Millions of Americans tune into Dr. Oz every week in an effort to learn more about the latest health and wellness trends. With a following like that, it's no surprise that anything he says can literally "make or break" a product overnight. The "Dr. Oz effect," which is similar to the “Oprah effect," creates enormous trends in the industry, and if he says that green coffee bean extract is the latest effective fat burner, there's no doubt that dozens of companies will pop up overnight selling a green coffee bean extract supplement. But is Dr. Oz really worth listening to? We investigate some of the claims he has made, as well as his credentials in an effort to weed out the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
Who The Heck Is Dr. Oz?
In case you've been living under a rock for the last 8 years, Dr. Oz (full name Mehmet Oz) is a TV personality that hosts a show called you guessed it — The Dr. Oz Show. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, and obtained his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1986, as well as an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Prior to hosting his own show, he appeared as a health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for five seasons. He also has authored hundreds of research papers, books, and peer reviewed articles in medical journals, and is the co-founder of Sharecare Inc., which is an interactive Q&A platform that allows industry experts to answer health related questions.
"Miracle Cures" He Has Raved About:
Anyone who has watched the show for any length of time knows that Dr. Oz touts a number of different all natural extracts and plants that are the latest "cure" for a wide range of conditions. The list goes on and on. For weight loss, he has touted such natural extracts like acai berry, goji berry, green coffee extract, and garcinia cambogia. For anti-aging, he promotes a wide variety of "cures" like Vitamin B3 cream, Bearberry extract and lipowheat capsules. He talks about these in many of his on-air segments, and many of them sound quite intriguing. I mean, who wouldn't want to take a pill and lose weight or look younger overnight?
So Should You Believe Him?
Dr. Oz has come under a lot of pressure from lawmakers and politicians lately. They accuse him of making false and unsubstantiated claims about supplements and extracts, which in turn is fueling bogus marketers using his name to promote a wide variety of all natural supplements. But the problem isn't with Dr. OZ; the problem is with the people taking advantage of his name to promote the things he raves about. Case in point, there are numerous "flogs" (fake blogs) and supposed news reports that use his likeness to promote a wide variety of extracts he praises. They use lines like "As Seen On Dr. Oz!" and quotes like "Number one miracle in a bottle to burn fat, as mentioned by Dr. Oz." Rob Miller, founder of the popular supplement review blog SupplementCritique.com, explains, "Dr. Oz knows his stuff, but when he mentions how effective something is at helping with weight loss, the scammers are listening." In turn, entire industries literally pop up overnight selling anything he preaches, often as a free trial.
So do the supplements he mentions on his show really work? Well, the answer is yes and no. Despite numerous claims made by him about the effectiveness of an extract on weight loss, it's still universally known that the best way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. The use of supplements is meant as just that, something you can supplement along with a healthy lifestyle to help "jumpstart" your weight loss goals. Taking a supplement like Raspberry Ketone, which is frequently mentioned by Dr. Oz on his show, will not magically help you lose weight while you can continue eating cheeseburgers and pizza. However, Raspberry Ketone has been shown in some research to help boost metabolism, which in theory should help you lose weight. As far as the claims that it alone will help you lose weight, it's still unsubstantiated.
Despite the most recent allegations from lawmakers that Dr. Oz is intentionally perpetuating these scams, there is no doubt in my mind that he will stop promoting them. On the flip side, he has created something called "OzWatch," which is a platform designed to allow people to submit possible scams and marketing claims using his name. This type of social responsibility is a good step, in my opinion, to help him protect his credibility. But, just like many other scams out there, usually when one disappears, another one will pop up to take its place. Until you "hear it from the horse's mouth," I would suggest you take anything that you see with Dr. Oz's name plastered on it with a grain of salt.
More about how to be happy with yourself on YourTango: