The Federal Trade Commission has an issue with the way Dr. Mermet Oz promotes quick fix dietary supplements on his show and they’ve told him he needs to stop.
Dr. Oz is famous for baseless claims that tell people weight loss products like green coffee bean extract and carcinia gambogia is a fast, easy way to lose weight. On his television show and web site, Dr. Oz. promises that people will see dramatic results from using these products. He promises they will melt fat and double – maybe even triple – their weight loss. To date there is no proof that these products have any impact on weight loss.
Recently Dr. Oz was brought in front of the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance Committee to answer questions about his endorsement of these products.
Committee Chairwoman Senator Claire McCaskill asked Dr. Oz why he promotes these products as weight loss ‘miracles’ even though there is no evidence to support these statements. Dr. Oz, in his own defense, said that the feels it is his role to be a cheerleader for the audience when they think they don’t have hope.
“I have things I think work for people. I want them to try them so that they feel better, so that they can do the things we talk about every day on the show [like diet and exercise],” Oz said.
“When I can’t us language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised,” he added.
Weight Loss Gimmicks Do More Harm Than Good
But Paul Fidalgo, a spokesperson for the Center for Inquiry wasn’t buying it. He told the doctor that “too often celebrity gurus lure consumers into wasting their money and pinning their hopes on pseudoscientific concoctions that are at best useless, and at worst dangerous.”
Fidalgo is right. Dr. Oz appears to want what’s best for his audience but he’s doing them a huge disservice by gaining their trust and then convincing them to spend money on gimmicks that don’t work. He’s been running this scam for years and it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to give it up just yet.
McCaskill told Dr. Oz that they had not called him to the hearing so they could “beat up on [him]” but rather to ask him to be part of the solution. Dr. Oz responded that he has toned down his language but doesn’t plan to stop promoting the weight loss products to the public. “I do personally believe in the items that I talk about,” he said.
If It Sounds Too Good To Be True . . . .
The Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center when it comes to weight loss claims there are seven statements that tip you off that if it sounds too good to be true it is:
- Causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise.
- Causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats.
- Causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using product.
- Blocks the absorption of fat or calories to enable consumers to lose substantial weight.
- Safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks.
- Causes substantial weight loss for all users.
- Causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin.
I would add three more to this list. Any product or program that will ‘torch calories’, ‘melt fat’, or ‘guarantee dramatic weight loss’ is a gimmick. These key words equal scam.
It’s impossible to second guess what Dr. Oz’s intentions are. He may have his audience at heart. He may get a kick-back from the products that sell as a result of his show and web site. He might just want to be a cheerleader for people that are struggling to lose weight.
But it’s good that the Senate committee and FTC have reined him in so that people who are wondering if they should buy a Dr. Oz’s miracle now know the answer to that question is a definite No!
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