Sounding off on Dr. Oz

license public domain

I remember watching Dr. Oz on Oprah.  I was excited that he was given a forum on to increase awareness about disease and promote a healthy lifestyle.  It wasn’t long until he got his own show! It was ground breaking.  Would people actually watch it?  Would he run out of content?  Years later I would say that my concerns back then were valid.  Learning about diabetes and what goes on in the body when blood sugar is uncontrolled is not super exciting, riveting television.  He jazzed it up with super cool, creative ways to illustrate his point and oftentimes involved audience members in demonstrations.

Then something changed.  Granted I didn’t watch his show daily, but when I did catch it I noticed something disturbing.  He started making claims, especially about weight loss products that shocked me.  As a Registered Dietitian, we are taught to evaluate research and decipher bogus research from valid research.  As he touted green coffee bean extract and claimed “it’s the magic weight loss cure” I knew there was not research to prove this.  He continued with raspberry ketones calling them “a miracle in a bottle to burn your fat” and garcina cambogia “a simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat.”  I lost all respect for him as a health professional.  It appeared that he was chasing ratings, money or both.  I was disappointed that he would give air time to products that were not scientifically proven to be effective.

On June 17, 2014 Dr. Oz appeared at a Senate panel hearing to offer expert testimony about bogus medical supplements and get-thin-quick schemes.  To his surprise it was him that appeared to be on the hot seat. Senator Claire McCaskill stated that by airing segments on weight loss products that are later cited in advertisements, Oz plays a role, intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams, and that she is “concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”

Just because someone has MD behind their name doesn’t mean you should take what they say as fact.  I think most people know that there is no miracle pill or product that will cause weight loss.  It’s about eating less and moving more.  Not to say some of these things can’t work in the short term.  But who wants to lose 10 lbs only to gain it back within two months?  Rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.