Thursday, June 19, 2014

Should you listen to Dr. Oz?

Dr. Mehmet Oz is in the news again. The celebrity physician - who actually has pretty good credentials - has been sharing on his daily television show miracle diet and weight loss tricks, and best ways to detox your body. I am not a Dr. Oz fan. While I do appreciate that he does discuss topics that most people try to avoid (such as bathroom habits), I've always cringed at his pronouncements for miracle cures, particularly the ones that he claims get you into shape.

There are no miracle cures for weight loss. There are no magic food combinations. There are no special foods or drinks (like the green coffee Oz was touting at one point). There is nothing magic about losing weight. And Oz, as a respected physician, knows that. He also defends himself by saying that he does not promote any particular product or brand and he doesn't allow his name to be used to do so. But why does he mention these things at all?

There have been articles and blog posts in the past that criticized Oz's message, but they were often drowned out by his many fans. And I get that he has fans. He seems pretty down to earth. He's not unpleasant to look at. He explains things in terms that everyone can understand. But what the fans need to know is that this package doesn't mean anything if he's telling you garbage - and his miraculous weight loss ideas are just that.

Finally, someone more influential is speaking up and taking Oz to task for some of his more outrageous claims. He was called to testify in front of Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Commerce subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance. She wanted to know why he said the things he did. And while Oz admitted that he may have gone overboard with his comments, after the hearing, McCaskill said that “it is hard to tell sometimes with Dr. Oz where the doctor begins and ends, and where the entertainer begins and ends,” according to an article in the St. Louis Dispatch.

Are you a fan of Dr. Oz? What about the other medical shows?


Unknown said...

I'm in total agreement with you that there is not one miracle trick to weight loss. BUT I do think I understand why sometime 'miracle cures' work sometimes for some people: They are a very strict, simple set of rules.

'Choosing to be healthy' is a bit too vague for most of us. Having a treat from time to time is fine, so why not have them all the time? Suddenly, the general notion of making healthier choices gets diluted, especially when we see a big slice of chocolate cake. In contrast, the miracle cures are simple: 'Don't eat X' or 'Do Y every day'.

Essentially, strong black and white rules may be needed if we are going to change our habits. But we could probably come up with better rules if we looked inwards at our own health pitfalls instead of outwards to some one-size-fits-all cure. Especially when the real beneficiary of said cure is likely to be the bank account of its proponent and not your body.

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Excellent point Jasia.

bookworm said...

6666666666I agree with Jasia. It is so much easier to swallow a magic pill or eat a miracle food for weight loss than to be mindful of what you eat, keep a food diary, measure or weigh ingredients, and eat just a small slice of that chocolate cake. I know someone who works in a supermarket and he knows when Dr. Oz has mentioned a food - suddenly they are out of stock and everyone is demanding the food. The power Dr. Oz has over his fans is sobering.