Diet

Go Figure: Dr. Oz's Sky-High Ratings Don't Always Mean Good Medicine

The good doctor wasn't in Kansas any more as he was taken to task over promoting several suspicious weight loss products

"I look forward to working with all those present today in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams."
He's the friendly, accomplished, approachable GP we all wish we had our annual checkups with. A guy who's as comfortable talking about heart problems as he is the shape of your latest bowel movement and who, let's face it, is kinda dreamy on top of it all. But yesterday Dr. Mehmet Oz, despite his many charms, was being taken to task by the U.S. Senate.

Oz, the head of the cardiovascular institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital, was on the Hill to respond to accusations that he deliberately misleads the American viewing public by shilling for rather dubious weight-loss products and ingredients on his nationally syndicated television program.

The Federal Trade Commission is trying their darndest to crack down on bogus weight loss claims made by any and everyone because, they say, consumers spent $2.4 billion on weight loss services and products last year.

As his defense, Oprah's affable pal tried to explain it all away, saying, "My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience when they don't think they have hope and they don't think they can make it happen. It jump-starts you. It gives you the confidence to keep going."

Guess what? Those stiff old suits weren't buying it. "The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you call miracles," Claire McCaskill, Democratic Senator of Missouri and the chairwoman of the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, told Oz.

"When you call a product a miracle, and it's something you can buy and it's something that gives people false hope, I just don't understand why you need to go there," she said.

READ: 11 Ways to Lose a Few Pounds Without Really Trying

McCaskill's committee has a bee in its bonnet over Oz's support of "Super Green Coffee Beans" and, as CNN reports, there's more. "In addition to green coffee beans, McCaskill called out Garcinia cambogia as another weight loss product Oz has promoted. 'Thanks to brand new scientific research, I can tell you about a revolutionary fat buster,' Oz said on his show in November 2012 with the words 'No Exercise. No Diet. No Effort' on the screen behind him. 'It's called Garcinia cambogia.'"

Those types of claims, that "flowery language" as Oz himself calls it, are what have landed the good doctor in some steamy waters -- not that he thinks he's done anything wrong.

"To not have the conversation about supplements at all however would be a disservice to the viewer," Oz said in a prepared statement following the hearing. "In addition to exercising an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future, I look forward to working with all those present today in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams."

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