Many of us will never live to see a true miracle. Dr. Oz apparently found six this year alone!
Dr. Oz had another banner year on his talk show as he brought the latest and greatest health news to our living rooms each afternoon. The only rub is that some of us are questioning the good doctor and what he’s calling healthy advice these days. It seems Dr. Oz may have become more of a talk show host than a well-intentioned physician. This year, especially, the show constantly doled out miracle diet advice. While weight loss is at the top of our health concerns, it seemed the doctor derailed from prescribing trustworthy weight loss guidance to endorsements for every fad that would ultimately yield no life change, just money spent and potential side-effects.
These are the miracle diet cures (his words, not ours) that Dr. Oz unleashed on us this year. It might be more accurate to call them scams.
These little supplements were touted as a revolutionary metabolism booster and the compounds, typically used as food flavorings, have been purposed for weight loss supplements in Japan. Dr. Oz endorsed raspberry ketones as an effective weight loss tool as well. The theory behind the ketones is that that they alter lipid metabolism, claims found from a study in mice. The mouse with the high fat diet and the supplement gained less body fat than expected. Raspberry ketones have not yet been tested on humans.
Furthermore, it’s reasonable to question a supplement that is intended to boost your metabolism, as raspberry ketones will interfere with the normal function of the thyroid, as our Dr. Sarah G. Khan explained.
Despite little to no evidence of effectiveness, Dr. Oz created a huge boom for the raspberry ketone industry in early 2012.
Green Coffee Bean Extract (GCBE)
Even I got sucked in by this one! The news seemed so convincing and all the extra hype generated by Dr. Oz made the miracle news of this supplement pop up in every newscast.
Dr. Oz called the GCBE the “miracle pill to burn fat.” The convincing study showed that men and women lost 17 pounds in 22 weeks by doing nothing different, just taking the extract. The GCBE extract is highly concentrated in chlorogenic acid, which is believed to expedite weight loss. And if the raw stats were completely true, maybe we would have had a miracle on our hands. However, even though the talk show doctor endorsed the products, he failed to give us the details of the study. Essentially, there were many holes in this poorly conducted research, as pointed out by our own Mary Hartley, RD, and the weight loss results were reflective of the initial results of the first few weeks on any new diet.
Yet another miracle debunked.
It’s been more than 13 years since the FDA approved a weight loss drug. So, it was pretty groundbreaking and newsworthy when Qnexa was in the FDA approval process this summer (approved as Qsymia in June). Dr. Oz called it the “silver bullet” weight loss pill, as it claimed to suppress appetite and boost weight loss. While those components seem essential to lose weight, the drug accomplishes this by combining two potentially harmful drugs - topiramate and phentermine. Phentermine is a powerful amphetamine that increases heart rate and blood pressure, and its legacy use in other diet pills has a foreboding track record. Topiramate is designed to change the way food tastes, or as Dr. Oz says, eliminates the “gotta have it” cravings.
Since the drug’s release there has been much controversy over its effectiveness and safety; even the FDA is requiring follow-up studies to ensure the product’s integrity. One pharmacist we spoke with said she fills few prescriptions and rarely has requests for it.
Moringa Oleifera Extract
This supplement is extracted from the Moringa tree that grows in remote areas of Kenya and even Ethiopia. It’s been a few years since African plants lead the diet trends here in the states, but the whole thing rings familiar of Hoodia Gordonii. Moringa is extremely high in nutrients and is often used to help combat malnourishment in poverty-stricken areas. Stateside, it’s believed to influence weight loss as studies say it can slow the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. Excess sugar can turn into fat and therefore weight gain. Dr. Oz endorsed the product, stating it had natural energy boosting properties. While Moringa extract is highly nutritious, there is no scientific evidence of it being an effective weight loss supplement.
Korean Pine Nuts
Dr. Oz helped create a demand on pine nuts this year, too. They actually became hard to find in many grocery stores after he endorsed their supposed weight loss properties. The main ingredient in the nuts, pinolenic acid, is purported to suppress appetite and reduce cravings. The tests that were conducted regarding these findings used the Korean pine nut oil, not the whole nut or another variety of the pine nut, as Hartley explained. These were details that were slightly overlooked (or dismissed altogether) when the masses went nuts for the pine nut, hoping it would cause weight loss. While the Korean pine nut oil may aid in appetite suppression, the bandwagoners were advised to just eat the whole nut. It’s a great and healthy nut, but it has no evidence of aiding in weight loss. Stick to pesto and skip the supplement.
Two Day Diet
This was teased on the front page of People Magazine this summer with the new two-day diet from “America’s Doctor.” Truth is, once the details of this diet were understood, it was actually just a great kickoff to healthy eating, some may even call it a detox, but it was really just two days full whole, clean eating.
The entire diet included a breakfast of millet and fresh fruit, a snack of a super charged “detox drink,” or just a really nutritious fruit and vegetable smoothie, a lunch of another highly nutritious smoothie, and then a dinner of vegetable soup. The meal plan was excellent, full of fantastic grains and produce we should be eating everyday. While Dr. Oz said this two-day plan is intended to rejuvenate the system, it’s clearly not an answer to long-term weight loss. Nothing long term can take place in two days, but if the doc’s face adorns a magazine cover and the word “diet” is attached, people will buy up the copies and read it as gospel.
While many of us would love a magic pill to surface, we’ve accepted that good health and weight maintenance comes from a daily decision to make good choices. Weight comes off with patience and hard work. Proper eating habits and consistent exercise are the only proven, magic ingredients and if a doctor tells you otherwise, you might want to get a second opinion. Or change the channel.
November 29th, 2012