Top 4 ways Dr. Oz has hurt his fans

What’s the real cost of Dr. Oz’s antics?


Dr. Mehmet Oz, much to his surprise,  was put on hot seat this week  by  Senator Claire McCaskill in a hearing before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance.  The senate panel has been investigating fraudulent activity by the  billion dollar  bogus weight loss supplement industry  and Dr. Oz, it seems, believed that he was there to testify as an expert. Instead he was grilled for his part in being a major perpetrator  in misleading the public on his syndicated TV talk show.

Dollar values may  indeed factor into the senate investigation, but  a major issue is the cost to the confidence of those who are overweight or obese and who have followed Dr. Oz’s advice. Chances are it’s not the first time they’ve been at this dance. They’ve  likely attempted to shed extra weight before.  The diet rollercoaster has accommodated too many passengers.

But this time was supposed to be different. Dr. Oz, a reputable cardiac surgeon, told them in his most sincere voice that he had  “the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.” And they believed him. They believed him yet again when he unveiled another supplement  that was “a metabolism game-changer.”  Then there was the “miracle appetite suppressant”.

They’ve also likely experienced the elation of quick weight loss and  the despair following the regaining of the pounds.

He  has stolen their belief that they could eat well and lose weight.

Here’s what I had to say on the subject on CTV News.

Dr. Oz  has certainly done a huge disservice to those who followed his advice.  Here are the top 4 ways Dr. Oz has harmed the very people who have supported him by buying into his hype about weight loss.

•    They believe they are failures and can never achieve a healthy weight.
All too often when a person attempts to lose weight and does not achieve their goal, they believe that they have failed. “Everyone else did it so why can’t I do this” is a common sentiment  – no matter that it was the regime or diet that was dooming them to failure, not their efforts.

•    Quick weight loss regimes lead to muscle loss and a decreased metabolic rate or calorie burning capacity.
While most of these supplements offer no benefit in losing weight, they frequently are accompanied by instructions on what to eat. And you can bet it’s a pretty strict or low calorie routine that leads to quick weight loss. During this time, lean body mass or muscle is usually lost which leaves the dieter with a slow metabolic rate which makes weight gain very easy indeed.

The regained weight is usually fat which leaves the dieter with more fat than before the dieting began.

•     The change in metabolic rates due to muscle  loss leaves you tired and less likely to be active or exercise.
Taking part in regular exercise is key for anyone –   overweight or thin- for promoting good health. If you’re tired, what are the chances you’re going to take part in regular exercise?

•    Rigid routines can lead to obsession with food.
While the weight loss efforts may have been abandoned, the body’s response to starvation doesn’t disappear that quickly. Cravings for foods  forbidden on the quick weight loss diet can last and not only lead to weight gain but also increase the risk of developing eating disorders and binge eating behaviours.

Are you a Dr. Oz fan or are you a naysayer? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Categories: Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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4 Comments on “Top 4 ways Dr. Oz has hurt his fans”

  1. Madeleine Mitchell (RD from 1973 to 2008)
    June 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    As a retired RD, I was absolutely thrilled to see you on the CTV news this afternoon, talking about Dr Oz. I have been retired a while and have seen him go from Oprah’s show to his own show – often with confusing and expensive suggestions that lack scientific evidence. I often turn him off in frustration! Thank you for “ranting”!

  2. June 19, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    Thanks for your feedback, Madeleine! It’s great to get this from a fellow RD. I also get very frustrated watching his show. Dr. Oz has an obligation to bring forth science and not science fiction. When you do both, you are taking advantage of your position.

  3. Linda
    June 20, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    I cannot believe all of the weight loss strategies that are on his show. If all he states is fiction, why is he allowed to continue???

  4. June 20, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Unfortunately it’s all about free speech and ratings. If you have an audience, you can do what you like. Dr. Oz has credibility due to his being a cardiac surgeon who talks about science in a consumer friendly way. Sad.

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