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Oct 12

What science says about the fat burners and other gimmicks Oz promoted on his TV show – The Philadelphia Inquirer

Before he was the Republican candidate for Pennsylvanias open U.S. Senate seat, Mehmet Oz was a celebrity heart surgeon with a line of communication into thousands of households.

His popular television program, The Dr. Oz Show, sometimes promoted well-accepted health advice for instance, he once hosted a renowned scientist to debunk the myth that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines alter our DNA.

But other times, he used his platform to offer misleading or downright untrue medical advice.

His past claims about fat-burning supplements and weight-loss miracle drugs have drawn criticism from doctors, patient advocates, and political opponents.

Oz exploited the hopes and fears of his viewers by promoting unproven, ill-advised, and at times potentially dangerous treatments, wrote one such group, Real Doctors Against Oz, in an open letter posted online in August and updated earlier this week. The group of doctors, has been campaigning for Ozs Democratic opponent, John Fetterman.

Rachel Tripp, a spokesperson for Oz, dismissed challenges to his medical expertise.

He has designed devices that have made healthcare more affordable and safer, written eight New York Times best sellers, and hosted the number one health show in the world, which has inspired millions to take charge of their healthcare, Tripp said in an email. John Fetterman is a radical liberal supporting government takeover of healthcare.

Here are some of the claims that have earned the Penn-educated, NY Presbyterian-Columbia Medical Center cardiothoracic surgeon such notoriety:

Oz was among the medical experts to tout hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug pushed by former President Donald Trump as a treatment for COVID-19, despite insufficient evidence. After studies found the drug did not provide any benefit for treating COVID-19, Oz dialed back his endorsement, saying people should wait for more substantial evidence from trials.

A congressional report released in August mentions Ozs advocacy for hydroxychloroquine, and details emails he sent to senior White House officials, including Trumps son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, urging them to push the Food and Drug Administration for studies of the drug in 2020.

Oz also owns shares of the companies that were supplying hydroxychloroquine, CNBC reported in September.

Oz featured several products on his show purported to melt belly fat with little evidence that they work. In 2014, he was hauled into a U.S. Senate panel hearing to address his claims that green coffee extract was a miracle weight-loss supplement.

Companies that made the supplements used their spots on Ozs show to further promote their products.

Oz told senators he promoted such products because he felt his job was to be a cheerleader for the audience.

When they dont think they have hope, when they dont think they can make it happen, I look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them, he said.

A small study in India suggested the extract helped people lose weight quickly, but it was later retracted after a Federal Trade Commission complaint that the green coffee manufacturer Applied Food Sciences had paid researchers to conduct the study and that data had been manipulated.

Companies that advertised green coffees weight-loss benefits based on the flawed study agreed to a $9 million settlement with the FTC to refund 200,000 consumers who had bought the products based on false advertising.

Oz also helped popularize a supplement made from garcinia cambogia, a tropical fruit that resembles a small, yellow pumpkin. The hydroxycitric acid found in the fruits rind is supposed to slow fat buildup and increase serotonin, making people feel less hungry. But studies have not found the extract to have any significant effect on weight loss.

Regardless, Oz promoted the product on his show as a revolutionary fat buster that could help people lose weight without diet or exercise.

Ozs financial disclosures have shown he has ties to some of the supplements he promoted on his show. In a 2015 letter urging Columbia University to rescind Ozs faculty appointment, a group of doctors accused him of an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain. The letter did not offer any evidence that Oz accepted money in exchange for promoting a product, and the television host has said he did not earn a commission from any product featured on his show.

READ MORE: What are supervised injection sites, and why are they an issue in Pennsylvanias U.S. Senate race?

Oz came to Philadelphia in 2017 to film a segment on the citys El Campamento, a former heroin camp along a Conrail-owned strip of land in Kensington. He called the camp the festering epicenter of the heroin crisis, drawing national attention and outrage. Later that summer, Philadelphia officials dismantled the encampment but residents and advocates criticized the clearance, saying the city didnt offer people with addiction adequate treatment or housing options, and contending the clearance contributed to larger, more visible encampments throughout the neighborhood.

Oz returned to Kensington in September, during a campaign stop in Philadelphia. He plucked a needle off the sidewalk, rhetorically asked where the police were and if theyre allowed to do their job, and left with four people from the neighborhood to take them to a treatment center that provides detox services.

See the article here:
What science says about the fat burners and other gimmicks Oz promoted on his TV show - The Philadelphia Inquirer

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