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Consumer Watch: You could be paying too much for health supplements

Some powders and pills promise to give you the nutritional boost you need, but what works and what's hooey? Not only are supplements not regulated by the FDA, but they are often expensive. Bags for those protein shakes people drink in the mornings or after a workout can range from 20 to 70 bucks per container, so that starts to really wear on your grocery budget.

From shakes, fish oil pills, and vitamins, some people take all of these and more every day for good health and fitness. Nutrition expert Greg Farris with MyoBrain Nutrition tells Fox 25 Consumer Watch there are some supplements people need and other things they just don’t. He gives high quality protein powder the thumbs up.

"I always tell my clients, you can't go grab a steak at 7/11 like you can a grab a banana or some peanuts, so the biggest thing is that it is a convenient way to hit your absolute protein goal," says Farris.

Supplements can be almost anything, like vitamins, whey protein, fish oil pills, and probiotic pills. Too much of certain vitamins, and the body gets rid of it, but that's not how it works with the other stuff. Too much unnecessary protein powder could give you tummy trouble, and result in weight gain. Too much fish oil is more serious.

"The fish oil can actually make your blood too thin, so for a lot of people having too much of that can be problematic," says Farris.

The bottom line is that a person does not need any supplements unless there is some sort of deficiency because you can get all that nutrition with food, but supplements can make getting some of that nutrition much more convenient.

“We don't need to take that, like I said, in a fish oil pill. We can get that from something like fish or convert it from something like flax seed," said Farris.

Places like Oklahoma may not have as much access to certain foods, like other states, so Oklahomans may benefit from fish oil pills if they do not eat much fish.

What about protein? For example, a 200-pound man who is not an athlete needs about 100 grams of protein a day. A piece of meat about the size of the palm of your hand is about 20 grams of protein, so if you are not eating enough meat, then protein shakes can be a good option.

If you do use protein powder, Farris says a good price point is about one dollar per serving. Lower than that, and you may not be getting enough protein, but any higher, and you may just be paying extra for the brand.

The FDA does not regulate supplements, but there are certifications like NSF certified products, that are tested, and deemed to have met standards of an independent certification process.

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