Senate Tells Dr. Oz to Stop Pushing Bogus Weight Loss Miracles

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.

Dr. Oz 2

Dr. Oz defends his promotion of weight loss miracles in front of the Senate sub-committee.

“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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Are Dr. Oz’s Weight Loss Tricks For You?

Is anyone else getting tired of Dr. Oz?  His unsolicited ads are now appearing in my Facebook feed daily and there’s always an ad for a weight loss supplement that he’s promoting in the side bar. What exactly is Dr. Oz peddling?

For a physician he seems to push quick fixes that consist of taking a non-FDA approved supplement that has been through little, if any, legitimate testing.  Most – if not all – of them turn out to be pricey gimmicks that people pay money for without any return on their investment.

Then there is this odd disclaimer on his web site that follows all of the articles promoting the miracle cures that says:  “The Dr. Oz Show will not and does not promote any particular brand. If you see any ads or receive any e-mails that claim Dr. Oz is promoting or recommending a specific brand, ignore it and let The Dr. Oz Show know about it.”

The red one is magic.

The red one is the magic weight loss pill.

So just what is he up to?

From raspberry ketone, to green coffee beans, capsicum, and calcium pyruvate, Dr. Oz promotes one unsubstantiated rapid weight loss fix after another. Here’s the low-down on some of the products found on Dr. Oz’s web site:

Raspberry Ketone – Dr. Oz says that it “can help in your weight-loss efforts, especially when paired with regular exercise and a well-balanced diet of healthy and whole foods.”  Really?  If you’re eating a well-balanced diet of healthy and whole foods and exercising, why do you need the raspberry ketone?

According to both the Mayo Clinic and Web MD, insufficient research has been done on humans to conclude that Raspberry Ketone assists in any way with weight loss.

Capsicum – Dr. Oz says that Capsicum stimulates metabolism by activating a chain of events in the body that helps to melt fat and break it down in the body. The article on his web site about Capsicum also says, “After taking the extract, focus on exercises that build lean muscle, which further burns fat, even while resting.”

Is there a pattern emerging here?  With the raspberry ketone if you eat right and exercise you’ll lose weight.  With the Capsicum if you focus on exercises that builds lean muscle mass you will be more efficient at burning fat.  That’s what strength training does!  It increases muscle mass and as a result your body burns more calories throughout the day.

Again, as with Raspberry Ketone, there has not been sufficient research done on Capsicum to support the claims that it is effective as a weight loss aid.

Calcium Pyruvate – Here’s Dr. Oz’s spin on Calcium Pyruvate: “Pyruvate seems to work by increasing your body’s use of fat as an energy source. Normally, your body first breaks down sugar, then protein, and fat is saved until the end. Pyruvate appears to divert fat to be broken down sooner. The result is that the resting metabolic rate is raised, meaning you could feasibly be melting fat while watching TV if you have ingested the right amount of pyruvate.”

Feasibly, I’ve always wanted to melt fat while I’m having a glass of wine watching re-runs of Two and A Half Men so go ahead and sign me up for this one.

Dr. Bill Sukala, Phd Exercise and Sports Science, wrote an excellent and very thorough article, Pyruvate Suppmenets: A Comprehensive Review Of Marketing Claims, on the research that has been done on Calcium Pyruvate.  Sukala says  “the most popular [pyruvate] weight loss claims are supported by limited evidence, and there are many more with no basis in fact whatsoever. Some are downright false and others are deceptive half-truths.”  You can read the full article here.

Saffron Extract – – Dr. Oz gets zuber-excited about saffron extract which he refers to as a ‘miracle appetite suppressant’.  Watch this video of him telling his audience about all of the science behind it.  At around  2.39 minutes into the video he says not once, but twice, that the people in the study were allowed to eat whatever they want and they still lost weight.  He is able to convince the audience that saffron extract is the miracle that everyone has been waiting for.

Green Coffee Beans – From Dr. Oz:  “Various studies have suggested that chlorogenic acid [found in coffee beans] slows absorption of fat from food intake and also activates metabolism of extra fat. Unfortunately, traditional brewed coffee doesn’t serve as a good source of chlorogenic acid. While roasting green coffee beans removes its naturally bitter taste, it also removes a significant portion of chlorogenic acid. Hence, green coffee beans remain one of the best natural sources for chlorogenic acid.

Research on green coffee beans and weight loss is relatively new.  The one study that has been done is considered to be preliminary and results were inconclusive.  Even the study Dr. Oz did himself is questionable.  He divided 100 women into two groups.  One group took the green coffee beans, the other took a placebo.  The women that took the coffee beans lost an average of two pounds.  The placebo group lost one pound.  This study raises so many questions I couldn’t possibly address them all in this article except to ask, why did the women on the placebo lose one pound?

Fact Or Fiction?

How does someone that wants to lose weight sort through all of these products that Dr. Oz is so enthusiastic about?

On his web site Dr. Oz refers to them as diet ‘tricks’ which is the first clue that what you’re going to hear or read about has sketchy – if any – research backing it up.

He also consistently uses phrases like:

  • melts fat
  • activates metabolism
  • increases body’s use of fat
  • burns fat while resting
  • lose weight without diet or exercise
  • miracle

If there were miracle products that would help people lose and keep weight off we would all know about, and have access to, them.  The truth is there is only one way to lose weight.  You have to burn more calories than you consume by eating less and moving more.  The best way to do this is to limit portions, select low-calorie/nutrient-dense foods, get 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and sleep seven to eight hours a night.

We all wish there were an easier way but until a real miracle comes along this is what we have to work with.  That’s why it is so irritating to see this constant dribble from Dr. Oz about one fat melting trick after another.

It’s also disheartening that all of the ‘diet trick’ posts have dozens of comments from people that say they are going to go out and buy the products that Dr. Oz is promoting (but not endorsing) and that haven’t been proven to work.

I’m thinking maybe a Green Coffee Bean Ketone Capsicum Saffron stacker would be a trick. Or, at the very least, tricky.

What’s your take on Dr. Oz’s diet tricks?  Be Social! Share!