I was once on the Dr. Oz show.
It had just started out after being begat from Oprah, and after hours of providing material to Dr. Oz producers about supermarket food safety, I got the call – be in New York City, Studio 6A where Conan used to shoot, we want you on the show.
On Monday, Oct. 19, 2009, Amy, Sorenne and I (I don’t like to travel without my family, that aging thing) drove from the Little Apple of Manhattan (Kansas) to Kansas City and then flew to the Big Apple of Manhattan (New York).
We got picked up by a big car and stayed at a nice hotel in Gotham.
The next morning, Amy, Sorenne and I ventured off to 30 Rock – Rockefeller Center – for the taping. My friend Roy Costa was also there, and they gave us a dressing room with muffins and water.
It soon became apparent that 10-month-old Sorenne was not going to be comfortable waiting around for the excess of television – lots of waiting around for a couple of minutes of screen time – so Amy and Sorenne went back to the hotel.
Roy got to share the stage with Dr. Oz because of his experience as an inspector and he did a great job bobbing and weaving, trying to keep the show on track. I got to be the expert in the audience with a couple of pithy statements.
But what bothered me about the experience was the producer’s insistence on story over credibility, and that’s ultimately why they flew me to New York, just to sit in the audience.
Dr. Oz’s credibility took a hit this week,
Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” faced grilling by senators on Capitol Hill about the promotion of weight loss products on his show.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, led the panel that on Tuesday looked at false advertising for weight loss products. Subcommittee members took issue with assertions that Oz has made on his show about products that don’t have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up, such as green coffee beans.
“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles,’ ” said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. She said she was discouraged by the “false hope” his rhetoric gives viewers and questioned his role “intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams.”
“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? … With power comes a great deal of responsibility.”
The Federal Trade Commission is in charge of protecting consumers from “unfair or deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety concerns.” In May, the FTC sued the sellers of Green Coffee Beans for deceiving consumers through fake news sites and invented health claims.
The commission said that weeks after “The Dr. Oz Show” promoted the benefits of Pure Green Coffee, some companies that marketed the product used video from his show to increase sales.
The scientific evidence supporting green coffee bean extract as a weight loss supplement is weak.
“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.”
A 1998 study of 135 participants found Garcinia cambogia did not significantly help people lose weight any more than a placebo. But a 2013 meta-analysis of Garcinia cambogia studies hedged on the supplement’s ineffectiveness, saying its weight loss benefits “remain to be proven in larger-scale and longer-term clinical trials.” Whether it helps people lose weight or not, the Garcinia cambogia does not seem to be unsafe to use, some other studies say.
Oz testified Tuesday that he could not be held responsible for what certain companies say online about the products. He said he’s toned down some of his language and will publish a list of products he thinks really can help people lose weight.
“To not have the conversation about supplements at all however would be a disservice to the viewer,” Oz said in a prepared statement after 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.”
Most food recalls include statements by PR flunkies “out of an abundance of caution” regardless if people are sick or dying.
Nice company, Oz.
You’d go well with Jill Welch, a wellness coach whose health and nutrition services can be found at TheKitchenGoddess.com and proclaims, “Personally I don’t want to eat anything that’s been sprayed with fertilizers, chemicals and pesticides. That’s really hard for our body to process.”
Anyone who is a wellness coach and self-proclaimed goddess of the kitchen is not a reliable source.
“Once you’ve gone natural, it’s really hard to go back,” said Welch. “You don’t enjoy those artificial flavors at all.
Work on credibility rather than celebrity. Probably doesn’t pay as much, but counts a lot more in the end.