Who is the most powerful doctor in the world?
It’s not CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It’s not the Surgeon General. Or even The President’s personal doctor.
The most powerful doctor in the world is merely an entertainer. His name is Dr. Mehmet Oz.
On his nationally syndicated daytime talk show, Dr. Oz reaches millions. Most of his viewers want quick fixes to big problems.
Fortunately, Dr. Oz has the answer!
But here’s the problem:
Dr. Oz is in show business.
So that means, Dr. Oz doesn’t do much “doctery” stuff anymore. He sells hope to his viewers through magic pills and miracles.
Now, to be fair, I completely understand using good looks to seduce, entertain and grow an audience under the pretense of health and wellness advice. Welcome to Life is NOYOKE! 😉
And that’s why we’re gonna keep this post positive. We will discuss several things I learned from Dr. Oz.
But first, you gotta know why Dr. Oz, on the surface, is a despicable human being who is harming the overall health and well-being of his viewers and the rest of society.
From Doctor to Snake Oil Salesman
This section will serve as a quick background to Dr. Oz. We’ll discuss how he got to where he is today, and quite frankly, why he sucks so much.
Things began quite well for Dr. Mehmet Oz. He went to Harvard for undergrad and studied medicine at Penn. In 2001, he became a professor at the Department of Surgery at Columbia.
So he’s no dummy.
After doing a several guest segments on Oprah’s daytime talk show, he was offered his own show: The Dr. Oz Show. He took the gig proving, yet again, he is no dummy.
But once Dr. Oz left the operating room lights for glamorous studio lights, something else stayed behind: Science. You know, that cute little thing Dr. Oz spent ten years studying.
Here’s are a few lowlights from Dr. Oz’s career as a TV personality. Remember scientific muster is not required for talk shows (and, as we’ll see later, is not required for the supplement industry either).
Green coffee extract: Dr. Oz is quoted on his show as saying, “This little bean, as scientists say, may be the magic weight loss cure for every body type.” Yet, the scientists cited recently retracted their research paper. Why? Because they had to pay $3.5 million to settle an FTC complaint that “the study was so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it.” Oops.
Raspberry keotene: Dr. Oz called this, “The number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat.” Yet, there are no clinical trials proving its efficacy in humans. Basically, same story as above. Ugh.
Senate hearing on consumer protection: In 2014, Dr. Oz testified about the weight loss supplement industry. Senators criticized him for propagating weight loss scams (like the ones listed above). So that sucked.
To be fair, not ALL of the stuff Dr. Oz touts on his show is scientifically baseless. In a recent article, 50% of the things on his show are not backed by science.
So, that means, the other half must be worthwhile info!
But exposing Dr. Oz as a bullshitter doesn’t do anyone any good. Nor will despising his dashing good looks, incredible influence, and massive material success.
He may be a jerk, but Dr. Oz is here to stay.
So why not seek some benefit? What can we learn?
Here are 12 things worth learning from Dr. Oz.
1. Doctors Don’t Do Nutrition
Generally, doctors are not good sources for nutritional advice. You’d think they would be because hey, they’re medical doctors.
But, actually, they’re not.
Of their ten years in training, doctors spend but a few hours studying nutrition. The rest of their training is spent fixing health problems — problems that may not exist if not for poor nutrition.
Naturally, people want nutrition advice from someone they trust. Without a doubt, though, you could find a blogger who’s much more qualified on nutrition than your doctor (and certainly more than Dr. Oz).
2. Dr. Oz Doesn’t Endorse
Dr. Oz testified to Congress that he doesn’t have relationships with products. He is not paid to endorse.
Believe him or not, his testimony benefits you. Here’s how:
Supplement companies use Dr. Oz’s face or name to sell their products. Without his permission, which apparently nobody has, that’s illegal.
Therefore, do not buy any product with Dr. Oz’s name or likeness on it. That is, unless you want to buy from a liar.
3. Weight Loss Scams Are Easy to Spot
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), among other things, battles fraud. One out of every ten fraud complaints filed is against a weight loss scam.
(Yes, defrauding the desperately overweight is sadly popular and lucrative.)
You see, scammers are like cockroaches. You can kill one, but they never go away or stop reproducing.
So, in an effort to help consumers, the FTC created this “Gut Check” list. It’s seven phrases that almost always indicate that a weight loss product is a scam.
Note: You can easily find clips of Dr. Oz using several of these on his TV show. I’ve quoted two above.
Here are the seven phrases for your reference:
FTC Gut Check — 7 Claims to Indicating Fraud in Weight Loss Ads
- 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 the 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.
Reading this list makes me realize how prevalent claims are in ads. Geez.
4. Supplements are Scary
The supplement business is huge. Like 35 billion dollars huge.
But that’s not what makes supplements scary. Here’s what does:
Supplements are unregulated.
That’s right, people. You do not need approval from the FDA to sell a supplement.
Even crazier, the FDA is actually not allowed to study a supplement product until there have been reports of the supplements making people sick.
Their unregulated state is no coincidence. Lobbyists are paid millions of dollars to keep them unregulated.
And if their unregulated distribution doesn’t scare you, get this: One-third of supplements carry no trace of the plant advertised on the bottle.
To quote John Oliver, “If one in three milk bottles didn’t contain milk, you might think twice about pouring the white, mystery liquid all over your cereal.” Here’s the clip.
5. Supplements are Shady
Supplements are defined loosely. But generally, they denote envelope-pushing and borderline amorality.
Even the sketchiest people disassociate with supplements. Dr. Oz was adamant about several things when he was questioned by congress. This one stuck with me.
“I don’t sell supplements.”
It was like asking a prisoner if he has ever hurt a woman or child. Sure, they have done some bad stuff, but even the bad guys have some things they won’t do.
6. Being a Victim is no Defense
During the congressional meeting, Dr. Oz was chastised for claiming to be a victim. In his mind, he’s a victim of people profiting from his likeness without getting permission.
While there’s some validity to this, it’s mostly bullshit. And, claiming to be a victim is no excuse for being in his situation in the first place.
Here’s the point. Don’t claim to be a victim.
Sure, your genes might have a bit to do with the trouble you’re in. But, for the most part, it’s all your fault.
Sorry. It is.
You are where you are because of what you do and don’t do. Eating sugar-added and processed food products and not exercising notwithstanding is a good example.
If you took ownership of your actions, you wouldn’t need to feel like such a victim. And nobody would need to pretend they feel sorry for you.
7. Green Smoothies Should be Great
I tried to make Dr. Oz’s Green Smoothie. Here’s a picture of the published recipe as of today.
(I specify today in case it gets changed after this is published. I hope it does)
During a visit to Vitamix headquarters in Cleveland, OH, we got to sample this drink.
Here’s was my reaction:
Maybe it was a fluke, so I decided to make it for myself at home.
And after making it, my feelings have only strengthened. The Dr. Oz Green Smoothie is absurd. It:
- Tastes like crap.
- Takes forever to prep / make.
- Is outrageously expensive to produce and wasteful once you do.
And the worst part about it? I looks NOTHING like the picture on his website.
Alas, here is a video of the time I made it for my neighbor’s kids.
(It’s one of my favorite videos I’ve ever published. Don’t watch it if you like to smile.)
So how does the Dr. Oz Green Smoothie help us?
I have a theory. If you’re not into conspiracy theories, now’s the time to jump to the next section below.
Here’s my Dr. Oz Green Smoothie conspiracy theory:
Assumption 1: Dr. Oz needs viewers. His viewers watch because they need help.
Assumption 2: Normally, a once-per-day smoothie regimen would be a good way to get your health back on track. And if you’re on track, chances are you don’t need to tune into Dr. Oz’s show anymore.
So if Dr. Oz wants to keep his viewers, why would he show them a smoothie that could change their life? They’d stop watching his show.
My theory is summarized as follows.
Dr. Oz touts a horrible-tasting, difficult-to-make, expensive-to-buy green smoothie knowing it will fail his viewers leaving them with no choice but to continue watching his daytime talk show that is jam-packed with other, easier miracle cures.
Takeaway for you: Green smoothies or any smoothie, for that matter, can be great. Just be sure you have a good recipe.
8. Weight Loss is Big Business
Okay, I knew this. And, so did you.
At current count, 1/3 of Americans are technically obese and 70% are overweight.
Sure, we could point fingers at who (or what) is to blame for the obesity epidemic in America.
(It’s our food. Okay, I pointed a finger.)
But all the blame aside, there’s a lot of money to be made helping people fix this problem. Not the food problem, but the result of it: Being overweight.
Now, as a former CPA, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Businesses don’t want to go out of business. They want to live forever.
How do you stay in business forever? Well, I write a lot about that on Uncle Leo’s Blog (shameful plug). But basically, you want to add customers and keep them buying forever.
What does that mean? Weight loss businesses, with the rare exception of some great coaches, don’t want you to lose all of the weight. (See previous theory with Dr. Oz and his absurd green smoothie recipe.)
This goes for:
- Weight Watchers.
- Jenny Craig.
- Food products listing weight loss benefits.
Bottom line: Businesses who help people lose weight usually don’t want their customers to lose weight. They want to keep making money.
9. There’s Only So Much You Need to Know
In fact, Dr. Oz sheepishly admits this simple fact during his congressional hearing in here at 1:17:30. When asked what works for most people, he says,
But you can’t have a daily talk show saying that every day. So he has to talk about other stuff.
Surprisingly, however, Dr. Oz’s new diet plan is actually pretty good.
The premise is simple. Though, not surprisingly, it’s quite similar to the Life is NOYOKE diet.
- Water with lemon.
- Smoothie in the morning.
- Lots of healthy protein.
- Lots of vegetables.
- Healthy snacks (nuts and fruit).
- No dairy, wheat, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods or alcohol.
- Coffee is okay.
The only problem with his new plan? The name.
He calls it “The Total 10 Rapid Wight-Loss Plan.”
The name makes it seem fast. And easy.
If you think the basic formula for weight loss is easy to follow, you’re kidding yourself. That, or you’re a dedicated viewer of Dr. Oz’s show.
10. Dr. Oz viewers Are Like You and Me
Search Dr. Oz on Google and you’ll see wonderful things in the related search area.
These things tell us a lot about ourselves.
We like Vitamins. Quick fix pills.
We have digestive issues. Yes, poop problems. (Could it be the food products we’re consuming?)
We do 3-day cleanses. Another quick fix.
Not to mention, Google delivered 49 million search results.
Not a profound takeaway here. But I found this slightly enlightening and a bit entertaining.
11. Seek Small Steps in the Right Direction
Dr. Oz has many snake oil products that, as admitted in Congress, serve this purpose: Momentum.
Helping viewers get momentum is probably the smartest, most well-intended, genuine thing Dr. Oz does. He aims to help people get started.
Baby steps. Glimmers of hope.
I call these high-fiveables.
Dr. Oz says this is his intention when he uses “flowery language” and touts miracle cures on his shows. He says these products could be the spark that lights people’s fire.
Honest or not, he’s correct.
You gotta get small, easy wins when you’re trying to make big changes.
While I call them high-fiveables, he calls them green coffee extract.
12. There’s Always a Silver Lining
I’ve been thinking about this Dr. Oz post for two years. How do I create an inspiring blog post about a guy with whom I so passionately disagree?
Well, I think I squeezed some positive, motivating takeaways, yeah?
I think so.
Moral of the story?
Stay patient, people. Good things are tough to find and achieve. The easy ones are usually not so great.
Why Your Doctor Might Not Be the Best Nutritional Resource http://vitals.lifehacker.com/why-your-doctor-might-not-be-the-best-nutritional-resou-1686688922
Gut Check: A Reference Guide for Media on Spotting False Weight Loss Claims http://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/gut-check-reference-guide-media-spotting-false-weight-loss
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements (HBO) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA0wKeokWUU
Green Coffee Bean Extract – Dr. Oz Show http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1963fq_green-coffee-bean-extract-the-oz-show_people
Raspberry ketone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_ketone
Hearings. Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=c1698871-3625-4f67-b0e5-a06d3bab6ca1&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=02096e14-bdcc-424b-842c-d6809f3f69c9
Half of Dr. Oz’s Medical Advice is Baseless or Wrong, Study Says http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/12/19/half-of-dr-ozs-medical-advice-is-baseless-or-wrong-study-says/
Dr. Oz is Still Full of Shit. http://gizmodo.com/breaking-dr-oz-is-still-full-of-shit-1681865968
Dr. Oz Reveals “Total 10” Diet Plan with no Need for Exercise http://www.etonline.com/news/156369_dr_oz_says_no_need_for_exercise_with_total_10_diet_plan/
Dr. Oz Green Coffee Bean Study Retracted http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2014/10/20/green-coffee-bean-dr-oz-study-retracted.html
If you liked this post, you will like these:
Egg White Smoothies: The daily smoothie that will change your life.
High Fiveables: A free and non-snake oil fire starter for your big goals.
Calories: Why you don’t need to count ’em.
Vitamix 101: The solution for getting whole foods into your diet.
Toast is Toast: How to stop eating bread and get a six pack