Dr. Oz is making headlines again for products he’s promoted not passing “scientific muster.” Four months ago, the well-known doctor was skewered in a Senate hearing on false claims made in advertising for weight loss products; in part due to a lack of scientific evidence supporting those claims. Now, a study supporting diet pills containing green coffee bean extract (GCBE) and promoted by Dr. Oz has been retracted.
The study was one our own Mary Hartley, R.D. came out against, and now it seems the study’s lead researchers want to take it all back.
“The sponsors of the study cannot assure the validity of the data so we, Joe Vinson and Bryan Burnham, are retracting the paper,” the scientists posted in a statement online.
Funded by Applied Food Sciences, Inc., the study claimed to find that the main ingredient in green coffee beans could help people lose an average of 18 pounds in 22 weeks without making any lifestyle changes. That’s a bold claim that can no longer be substantiated.
Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped in and filed a complaint against Applied Food Sciences, Inc. According to the complaint, the study’s lead investigator “repeatedly: (1) altered the weights and other key measurements of the subjects; (2) changed the length of the trial; and (3) confused which subjects took either the placebo or GCA at various points during the trial.”
Further, as Hartley pointed out in 2012 shortly after the study came out, Applied Food Sciences, Inc. is a manufacturer of GCBE for resale to the food and beverage industries, creating a major conflict of interest.
Vinson and Burnham decided to retract the study after the FTC made their complaints. “We retracted the paper because of an error in one of [the] data points on the BMI graph and because, as the FTC pointed out to us, there was inadequate disclosure of the blinding procedures for the supplements given the subjects.”
As for Dr. Oz himself, the FTC is not letting him completely off the hook. They state that the doctor played a role in promoting the GCBE diet pills, which surely would have not been as popular without his support.
In response to this latest controversy, the Dr. Oz show posted a statement on its website.
“In prior seasons, we covered Green Coffee Extract and its potential as a useful tool for weight loss. Recently the authors of the peer reviewed research paper on which our coverage had been partially based formally retracted their study. While this sometimes happens in scientific research, it indicates that further study is needed regarding any potential benefits of Green Coffee Extract.”
That’s all fine and good for Dr. Oz to say now, but maybe he should have thought about waiting for more research to be done on GCBE before he promoted it in the first place.