Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Is Dr Oz a Quack?

A couple weeks ago a co-worker mentioned something that I thought sounded odd.  He told me that he'd been taking a green coffee extract to lose weight.  He swore he'd lost several pounds and that something in that extract - which I think he said cost him about a dollar a day -actually melts fat away.  I'd never heard of it before and my skeptical side thought it sounded suspicious. He then told me that he heard about it on the Dr. Oz show.

Now, I had heard of Dr. Mehmet Oz before but I wasn't in the habit of watching his show.  I had seen him on Oprah's show several times (when she had one) and he seemed like a reasonable doctor - an actual physician with all the right credentials. (Ivy league degrees and all) I hadn't ever heard him say anything that seemed off when he was a guest on Oprah.

I looked up the green coffee bean extract and found this article which makes all the claims that my co-worker had stated.  It also listed several other "fat busters" which had also been mentioned on Dr. Oz's show.

This didn't make any sense to me.  We all know that diet and exercise are the keys to losing weight - not fancy pills or special shakes.  What was going on?

I shrugged and forgot about it.  After all, if my co-worker was happy with his diet pills then I couldn't see any harm.  He did mention that he didn't have an appetite for fatty foods when he took the supplement so perhaps his mind was helping him eat healthier and that was having an affect on his waistline. I noticed this article from Shape magazine that seemed to suggest that there was really no evidence that it worked for weight loss but that it probably wasn't dangerous.

Then I caught sight of this article which came right out and suggested that Dr. Oz is a quack.  It mentioned that he has had psychics on his show and wasn't even slightly skeptical of their claims for starters.  This annoys me to no end but I realize that even doctors might believe in "psychic" powers and such.  It also mentioned that he seems to recommend alternative medicines including reiki, holistic medicine and faith healers.  Alright. Now I'm concerned.  Unless the doctor is actually casting a skeptical eye at these alternative treatments he should not be mentioning them on his show.

I continued my research.  I wasn't familiar with Orac who writes for Science Blogs but I did find an article from a scientist who I am familiar with, Phil Plait who is also critical of Dr. Oz.  Phil Plait is an actual scientist and skeptic and I trust his judgement. There was also this critical piece from Dr. Steven Novella who had been a guest on Dr. Oz's show to discuss alternative medicine, this Slate article, and this article from Forbes.

It appears that, no matter what he was in the past and despite his degrees in medicine, Dr Oz has turned his back on science.  He has lost all respect with me.  He seems to have decided that ratings are more important to him than telling the truth or perhaps he simply doesn't care.  That's the only conclusion I can come to.  It's sad, really.  He could have been the voice of reason but instead is muddying the waters. It's practically criminal.

I guess this just proves that if something sounds too good to be true it probably isn't - even when it comes from a supposedly respectable source.  Shame on you, Dr. Oz.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia and found here

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