Chuck Robinson, Media Watch
Chuck Robinson, Media Watch

Writers at started off the new year writing a prescription for Dr. Oz.

Cut out the quackery.

Mehmet Oz, star of “The Dr. Oz Show” syndicated TV program, was catching flack for touting “the newest, fastest fat burner” that was a “breakthrough,” “magic,” a “holy grail,” and “revolutionary.”

He forgot to add “bogus.”

Oz was promoting Garcinia cambogia extract, or hydroxycitric acid, found in fruits, including mangosteen. What Slate writers pointed out was that it was not new and it did not work.

A 1998 trial of 135 people showed the extract did no better than a placebo to encourage weight and fat loss.

More recently a group of researchers made a systematic review of 12 trials involving 706 participants. The result: still no evidence garcinia extract affects body weight.

The Slate article lists other products promoted as medical miracles on “The Dr. Oz Show” based on faulty or disproven evidence: fat-burning green bean coffee products, zinc to reduce hunger, raspberry ketones to burn fat, milk thistle as a hangover cure, two baby aspirin nightly to prevent heart attacks, and consuming high-calorie almonds, yogurt and olives to lose weight.

It was just in early October that Oz flummoxed produce industry leaders with a comment that eating conventionally grown food is taking a chance with children’s health.

A joint statement from the Alliance for Food and Farming, Western Growers, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association objected to the comment. Oz needs to be telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables, not scare them off from it.

Sound advice

I agree with the writers of the article. Their suggestions:

“Research involving humans is typically more relevant than animal models; prospective, randomized, controlled trials are usually better than retrospective, observational analyses; large studies are better than small studies; multisite studies are better than single-site; and systematic syntheses of all the available evidence are more informative than individual studies presented out of context.”

Despite Oz’s credentials (he’s a professor with degrees from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania and vice chairman of surgery at Columbia University), he seems more committed to sensational claims instead of solid advice.

So it is a little alarming to check our files for the past year and see Dr. Oz mentioned in marketing for black garlic (In The Packer’s July 30 story, we are told it makes people look younger), mushrooms (July 30 issue, because vitamin D makes your fat melt away) and chia seeds (Jan. 9 issue, it helps regulate blood sugar levels).

Stay away from this charlatan. Any bump you get from a mention on “The Dr. Oz Show” lumps your product in with his other snake oil claims and leaves you open to ridicule.

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