Dr. Oz: Scam Artist

You Forgot Your BullshitYou may have heard that the US Senate called Dr. Oz to Capital Hill for a spanking, because he has made it a habit to sell snake oil under the guise of being a medical professional.

“Thanks to brand new scientific research, I can tell you about a revolutionary fat buster, It’s called Garcinia cambogia.” ‎he said in front of a huge screen with the words “No Exercise. No Diet. No Effort” written on it.

The chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, Sen. Claire McCaskill, said  “The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles’, I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true..”

Dr. Oz responded “My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don’t think they have hope, when they don’t think they can make it happen, I want to look, and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them.”

Kind of makes me wonder what else he’s willing to lie about so that he can put being a cheerleader for what people want over being a competent medical professional promoting evidence-based medicine. Also, let’s be clear that he’s not willing to look everywhere, even if it’s literally right in front of his face.

A few years ago Dr. Glenn Gaesser successfully campaigned to get on Dr. Oz’s show to talk about how wrong Dr. Oz is about weight and health.  I did a video discussing the fact that Dr. Oz, who makes millions of dollars selling weight loss in one form or another, was “flabbergasted” to find out that there is research that disagrees with his medical opinion  cheerleading.

If he was really going to “look everywhere” he would look into the studies that find that habits are a much better predictor of future health than body size (knowing of course that health isn’t an obligation, a barometer of worthiness, guaranteed regardless habits, or entirely within our control.)  But where’s the profit in that?   He is a scam artist and he can’t be trusted -the sooner everyone realizes this the sooner he goes off the air and we can replace him with a show that has more integrity, like Real World Bachelor Jackass Millionaires (with 10 points to readers who get the song reference.)

Oh Mehmet, can I call you Mehmet?,  you’re an embarrassment to your profession and a danger to your listeners, how about you just shut it down and go on home now.

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Published in: on June 19, 2014 at 7:46 am  Comments (47)  

47 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I guess that the fact that I gave up watching such drivel decades ago has insulated me from knowing what this guy has done. The last TV I owned was several years ago & then only because I had free cable & I did enjoy the occasional television show. Like Monk. Now that was entertainment.

    I simply do not understand why millions of people fall for these scams & scam artists every single day. I’ve yet to see a scam that wasn’t obviously a scam. Education of the masses is what is needed here, in my less than humble opinion. Because the masses are no longer taught to, nor encouraged to, think.

    This is why I subscribe to blogs like yours. I wish that I could take a few days off from my life & just sit here & read every single article you’ve written. And I share them also, but most of the people on my friends list on FB are thinking people also. So it’s pretty much like preaching to the choir, right?

    • I think that people fall for this type of rubbish because they desperately want to believe it. I think people know in their bones that weight loss is hard to achieve and maintains whether they blame their regimes (unusual, so many people sign up for fat fighters clubs again and again) or blame themselves for not sticking to the regime. They know it’s hard but they desperately want to believe weight loss is possible, and so they are susceptible to the rubbish that oz and others spout.

    • I’m with you. I haven’t had cable for years. I feel that the price isn’t worth it for all the shit that’s on tv. I do own a tv, but I only use it for video games and the occasional movie🙂

  2. The basic psychology of this is – yes, people want to believe that they can NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THEIR HABITS, take a pill and lose weight. Garcinia cambogia? Green Coffee? What else is there that will make you *thin with no effort*? As you say, Regan – habits are a much better predictor of health than body size. I’m disappointed in Dr. Oz because he has the power to talk to people and perhaps start to reverse the stigma of ‘fat’.

  3. Oh sure, there are plenty of pills you can take that will change your body size, folks! If I take any Sulfa drugs, I swell up like a balloon, and then I die because I can’t breathe. If I take Speed, wow, do I ever get thin. Right before my heart explodes out of my chest in a rather ghastly mess.

    I hope this is the beginning of Dr Oz (and others of his ilk) being called up on the carpet for their bullshit, buck-turning claims. I have a few FB friends who are talking about this, saying, “Oh, poor man…he just wants to help…I find him so inspiring…I hope this doesn’t reverse all the good work he’s done…” and I can think is, “You’ve drunk the Kool Aid.”

    This is the same guy who believes in faith healing and communication with the dead. And who has received over 600 cease and desist letters, according to Wiki. Yeah…thanks but no thanks. He’s reaping the crooked crop he’s sown.

    • My mom’s side of the family is all allergic to Sulfa drugs, but found out the hard way.

      I didn’t know that Oz had received so many letters, and he’s still going?!?!

  4. And his followers are so vehement! A few years ago, I was doing freelance transcription between jobs, and I transcribed a focus group meeting talking about some kind of health product. One gal quoted Dr. Oz, and another laughed. The first gal got really pushy about Oz in a way that sounded kinda creepy.

  5. These “TV entertainment doctors” are to medicine what the WWE is to sports. Actually, that isn’t fair; the “E” in WWE stands for “entertainment,” so everyone knows what they are getting when they tune in, namely, sports ENTERTAINMENT.

    I find it unconscionable of celebrity doctors (or any doctors, for that matter) to hard-sell baloney remedies under the guise of medical treatment.

    • Maybe a more apt comparison is Wipe-Out is a sport. I don’t know of any other “sport” that uses slippery slidy cushions and moving targets. It’s fun to watch though.

  6. Embarrassment to his profession. Yes. Very much so. Along with all the other doctors who see getting into bed with the weight loss industry as an opportunity to make a quick buck.

  7. Of course people like having a cheerleader who tells them their dreams can come true with the pop of a pill or a sip of a drink. And when it comes on top of mountains of societal shaming over something you almost certainly cannot change about yourself, despite decades of failed efforts, millions will grasp at that straw for all they’re worth and then some.

    Dr. Oz and his ilk ooze out of the cracks in the sidewalk because of all the other lies we are told day after day after day after day. He can get away with it because every day – nay, every hour of every day! – Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and Special K and Slimfast and all the others are allowed to tell us we didn’t magically become thin, healthy, successful, and Playboy Centerfolds all because we didn’t believe hard enough in fairies.

    Well if belief and effort was all it took, Tinkerbell would live forfreakingever on the backs of the people reading this blog. We’ve all at some point internalized the shame and desperately tried to live the lie.

    But it doesn’t work. The emperor is running around in his invisible skivvies, and Tinkerbell is dead because belief isn’t an antidote for poison.

    Dr. Oz and all the other cheerleaders are trying to cure something that isn’t a disease using methods that amount to clapping and saying “I do believe in fairies.”

    Well I don’t believe in fairies. I do believe in empirical evidence, mountains of data that say body size is nearly impossible for most people to change in the longterm, and I believe in me. I believe in my body which functions just fine, thank you very much. I believe that if it doesn’t function just fine, then any medical efforts to fix that should be based on treating my symptoms and issues rather than the size of my body.

    I don’t need a fucking cheerleader.

    I really don’t need a cheerleader who lies to me and then blames me when his ‘simple’ answers don’t work.

    Dr. Oz? Witness these here fine middle fingers of mine. Please, at your earliest convenience, pick one and take a good long twirl.

    • Twistie, I adore you.

    • Twistie, that was epic… I was going to say a lot of what you said, but you said it better.

    • Comments like yours are why I wish WordPress allowed people to like comments. Signed off on everything you just said.

    • All the Props to Twistie for this epic, awesome take-down of “Dr.” Oz and all the other expert body police.

    • This… is epic! I don’t know you, but damn I wish you were my IRL friend. lol If I had friends like you, I think getting through every day in our fat phobic diet culture would be infinitely easier!

  8. He says things he knows aren’t true for the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks: that’s where the money is.

    His medical license should be revoked.

  9. I just watched this on the news yesterday and thought it was about damn time for that sanctimonious piece of shit to finally have to answer for it.

  10. Can we please leave personal political beliefs out of this blog, unless for some reason it’s on topic? This is about Dr. Oz, not your dislike of the president.

    • Uhhhh… whut? Did I miss something?

  11. I am so glad he if finally being outed for the snake oil salesman he is. I used to get so mad that my mother would watch his show and start telling me about raspberry ketones and then I’d have to argue with her that he is just trying to sell her some bullshit. My mother is a very smart woman, and it pisses me off that anyone would be taken in by his lies.

    • That’s a new one (the raspberries).

  12. I have begged my mother to STOP watching this guy! (and Fox News lol) ONE time I took this guys advice and found out the hard way that he doesn’t tell you everything, etc. Sadly it cost me money I could ill afford to lose as well as effecting my health negatively.

  13. This is why people like him, “Dr” Phil, etc need to be put out of business permanently. they spew crap that can/does seriously harm people. I hate that people take these “doctors” seriously. I really do, I really want to take them and shake them and yell, “No! They are only in it for the money!”

    The worst is a friend’s mom who is always like “Well I saw/heard on Dr Oz that X and Y = Z. And because he is a doctor it has to be true!”

    • I’m in that same situation, except it’s not a friend’s mom, but my own mom who quotes Dr. Oz as if having “doctor” in front of his name makes him right. I wish I was able to articulate why he’s wrong on fat and weight loss, though.

      • My parents do as well but I tune them out. They know my views they don’t respect them but they know them and they know better then try the “he is a doctor” line on me.

        I normally say to my friend’s mom “So if ‘Dr’ Oz said to jump off a cliff, would you?” The normal response is always no then I say “Then don’t believe everything you hear and see because media does have a nasty habit of lying for profit.”

    • Once I questioned my mother’s decision to have a radical hysterectomy, and she told me to shut up, that I was wrong and that she knew I was wrong because I was fat. Propelled me right into therapy, that did.

    • Yes, doctors are always right. That’s why I still have flashbacks and nightmares to the events that took place between ages 11 and 16, and will deal with consequences for the rest of my life. Yes. Doctors are always right.

  14. What is awful is that he made his living and reputation in evidence-based medicine. To become a cardiothoracic surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian means he is no slouch.

    And he threw it all away to sell his soul to Oprah Winfrey and her Cult of Woo.

    In his eyes, it’s OK that companies play games with people’s health and well-being while ripping them off. It’s OK that he and those companies offer false hope, thus adding to people’s yo-yo dieting habit and self-shaming when the product fails, because it’s better than fat people deciding to choose healthy habits over chasing the weight-loss dragon.

    And now his cheerleaders in woo — “Natural News” leading the way — are taking their epic butthurt out on Sen. McCaskill and trying to smear her.

    • Yes, he was a licensed surgeon in an authentic medical specialty, but his hatred of fat & his desire to make a quick buck have totally overwhelmed whatever professional ethics he ever had. He has been quoted as saying that he knows that being fat is unhealthy because every fat patient he had had heart disease. Does he not HEAR how utterly ludicrous & illogical this is?!! He is a cardiologist. Every thin patient he ever had also had heart disease/defects.

  15. Hi Ragen,
    i want to be clear. Are you saying that Dr. Oz’s featuring alternative supplements is wrong because they are not prescription medicine, or because these particular items don’t work as promised?
    I have used supplements to get excellent results with my various medical conditions. I don’t use supplements to diet, because I don’t diet. I’m diabetic, so (for me) eating mainly low carb (I allow myself treats whenever I want them) has enabled me to control my diabetes. As a result, I’ve also lost about a third of my body weight and kept it off for 16 years.
    For me, supplements are an evidence-based form of holistic treatment. My doctor pays close attention to my research and the supplements I use. My most recent accomplishment is to reverse moderate kidney disease when traditional medicine had nothing to offer me.
    I don’t want people to turn against supplements entirely just because Dr. Oz was a jerk about some of them.

    • I can’t speak for Ragen, but I can say that for me this isn’t at all an issue of alternative medicine (though I like facts, and supplements often have little more than anecdotal evidence to support they work). This is about him knowing damn well these things don’t work, by his own admission, and still promoting them to an already exploited and vulnerable group.

      It’s about being a “cheerleader” vs. being a “doctor.” Presumably, the alternative medical professionals you saw actually BELIEVE in what they prescribed to you, and weren’t just saying “well, this is unlikely to work and we know it, but RAH RAH RAH let’s cheer you on in this futile effort,” which is what Oz is doing by promoting these products with his “flowery” language (“flowery” was his word for it, btw).

      • many times all you get is anecdotal evidence because no one will fund research on something they cannot make money off of. Jess sayin’.

        • That’s why we’ve got the FDA, though.

          Oh, wait. No. No, it’s not.

          (The FDA needs to fed up and take some responsibility, yo.)

          • Apparently, the FDA tried to expand it’s ability to regulate supplements in the early 90’s, but there was major pushback. There were ads starring Mel Gibson where a SWAT team raids his house to take his vitamins, and he tells the audience, “If you don’t want to lose your vitamins, make the FDA stop. Call the U.S. Senate and tell them that you want to take your vitamins in peace.” Watch this from 5:00: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU&feature=youtube_gdata_player (Sorry this is so late, I just saw that clip a couple of nights ago and wanted to post something but forgot until this morning)

            • Well. That’s not terrifying or anything.

              Goddamn, but it’s tempting to market an arsenic and mercury cocktail, mixed with jimsonweed and the 5′-tall horseradish plant in my garden (I have no idea how big the root is), just to prove exactly how dangerous supplements can be. Ugh. Mel Gibson needs to go sit on the pointy part of a pitchfork.

              I’m, uh, a little particular on this issue, btw. And too many people are stupid.

    • I’m cool with people doing whatever they want with their bodies including supplements, including the supplements that Dr. Oz is hawking. I’m against a medical professional (and anyone else who is discussing anyone other than themselves), suggesting that supplements can help you lose weight. I’m against it in the same way I’m against the suggestion that anyone knows how to achieve long-term weight loss for more than a tiny fraction of people because there isn’t a single study where more than a tiny fraction of people have succeeded at long term weight loss regardless of intervention.

      ~Ragen

    • I use supplements myself, and I’m the first to say that if you need them, take them. I have no appetite due to the medications I take, congenital issues with digestion, multiple serious health problems, and so on. I take various vitamins and minerals (gummies are the best), some EFA’s, and occasionally things like melatonin if my trusted medical recommends them. Sometimes, they’re the only way I can tolerate a reasonable dose of micronutrients for days at a time, and if I don’t take very high dose multi-B in addition to a regular multivitamin, I get to experience the wonder of my skin trying to fall off. Again. (The picture the neonatal unit took when I was 24 hours old was pretty gnarly. Y’know how most newborns have a few little dry skin curls? I looked like I’d been on a wood shop floor, and that was just the beginning.)

      The difference with Dr. Oz is that he recommends things willy-nilly, with no regard for evidence-based medicine, and says they’re magic bullets. Sadly, the first season or two of his show, there was pretty reasonable content. You know, how to identify a stroke, what to do if someone loses consciousness, how excessive long-term drinking affects the liver, stuff with strong evidence behind it, useful information. Then it went to his head, and he decided he was going to the Fat People’s Messiah. It’s the same shit, different day. He touted health, yet the actual fact behind what he said was that it was worth dying to be thin. That’s why they called him up, and that’s why Ragen posted about it.

      Supplements have been around since some point in the prehistoric era. Supplements are going to stick around. At worst, this’ll blow over and nothing more will happen. At best, it’ll kick the FDA in the ass and finally get them to regulate supplements and alternative treatments like they should have been doing for years.

  16. Well, Dr. Oz at this point is only playing a doctor on TV. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised by what had happened at all.

    What I don’t understand is why he’d make that comment about being a cheerleader for his audience, an audience that includes people who tune in to his show for health advice, and instead they’re getting total garbage. But that’s why I don’t watch his show, since every other episode of his is about how fat is deadly and selling a new diet regimen or miracle herb or whatever. It’s frustrating to try to tell people that just because he has “Doctor” in front of his name it doesn’t mean that his advice is in any way medically sound.

  17. It’s all okay now, though, Ragen. Dr. Oz is going to create a “master list” of products/brands that he feels actually work!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/17/dr-oz-congress_n_5504209.html?utm_hp_ref=media&ir=Media

    *Insert eyeroll here*

    I did enjoy seeing Congress bitch slap him. It’s nice to see them do something I approve of for once.

    • Gah, linked the wrong article. This is the one where they mention how he’s been asked to create a master list. He claims he’s never supported a specific brand/product before, but instead used generalizations because of concerns over how “ethical” it would be to do that as a medical professional. Yeah, sure. That’s what it was. It wasn’t at all fears of being sued or called out by the FTC.

      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/dr-oz-scolded-hearing-weight-loss-scams-24177834

  18. Next on Dr. Oz: Avoid dying of cancer with a simple craniumectomy!

  19. This is an interesting article about Dr. Oz’s descent into the alternative med/entertainment industries:

    http://m.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/02/04/130204fa_fact_specter?currentPage=all

    At one point, he actually was a respected surgeon and even published in medical journals.

  20. Mehmet Oz: “The Doctor of Oz” … When will he finally be heard to say, “Oh, no, my dear; I’m really a very good man, but I’m a very bad Wizard, uhmmm… Doctor … I must admit.”

  21. Well, “Dr.” Strangelove is a doctor, and Garcinia cambogia sure sounds like Carcinia cambodia. (The Latin root for Cambodia is cambog-, and we get Cambodge in French. Plus C and G are essentially the same letter.) What exactly is this stuff????

  22. Nothing delighted me more during the rather awful time I had this past week than finding out about Dr. Oz’s comeuppance. I simply can’t stand him. I despise how he self appointed himself Chief Medical Officer For Planet Earth, and that’s just for starters. Now, if only the same thing would happen to every single person involved with The Biggest Loser except for the contestants. I would so enjoy again cackling with delight.

  23. kinda’ makes you wonder why Oprah got taken to Court by the beef peop


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