You Eating? You may be surprised.
Maybe you think you do not eat that much sugar, but I want you to take a closer look here. Sugar hides in our modern foods all the time. If you eat out a lot or eat a lot of processed foods (including breads and snacks), then you are probably eating more sugar than you think.
The majority of Americans are eating too much sugar. Our sugar-laden Standard American Diet (SAD) is the number one reason why our health care costs are rising so rapidly.
In addition, it is the number one reason that you might have to take a lot of drugs in retirement.
Don’t believe me? Read on.
Here are a few sugar science facts from UCSF that should scare the pants off of you:
- Added sugar is in 74% of our packaged foods.
- Scientific evidence shows too much added sugar, over time, is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, non alcoholic fatty liver disease, lipid problems, and hypertension; all of which are part of what is called Metabolic Syndrome.
- Evidence is also mounting that high levels of sugar consumption can fuel some cancers and is linked to inflammation, dementia or Alzheimer’s and more rapid aging.
- 31% of American adults and 13% of kids suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
- 75% of health care costs are from metabolic syndrome diseases. – This is not just about overweight people. 20% of obese people have a healthy metabolism, and 40% of skinny people actually have the metabolic diseases caused by sugar consumption. That means 60% of the entire US population is suffering from metabolic diseases.
This is your health hacks wake-up call.
If you eat a “normal” American diet, even if you are skinny, sugar is secretly creating havoc in your brain and body.
If you don’t want to ever have to take blood pressure medicine, heart medicine, acid reducers, pain medications, or suffer from brain problems, one of the best health hacks you can do is stop eating sugar.
Harvard Medical School will tell you, sugar is linked to cardiovascular disease. Read that linked article!
Dr Jason Fung, in his book the Obesity Code will also tell you, sugar leads to diabetes, which leads to kidney failure.
Yes, Dr. Fung will also tell you, even more good can be done when you stop eating processed foods (especially refined carbs) all together and eat as many vegetables and whole foods as you can.
However, eliminating sugar from your diet is the first step.
How this Health Hack Saves You Money
According to The Diabetes Journal:
- “Abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol, and hypertension… are important predictors of long-term costs in the Medicare population.”
- These researchers found a +20% difference in Medicare costs in people with the disease factors named above.
- Drug costs for chronic illnesses quickly add up for metabolic diseases, and retirees pay a lot of out of pocket costs each year with their Part D coverage.
However, don’t despair, some or even much of the damage is reversible.
Doctors have been known to help their patients with eating changes that eventually change their drug regimens meaningfully. Inflammation can reduce quickly, and weight loss is often a happy benefit.
Health Hacks Action Steps
Let’s do something about this today. Cutting out or significantly reducing sugar is the #1 lifestyle change to save money on health care in retirement. Here is where to start today:
- First, if you are inspired by books, start with this reading list to get you motivated and develop a plan.
- Second, decide to do a Sugar Detox. We have a free 10 day detox plan you can follow.
Check back as we add more health hacks to our list in 2020!