Dr. Oz testifies
As a followup to my post on “Food Babe” Vani Hari’s quackery, media quack Dr. Oz was called up before Congress to explain how he could in good conscience promote 16 miracle fat loss solutions, none of which work. Consumerist excerpts:
Oprah’s favorite alternative medicine mouthpiece Dr. Oz got little love during Tuesday’s Senate subcommittee hearing on the misleading marketing of diet products, with the TV personality admitting that his use of terms like “miracle” for unproven treatments had provided fodder to scammers out to make a quick buck off people desperate to shed pounds. Last night, the Doc went on Facebook to give his fans his perspective on the issue.
“For years I felt that because I did not sell any products that I could be enthusiastic in my coverage,” wrote Doc Oz, who was chastised — most notably by Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill — for shows where he called certain weight-loss products “the number one miracle in a bottle” or “the magic weight-loss solution for every body type,” in spite of little to no peer-reviewed scientific evidence to back up such claims.
“I believe the research surrounding the products I cover has value,” writes Oz, without naming any particular studies. “I took part in the hearing because I am accountable for my role in the proliferation of these scams and I recognize that my enthusiastic language has made the problem worse at times.”
As he stated during the hearing, Dr. Oz defended his choice to air programs about these unproven products by saying that the discussion is going to happen anyway so it should happen on his show. “To not have the conversation about supplements at all, however, would be a disservice to the viewer,” he explains. “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 yesterday in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams.”
A good chunk of the population wants to be believe there are easy solutions to medical problems being kept from them by evil drug and food companies. The primary solution to fat gain issues — cutting back on carbs — doesn’t require purchase of a magic substance and so can’t be marketed as profitably. Having been partially protected by the FDA from some quack medical claims, the population is far less skeptical than it should be. “How could they say that if it wasn’t true?” — quite profitably, it turns out.
Althouse blog comments on this, noting Senator McCaskill’s statement “I know you feel that you’re a victim… If you would be more careful, maybe you wouldn’t be victimized as frequently,” which conflicts with “don’t you dare assign any responsibility to the victim!” arguments about female victims.
Other posts on pseudoscientific quacks:
Vandana Shiva: Quack
Cleanses and Detox Diets: Quackery
Mike Adams: Quack Suggests Murdering Monsanto-supporting Scientists
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Quack
Vani Hari, “Food Babe” and Quack: Where the Money Comes From
Vani Hari: “Food Babe” and Quack