Dr. Oz is having a bad day. The celebrity doctor went to Washington, D.C., today to testify before a Senate subcommittee. The committee chastised him about the unscientific claims he makes about weight loss treatments on his popular show. Members of the committee, which is about consumer protection and product safety, worried that Oz’s statements fuel a predatory industry of supplement-sellers.
Subcommittee chair Senator Clair McCaskill talked about the “Oz Effect.” After Oz endorses unproven products such as green coffee extract and raspberry ketone, businesses often use his own quotes to help them sell products that are ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. The weight-loss supplement industry is notorious for false advertising and tainted products. Yet it’s no wonder they quote Dr. Oz. He’s well known and liked, and his endorsements already sound like copy lifted from a dubious infomercial, although they never mention brands. “You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they found the magic weight-loss for every body type,” he once said about green coffee extract.
Oz defended his favorite products, saying they help people ease into more sensible diet- and exercise-based weight-loss plans: “We search for tools and crutches; short-term supports so that people can jumpstart their programs.” He also defended what he called “flowery” language, as if his pseudoscience were just, like, an overlong description of a sunset: “When I can’t use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised.”