BY: AYA TSINTZIRAS
The doctor is out: a new study shows that the majority of products that the popular Dr. Oz recommends on TV have no scientific backing.
Oprah branded him “America’s doctor” in 2004 and now three University of Alberta researchers have found zero scientific evidence for over half of the products he pushes on his popular daytime talk show The Dr. Oz Show. Associate prof. Christina Korownyk said in a statement, “Some patients come in and say ‘I heard on Dr. Oz yesterday that we should all be doing this.’ And then we’re left scrambling in our office to try and find answers.” She and her fellow researchers wondered what was going on and it led to the study where they compared 40 episodes of The Dr. Oz Show—which has almost four million viewers every day and has won two Emmy Awards—with another series, The Doctors. Dr. Oz advises about diet and food most often. Only 46 percent of what he recommends have science behind them, and science actually contradicted 15 percent of what he said. No evidence at all could be found for 39 percent.
Oz’s representatives told Forbes that this is not bad news after all because his purpose and ambition is to go against what the scientific community traditionally advises. But that’s just P.R. If you’re calling yourself a doctor—and he is, a heart transplant-focused surgeon, a prof. since 2001 in Columbia’s Department of Surgery and the director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital—then your claims should probably be based on fact. He’s no stranger to controversy or skepticism about whether his claims are true. When profiled in The New Yorker in February 2013, Dr. Oz said “you find the arguments that support your data” which the writer strongly objected to on the basis that facts are true or they’re not. He’s also been in the news recently for stating on his show that green coffee beans are a “magic weight-loss cure for every body type” which, again, is not the case.
Read also: What If Eating Wasn’t Necessary?
The results of these studies aren’t necessarily shocking – after all, it’s not the best idea to get all your medical advice from a celebrity doctor instead of your family doctor or someone that you actually know and can trust. But in a world where every day we read about a new super food or something else we’re supposed to do in order to live forever and avoid getting cancer, debunking a popular TV doctor’s product-pushing is welcomed news.