Dr. Oz may be “America’s Doctor,” according to Oprah, but he’s not my doctor. If my heart were breaking down and truly needed saving, I might look him up and try to be one of the 200 cardiothoracic surgeries he personally performs every year. However, I don’t know that I’d follow any other medical advice he was prescribing.
Calling him a sell-out may sound harsh, but that’s how I’m starting to feel. His TV show is wildly popular, and puts health front and center in this country like never before. He has prime real estate to give Americans sound medical advice that could actually change their lives. Instead, he fills his airwaves with diet pill jokes like raspberry ketones, forskolin, and two-day wonder cleanses. How is any of this helpful?
Our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD, spoke out after Dr. Oz’s raspberry ketone episode aired. “And so, did Dr. Oz lead us astray on the raspberry ketone claim? He did if you believe he has a medical obligation to the viewer. Call me jaded, but I believe Dr. Oz’s only obligation is to his network.”
I believe he is medically obligated to the viewer, and I also agree that his obligation has been prioritized to the media.
This week, PEOPLE called him the Healthiest Man Alive, and the good doctor appears on the cover alongside Matthew McConaughey’s wedding photo. Under a photo of “Summer’s Hottest Bodies” appears the headline “Bonus: Dr. Oz’s 2-Day Diet.”
I just have to ask why?
Why is he putting his name on that. Diets don’t work, especially any that last 48 hours. And in a country where the population is starved for information they can use to shed the hundreds of pounds that millions of our citizens need to lose, this is just setting them up for failure and disappointment.
Flip inside and there are four meals that followers of Dr. Oz’s now re-named Two-Day Cleanse (“Diet” is great for a cover buzz word) will eat for the next 48 hours.
There’s nothing fancy in here. There’s no special juice or concoction or blend you’ll have to spend tons of money on. In fact, if you’re eating well anyway, you probably already have most of these ingredients.
A mid-day snack is the Dr. Oz Detox Drink, which he says you can drink throughout the day. Using a juicer or blender, you’ll use collard and turnip greens, broccoli, pineapple, lime, fennel, cucumber, and mint.
At lunch, you’ll have a smoothie. In seconds you can whip up rice milk, walnuts, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, banana, and ice for your liquid meal.
And finally, dinner is a hearty vegetable soup. This batch will serve your entire family or save well for tomorrow’s dinner or lunches later in the week. Artichokes, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, miso paste, fennel, garlic, cumin and a number of other ingredients simmer for about an hour before serving.
Here’s the issue – why does this have to be framed as a diet?
“My ultimate detox plan is designed to be completed over a weekend,” says Dr. Oz in the article. He says you’ll be rejuvenated inside and out, and doesn’t want anyone eating after 7 p.m. (way to disseminate another diet myth, Doc). As well, he doesn’t want anyone feeling hungry, which is why you can have as much of his detox drink as you want.
There’s yet to be a diet worth doing that lasted two days. Why can’t Dr. Oz just say “these are some incredibly healthy foods that will do a number of good things for your body and you should eat them regularly”? That would do more for the readers of PEOPLE than flashing one more overnight diet in front of them.
“You should eat those highly nutritious foods – or other highly nutritious foods if those aren’t preferred – for two days and then continue to eat them every day because, over the course of a lifetime, two days won’t make a difference,” Mary told us after reviewing the plan. “And if Oz’s diet doesn’t meet your calorie requirements, then you’d better eat more because under-eating causes the body to breakdown its muscles and organs to provide fuel and the by-products are natural toxins.”
Why isn’t the story and Dr. Oz’s focus on the page before the detox plan, the page that highlights his 15 foods for healthier living? That’s a story! People will see that they can (and should) have nuts, dark chocolate, steel-cut oatmeal, and legumes (like black beans). They’d also see that things like fresh juice, eggs, herbs, and wheat germ deserve permanent residence in their refrigerator.
“He’s now the model for healthy living,” is how the PEOPLE article opens. He is to a point, but anyone who can go on national TV and promote a diet pill that will send people clamoring for it minutes later isn’t a model. He’s a salesman. I want him to sell health, I want him to sell fitness, but I want him to do it in a way that his legions of followers can feel good about buying.
“It makes sense to be wary of products that promise a quick fix and dramatic results, regardless of the credentials of the person who said it,” said Mary the last time she called out Dr. Oz.
People should be eating millet and enjoying juices of fresh vegetables and fruit, and having hearty bowls of vegetable soup for lunch or dinner as part of their regular eating plan. The next time Dr. Oz catches the attention of every weight-conscious woman cruising through the checkout line, I hope he uses his air time to simply tell people why eating this way is so darn good for them. We’d rather see that instead of wrapping his advice in a package that self-destructs 48 hours later leaving one more person questioning why they can’t ever lose the weight.
June 18th, 2012