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Mehmet Oz: Doctor Admits His Diet Products Don’t Pass ‘Scientific Muster’

Wed, June 18, 2014 10:25am EDT by 3 Comments
Mehmet Oz Congress Hearing
Courtesy of NBC

So you’re telling me a guy named Oz can’t be trusted? The TV doctor was given quite a scolding by Congress on June 17, as several senators grilled him for pedaling bogus weight loss products and letting the market fill with scam artists. Replay the hearing below!

To anyone who watches daytime television, Dr. Mehmet Oz is the man with all the answers regarding your health, but on June 17 he more or less admitted to just being a TV host with a medical degree. With a multitude of scam artists using Dr. Oz’s name and words to sell bogus diet products, the doctor appeared in front of Congress to answer questions on why he advertises supplements that he knows have no scientific proof of working.

Mehmet Oz Gets Grilled By Congress Over Fake Diet Products

The Federal Trade Commission’s hearing was a followup on their crackdown on fake diet ads in January 2013. The FTC is hoping to disband companies that sell products that don’t even work by promising absurd things like “lose 20 pounds in four weeks.” And in their minds, Dr. Oz is only making their jobs harder for them by extolling miracle weight loss solutions on his show, The Dr. Oz Show.

“When you feature a product on your show it creates what has become known as the ‘Dr. Oz Effect’ — dramatically boosting sales and driving scam artists to pop up overnight using false and deceptive ads to sell questionable products,” Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said. The senator cited Dr. Oz’s praise for green coffee extract in 2012 as an example in which he spoke highly of something without actually disclosing all the scientific facts.

“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true,” Sen. McCaskill said. “While I understand that your message is occasionally focused on basics like healthy eating and exercise, I am concerned that you are melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”

Dr. Oz: I’ve Done A Disservice To My Audience

In response, Dr. Oz admitted that he sometimes uses “flowery” language that can overstate the effectiveness of whatever he’s talking about, but he also claimed that he himself is a victim to scammers who create fake weight loss products using his image. “I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show,” he said, before adding, “I recognize that oftentimes they don’t have the scientific muster to pass as fact… I concede to my colleagues at the FTC that I am making their job more difficult.”

But even after admitting that he advertises products that have no scientific foundation, Dr. Oz said that he thinks the bigger problem is the scam artists who take what he says on his show to make full-blown bogus weight loss products. “You know … the biggest disservice I have done for my audience?” he asked. “It’s that I never told then where to go to buy the products.”

So in the future, do your own research on that diet plan you’re buying, because most of the time Dr. Oz hasn’t endorsed it — and even if he has, that clearly doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to actually work.

WATCH: Dr. Oz Grilled By Congress

— Andrew Gruttadaro

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