Saturday, February 4, 2012

Anatomy 101: Dissection of the Dr. Oz Show - Friday Feb. 3, 2012

Augh! That’s how I felt when I watched the Friday February 3, 2012 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
He began the show with the following statement. “I’ve spent over 400 shows laying out the rules to stay healthy and lose weight and asked you to follow them to the letter.  Today, I’m telling you to cheat. You heard me right…without doing a single bad thing to your health.”  So which is it? Follow the first 400 shows or his new sensationalistic comments? He made no reference to a new study. What changed? From where did he get new data to change course? Why is he right now and was wrong before? As far as I’m concerned, it is just more proof of the growing body of unsubstantiated and misguided assertions he continues to make. I wish he would stop making these pronouncements without also revealing the source of the reliable scientific data he is presumably depending upon.

The premise of Friday’s show was that cheating on your diet will enable you to lose more weight. He called this cheating day “Fat-urday.” The whole premise of this episode that “people who cheat lose more weight” was absurd and his show did little to dispel this assertion. 

To apparently try and prove his point, he gave three overweight women $100 to splurge on eating allegedly whatever they wanted. This included cakes, ice cream, and (presumably unhealthy) popcorn. When their caloric intake was tallied, it ranged between 2,500 and 3,400. He offered no evidence whatsoever that this approach helped any of these three women lose weight.  One can only presume they gained weight from this ridiculous experiment. Is that nice to do with women already struggling with excess weight?

In fact, in his follow-up comments, he suggested that by cheating he wanted them to consume a diet he proceeded to describe on air which totaled according to him less than 1,400 calories. He added that this proposed diet left room for some more cheating.  Why didn’t he tell them that before they went off on a binge? Per his comments, to lose weight, the women needed to limit their daily calories to between 1,500 and 1,600. Accordingly, where exactly is he recommending cheating when he offers a diet of less than 1,400 calories? Also, he can’t possibly believe that 1,500 to 1,600 calories are appropriate for all women of all sizes. Does he? Who knows?

His comments about the need for “structured hedonism” and "a Fat-urday schedule,” ignores the emerging science about how certainly some, if not many, people have food addictions. By recommending only 5 days between cheating days, he ultimately is recommending about 73 “Fat-urday" days a year (or 1.5 per week.) Good luck losing weight with such a plan. 

He went on to make comments like people who know they are going to get salt, do not crave it. How many people think about their next “salt” intake and are relieved to hear they are going to get some?
He also said explicitly that eating carbs for lunch was good because it turns on your thyroid hormone. That’s interesting as I didn’t know that your thyroid gland’s functioning was solely dependent on food and in particular, carbohydrates. Did you know that the thyroid gland turns off normally?  I think that would be news to most doctors and scientists.

In reference to eating yogurt, he made the statement that if you take out the emotional hang-ups associated with doing something it becomes much easier to do it. I guess that’s true. If you have no reason not to do something it makes sense that it’s easier to do it. But what does that have to do with either losing excess weight or keeping your weight at a healthy level. I’m not suggesting that you need to live a hermetic life, but give the audience a break and stop confusing them. Losing weight is hard enough without playing games with their minds by telling them to enjoy unhealthy food days.  What does he think often causes excess weight in the first place if not excess consumption?

Later in the show he suggested people consume dark chocolate. Doesn’t he know that all dark chocolate is not the same? I’m sure he knows that the health benefits of a dark chocolate bar depend on the percentage of cacao within as well as the amount of added sugar?  Why doesn’t he tell his audience instead of making open-ended statements?

At one point in the show he tells the audience to take an antihistamine to make your face look younger. That’s just plain crazy. Anti-histamines can cause drowsiness and shouldn’t be consumed haphazardly.
I’m going to skip the rest of his “age cheating” facial suggestions because I have no knowledge if they make any sense at all. I suggest you consult with a dermatologist before taking any face related suggestions from Dr. Oz.

His last bonus of the day was to recommend that people consume fat free whipped topping representing 30 calories as one more way to cheat.  Really? Why? Is that considered good medical advice or good entertainment?  I say neither.  What do you say?


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