Grilling Dr. Oz

The daytime talk show phenomenon Mehmet Oz appeared before Congress yesterday and took the third degree from Senator Claire McCaskill for his touting of dubious, over-the-counter health products. Oz promotes OTC weight loss products like green coffee bean extract and garcinia cambogia to millions of daily viewers. These products have no proven effectiveness.

Appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on Consumer Protection, Oz alternately defended what he called his passionate and flowery language and conceded that his broadcasts have gone too far in claiming health benefits for diet supplements and other health aids. His assertion that he stopped making extravagant claims for bogus treatments two years ago was challenged by McCaskill, who cited a broadcast within the last month. From James Hamblin’s coverage at The Atlantic:

McCaskill refuted Oz’s claim to have reformed, noting that just three weeks ago he said that a supplement product “literally flushes fat from your system… Every time you cheat on your diet, I want you to grab one of these tiny, itty-bitty pills. This tiny tablet can push a lot of fat out of your belly.”

“It seems to me that if you said, every time you cheat on your diet, I want you to take a walk, that would eliminate the problem that is at the root of this hearing today. That your credibility is being threatened by a notion that we can take an itty-bitty pill to flush fat out of our systems.”

Dr. Oz is a cardiologist and a professor of surgery at Columbia University. He also directs the Cardiovascular and Complimentary Medicine program at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Listen to part of the exchange in this CNN report:

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