Oz-Approved 7-Day Crash Diet, Pt 1 (5:51)

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Weight-loss guru Dr. Joel Fuhrman claims he can get you on the fast track to dropping the pounds in just one week. The secret? It’s not a starvation diet, but the exact opposite. His plan allows you to eat all you want and still lose weight. The key is in feasting on nutrient-dense foods — rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants — that are low in calories. Many of the superfoods you are familiar with fall under the nutrient-dense category. According to Dr. Fuhrman, the more of these kinds of foods you eat, the faster you will lose weight.

From This Episode:

The Dr. Oz Approved 7-Day Crash Diet

Why does Dr. Fuhrman’s plan work? Every meal you eat according to his specifications also helps you stave off hunger. Hunger is one of the major roadblocks most dieters face when attempting to lose weight. Dr. Fuhrman’s findings suggest that eating a diet of nutrient-dense foods results in a sustainable eating pattern that can lead to weight loss and improved health — even if you are consuming fewer calories. It’s the nutrients that satiate you for longer and make the periods of hunger between meals more tolerable, so you won’t feel desperate to reach for an unhealthy snack or comfort food. His plan focuses on healthy, whole foods – but makes no room for anything processed, including fake diet foods.

Dr. Fuhrman’s Crash Diet is only extreme in that you dive right in. The idea is that the new habits you learn in the next 7 days will become part of your lifestyle. It will no longer feel like a diet, but your default method of eating. Here are the 3 simple steps for everyone who wants to slim down in a week:

Step 1: Follow the 90/10 Rule Every Day

For the next 7 days, you’ll eat 90% nutrient-dense foods — veggies, fruits, seeds and nuts, beans and whole grains. For the remaining 10%, you can have healthy oils, meat and dairy.

A typical day on the Crash Diet would look like this:

Light and Lean Breakfast

While eating protein, like eggs, is often touted as the right way to start your day, the same rules don’t apply here. Many people eat too much protein, resulting in an overconsumption of calories and weight gain. Think of only light and lean foods, like fruit, oats and flax. You may be asking yourself, what about the yogurt? None here. If you are concerned about calcium, consider this: Natural unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables have calcium. For example, an orange has 60 mg of calcium.

Super Energy Smoothie recipe.

Blueberry, Banana and Flaxseed Smoothie recipe.

Hulled Barley Breakfast Bowl recipe.

Hot Breakfast Cereal Bowl recipe.

Belly-Blasting Bean Lunch

Ignite your body’s fat-blasting furnace by eating beans. Beans are a dieter’s best friend. They keep you full, and are high in resistant starch, meaning that half the calories consumed can not be absorbed. They also reduce blood sugar, and create the fatty acid butyrate, which may burn fat faster. Studies show that butyrate improves mitochondrial function in your cells, leading to a decrease in fat. If you’re worried about gas, fret not. The more beans you eat, the more your body will build up the good bacteria you need to digest them. You can enjoy beans in a burger patty, in chili or as a dip.

Sunny Bean Burger recipe.

3-Bean Chili recipe.

Bean Enchilada recipe.

Herbed White Bean Hummus recipe.

Lean Green Skinny Supper

Think outside the salad bowl. Make greens and vegetables your main dish in other creative ways — enjoy a veggie pizza, eggplant roll-ups or a veggie stir-fry. You can even add an ounce of chicken to your stir-fry for a little bit of extra flavor.

Easy Vegetable Pizza recipe.

Eggplant Roll-Ups recipe.

Veggie Stir-Fry recipe.

Step 2: Use Secret Weapons

Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating “BOM’s” to really kick your body’s fat-burning mechanisms into high gear. BOM’s are Berries, Onions and Mushrooms. These foods are anti-angiogenic. Why is this important? Because anti-angiogenic foods can starve fat cells by cutting off the blood supply to your fat. How? The growth of new capillary blood vessels is called angiogenesis. Research shows that cancer cells, for example, are known to hijack angiogenesis and keep it permanently switched on to ensure that it has a dedicated, uninterrupted blood supply so it can grow. But, by eating foods that can block the process of angiogenesis, you can starve these cancer cells. Dr. Fuhrman maintains you can also block the blood supply to fat cells by eating anti-angiogenic foods. The more of these foods you eat, the more weight you lose.

More information on anti-angiogeneis.

Step 3: Detox With Skinny Shakes

To flush fat from your body, you’ll need to release the toxins that are keeping you swollen with fat and fluid. To repair cellular damage from processed foods, make a Skinny Shake of pomegranate juice, strawberries and lemon. Pomegranates are anti-angiogenic and can reduce inflammation. Strawberries are anti-angiogenic and protect against oxidative stress. And lemon juice has vitamin C, natural antibacterial properties, can aid digestion, and helps reduce stress.

Skinny Shake recipe.

Jim Wright “America’s Doctor,” Mehmet Oz, M.D., learned the benefits of the Mediterranean diet long before most of us did. When he was growing up in Delaware, his Turkish mother served vegetables and fruits of every hue — and occasionally some known here only as weeds that grow in cracks in the sidewalk. “Purslane is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant kingdom,” he says. In Turkey, it’s part of a dish called semizotu — purslane salad served with yogurt. “Since it’s a weed, it’s very easy to grow,” he adds with a grin. “You just have to pick it and eat it.”

Dr. Oz may be the only health expert in America who could inspire you to dig salad ingredients out of your front walk. People trust him. And it’s not just because he’s a celebrated heart surgeon, a pioneer in the use of alternative therapies, an Emmy winner (in 2010, Dr. Oz won best host in the Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards for The Dr. Oz Show), and coauthor of seven best-selling books (starting with You: The Owner’s Manual, written with his friend Michael Roizen, M.D., chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute and founder of realage.com).

Tall, slim, and, in broadcast parlance, telegenic, he’s a walking advertisement for what he preaches. Except for being at high risk for colon cancer — he famously had a precancerous polyp removed on the 2010 season premiere of The Dr. Oz Show — he is health personified. Fortunately, when it comes to his “secrets,” Dr. Oz practices health philanthropy, generously sharing his knowledge on television, radio (he has his own SiriusXM satellite radio show), and the Web, as well as in print (including a syndicated column he does with Dr. Roizen). And now he’s shared his vast weight-loss wisdom with us, helping us craft this unique One-Day Diet.

Watch Dr. Oz discuss the five weight-loss myths holding you back.

Of course, we all know that in one day you won’t fit into Angelina Jolie’s castoffs. But you will have proved to yourself that you can do it — which will give you the confidence and courage to try it for one more day. So often we lose sight of our goals, particularly when we catch sight of a slab of cheesecake that reminds us how “deprived” we’ve been. On the One-Day Diet, every day is the first day.

Now, here’s your first dose of motivation: You can lose up to two inches and 10 pounds in four weeks by following our meal plan. Just as important: Follow these simple rules that will help you zero in on key risk factors for weight gain — and conquer them once and for all.

Rule 1: Renew Your Vows Daily

Start each morning anew, and recommit to sticking to the plan one day at a time, day after day. That helps you keep the energy and motivation that you always bring to a new project…and that can fizzle out once you see how challenging your undertaking is.

As you get out of bed, repeat this mantra: “I am going to follow my plan for the next 24 hours” — and remind yourself of the reasons (Your health? That gorgeous little black dress you bought on sale?) you want to lose weight.

Rule 2: Do Something Completely Different Every Day

Add what we call the “George Costanza element” daily. It’s based on the Seinfeld character who, in one episode, decided to turn his life around by doing the opposite of what he usually did. (And it worked — at least for 30 minutes.)

Doing something different can help shake up your thought patterns and challenge old habits like “I’m tired; I need a Cinnabon.” It’s like traveling in a country where they drive on the left-hand side of the road: You’re forced to pay more attention to traffic patterns and where all the gears and gadgets are in your car.

Being more mindful about how and when you eat, how you think when you’re under stress, and what you could be doing instead will put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to your diet. No more popping handfuls of candy, skipping breakfast, or reaching into your grab bag of excuses for why you can’t exercise today.

Some suggested add-ons:

I will try one new vegetable

I will TiVo Jon Stewart and get to bed at a decent hour

I will change my computer passwords so every time I log on, I will give myself positive advice like “Stay Strong,” “Keep At It,” “Never Give Up”

I will notice when I start to feel stressed out and want to eat, then do something totally different (see Rule 7)

Rule 3: Set Your Kitchen on Automatic

You want to arrange your pantry, fridge, and life so your only choices are good ones. Don’t worry; there will be a lot to savor. Since ours is a Mediterranean diet, you’ll get healthy fats in the form of olive oil as well as olives themselves, avocados, sunflower seeds, nuts, and other foods that are satisfying in small quantities. Fat makes you feel fuller longer, and it gives you that soul-pleasing taste that helps keep you on track.

While you’ll have lean meat or fish every day, the bulk of this diet is plant foods: vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. The fiber in these will — by slowing your digestion–help stave off hunger without adding a lot of calories. “But whole grains doesn’t mean just bread,” says Dr. Oz. “In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, bread tends to be very thin (pitas) and used mostly as a spoon.” Experiment with other grains, such as quinoa (“a whole grain high in amino acids,” says Dr. Oz) and even chia (yes, the sprouts that miraculously grow on your Chia Pet). “Serve it in or on another dish,” he advises. “It’s very chewy.”

Rule 4: Keep Your Belly Full

Hard to believe, but one thing you can do to keep your metabolism in high gear is eat. By not letting yourself get too hungry, you’ll avoid the inevitable carb binge, which sends blood sugar soaring. In response, insulin rises, causing blood sugar to plunge again and setting you up for another food feast. You can still have your three meals (though they may be a little smaller than you’re used to), but Dr. Oz recommends adding two snacks that include belly-filling protein, such as a handful of almonds or a low-fat cheese stick. Protein makes you feel full, possibly because it affects hormones that rule appetite.

Rule 5: Extend the Burn

There are two easy things you can do to keep metabolism chugging:

1. Have water with every meal

A German study found that drinking 17 ounces of water (a little more than two cups) can increase calorie-blasting 24 percent. Research also suggests that green tea may help keep your metabolism in high gear and whittle away at body fat.

2. Take a 20-minute walk

Maybe after each meal? Three jaunts a day will give you a good start on the 60 to 90 minutes of daily exercise recommended for weight loss. “Walk at a strong pace, with good posture and your belly tucked in,” says Dr. Oz. This exercises your core muscles, helping to give you a firm base of support.

Rule 6: Check Portions

Size counts. One small, naked potato is about 13/4 to 2½ inches in diameter and contains 135 calories. If you eat a large potato — 3 to 41/4 inches in diameter — you’re adding 293 calories to your meal, and that’s without slathering on butter or sour cream. Those additional 158 calories can make a difference: Most of us put on weight over the years just by eating an extra 100 to 200 calories a day.

Of course, unless you carry a tiny scale, a measuring cup, and perhaps a ruler with you at all times, you may have trouble assessing portions. Luckily, you can use your hand as a guide: A one-cup serving of cereal is about the size of your fist. A half-cup serving of pasta, rice, or ice cream fits in your cupped hand. A tablespoon of salad dressing, peanut butter, or cream cheese is about thumb-size, while the tip of your thumb represents a teaspoon of butter, mayonnaise, or oil.

Rule 7: Chill Out

Stress can undo your best intentions to eat right and exercise, especially if your usual response to tension is to keep your mouth busy and your body horizontal. Even worse, stress produces chemicals that can add inches to your waist. “For centuries, the main cause of stress was famine,” Dr. Oz explains. “Now, when you’re under chronic stress, the theory goes, your body perceives famine. That triggers your cannabinoid system, and like external cannabinoids — marijuana, for instance — it gives you the munchies. Then your body stores those calories as fat in your belly.”

Talk about lose-lose (eating isn’t even an effective stress soother). Instead of nibbling:

Be a Corpse
This is similar to the couch-potato thing you do, but it’s really a yoga pose that activates your parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the stress response (flooding your body with stress chemicals, stiffening your muscles, setting your heart racing and your blood pressure soaring). Simply lie on a comfortable rug or yoga mat, arms at your sides, and let your muscles melt into the floor. Take regular breaths and pay close attention to the way the air enters your body and leaves it. Let thoughts come and go as they please, but don’t pay much attention to them. Try this for five to 10 minutes a day.

Do Something Nice for Yourself
It won’t break the bank if you buy a few stargazer lilies on your way home. You’ll love looking at them, and the scent will take you to tropical places.

Do Something Nice for Someone Else
Invite your cranky colleague out for coffee. Write a note to someone who has been kind to you and tell her what the gesture meant to you. Studies have found that doing unto others — especially expressing gratitude — is one of the best stress busters around. (One great charity we love: the Box Project. This nearly-50-year-old program matches sponsors from around the U.S. with recipient families living in rural poverty. About once a month, you send boxes of food, clothing, supplies, and other aid to a family. For more info, go to boxproject.org.)

Take a “Ha-Ha” Break
Do you know what makes you laugh — physiologically speaking? Your epiglottis half-closing the larynx. That even sounds funny, but there’s copious research suggesting that if your epiglottis half-closes your larynx on a regular basis, it reduces stress, makes you feel more kindly toward others, and is healthy for your blood vessels. And it will discourage you from eating — it’s hard to guffaw and gulp at the same time.

Get up and Dance
Any kind can raise your feel-good chemicals (like endorphins), which also gives you a better sense of control (over your life and your food choices). So twirl to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D major” or shake your groove thing to “Poker Face” by Lady Gaga — whatever eases your stress.

Let Meditation Take You Away
If you think you have a crazy life, let the man who does heart transplants and has his own TV show, radio show, and newspaper column tell you how he tamps down the effects of stress. “I’m a TM guy,” says Dr. Oz. “It helps me tap into the calm deep inside.” He does Transcendental Meditation (not twice a day, as recommended, but often) and, with wife Lisa, regularly practices yoga. “Or you can just take 10 minutes a day to go into your bedroom and focus on something that makes you happy,” he suggests.

Be Kind to Yourself
“On our 100th show, our guest was Richard Simmons with 100 people who had lost 100 pounds or more,” reports Dr. Oz. “And they all said the same thing: When their self-esteem went up, the weight came off.” If you’re tempted to give yourself a hard time for slipping up, immediately remind yourself of all the times you stayed the course.

Rule 8:Get Enough Sleep

Put in fewer than seven hours a night, and you may see the scale moving up, Dr. Oz warns. Some of the reasons are obvious. Fatigue makes you more likely to nosh just to keep up your energy. It also makes the idea of even a short walk seem like a cross-country hike. But some of the explanation has to do with your body chemistry: After just a few days of sleep deprivation, the hormones that control appetite go haywire. Specifically, lack of sleep drives down your levels of appetite-inhibiting leptin and drives up levels of ghrelin, which tells your brain you’re hungry and that you need carbs now. Your body stores those excess carbs as fat (to keep you alive during a possible famine) while causing a surge in blood sugar. No wonder long-term sleep deprivation is associated with obesity and diabetes.

Along with establishing a bedtime routine and keeping your bedroom dark and reserved for sleep and sex only, set the thermostat so you’re comfortably cool (no higher than 75 degrees). If it’s too hot or too cold, you’ll get sleepus interruptus.

Rule 9: When You Blow It, Start Again

As the front cover of the National Enquirer proves, even movie stars whose figures are their stock-in-trade flub up in the blubber department now and again. Here’s how to make a comeback when you’ve been waylaid by a chocolate donut, a bag of salt-and-vinegar chips, or the latest House marathon. You can also use these tips to avoid temptation in the first place.

Forget Tomorrow
There’s nothing magic about the dawn. “If you make a mistake, get back on track immediately,” advises Dr. Oz. That means you need to put down what remains of that éclair and walk away — not finish it and binge for the rest of the day.

Do Yoga Poses
They’re distracting, relaxing, and even soporific if you have trouble getting to sleep. One we especially like is downward-facing dog: When you’re upside down, you can’t eat.

Take Baby Steps
If you’ve blown your exercise commitment for a day or two, get going again with a five-minute walk. If that feels good, add another five minutes. Keep it up.

You Say What?

Dr. Oz responds to some popular “I’d like to lose weight, but…” excuses:

“I simply can’t give up sweets”

If you’re the kind of person who has to eat a cookie if it’s there, then eat it. But after you’ve had your cookie, wash it down with a glass of water. It gets the taste out of your mouth, and gets rid of the hedonistic impulse to finish the box. Another trick is to choose treats you like but that don’t trigger the impulse to keep eating. When I want a sweet, I eat 70-percent-cacao chocolate. It’s not too sweet, and I find you really can’t eat too much.

“I’m trying, but the scale doesn’t budge”

Some people are dealt a rough genetic hand that makes it harder to lose weight. But ask yourself: Would you let your best friend eat what you eat? That’s one reason I recommend people lose weight with a partner. A University of Georgia study found that willpower is contagious. So try hanging with someone who exerts self-control — it will boost yours.

“I get so hungry”

Eat more! I’m guessing the plan you’ve adopted is so extreme you never feel satisfied. If that’s the case, you’re setting yourself up for disaster — you’ll be so miserable, you’ll eat way more than you would if you kept your intake moderate and steady.

Dine-Out Choices

Stay on track with one of these diet-friendly restaurant meals


Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portabellos, plus a small side of seasonal veggies

Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice, plus a side of fresh fruit


GG Salmon with Garlic & Herbs (includes Rice and Seasonal Veggies)

Chicken Fajita with 1 Flour Tortilla (no condiments) and Mandarin Oranges

Olive Garden

Venetian Apricot Chicken with a cup of Minestrone Soup

Grilled Chicken Spiedini

P.F. Chang’s

Chicken Lettuce Wraps (½ appetizer order), 1 cup Hot & Sour Soup, and 1 Mini Tiramisu

Asian Grilled Salmon on Brown Rice (½ order), Shanghai Cucumbers, and 1 Mini Great Wall of Chocolate

Denise Foley Denise Foley is Prevention’s editor-at-large.

The making of Dr. Oz

It’s a dark and biting March morning on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Lilly is standing outside ABC’s brick studio building, waiting to be let in to watch a live taping of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s television show.

“I’ve been here since 7 am,” she says.

Though the sun is barely out, her phone is buzzing with text messages from nearly every member of her family — all Oz-lovers excited about her peek behind the curtain.
They’re not alone. Dr. Oz is arguably the most influential health professional in America. The Dr. Oz Show, which started in 2009, has an average audience of more than 4 million people each day in 118 countries. He has his own magazine (The Good Life) and syndicated columns that have run in the most widely read periodicals in North America. He has radio segments, about a dozen books, and the show’s website — a go-to resource on medical questions for millions. He has millions of followers on his Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube accounts, and a starring role on the new medical reality show NY Med. Across all these channels, he preaches the same message: you can take control of your health with simple tricks and natural remedies.

Parts of Dr. Oz’s message have come under fire recently from the federal government and the scientific community for deviating too far from established medical fact. This scrutiny, however, hasn’t cooled the ardor of fans like Lilly.

“He has this practical, common-sense use of things on the planet to stay healthy,” she says. “It’s not about popping pills or using medication.”

After covering Oz for several years, I’m fascinated by him. How did a gifted, award-winning cardiothoracic surgeon with credentials from three Ivy League schools become a TV star who promotes belly-fat busters and anti-aging tricks? I’m also intrigued by the hold he has on his fans. Why do so many people place their trust — and their health — in the hands of a TV personality? What does his popularity say about Americans’ attitudes toward science?

I spoke to dozens of Oz’s colleagues, mentors, and other health professionals who have been touched by the surgeon or his work, some who’ve known the man since his early days fresh out of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. I read his early books. I talked to his fans — including my own mother. I found out that the roots of Oz’s experimentation with alternative techniques go all the way back to his childhood, and that his departures from evidence-based medicine have gotten more extreme as he’s become more famous. I also learned that the making of Dr. Oz says more about America’s approach to health than it does about its most famous doctor.

(Dr. Oz, via Instagram)

The early years

1960: Mehmet Oz is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He spends childhood summers in Turkey, where he’s first exposed to nontraditional medical practices.

1982: Oz graduates from Harvard University.

1985: Oz marries Lisa Lemole.

1986: Oz earns a dual MD-MBA at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Penn’s Wharton School. He goes on to do his residency at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

1988-’91: At Columbia, Oz wins the prestigious Blakemore Research Award four years in a row — a testament to his early promise as a researcher.

My journey into the land of Oz started in New York City, at Oz’s hospital, New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Richard Green, the associate chief of cardiac, thoracic, and vascular surgery — Oz’s division — agreed to talk with me about his most famous colleague.

Oz has achieved some of the greatest scientific accomplishments of his career at Columbia. While a resident there, he was the four-time winner of the prestigious Blakemore research prize, which goes to the most outstanding surgery resident. He now holds 11 patents for inventing methods and devices involved in heart surgeries and transplants. This includes helping to research and develop the left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, which helps keep people alive while they’re awaiting a heart transplant. Oz had a hand in turning the hospital’s LVAD program into one of the biggest and most active in the world.

Dr. Green greeted me in a beige hospital hallway, a compact man with worn skin and white hair, dressed in blue scrubs. In his office, which was decorated with family pictures, diplomas, and medical textbooks, he alternately praised and defended his colleague. He said the following things about Oz: “He’s a brilliant mind.” “He’s a very charming person.” “He has great energy.” “He’s uniformly respected and admired here.” “Maybe he should be president. I would vote for him.” “He’s a talent. He’s multidirectional.” “As for the other doctors who are on TV, I don’t put them in league. Not even close.”

Green also suggested that the leveling off we’re seeing in obesity rates in the US may be thanks to the awareness Oz has raised about the importance of eating more healthfully and exercising.
Still, I pressed Green about Oz’s TV work, specifically, a recent British Medical Journal study: researchers examined the health claims showcased on 40 randomly selected episodes of the two most popular internationally syndicated health talk shows, The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors. They found that about half of the recommendations either had no evidence behind them or actually contradicted what the best available science tells us.

Green admitted that he had never seen The Dr. Oz Show. “I don’t know what he would promote or not promote,” he said.
Then he asked: “Why would anyone mistake that for anything but entertainment?”

Green said he thought people in Oz’s audience would be able to distinguish between the man’s work on TV and his work in the operating room. Plus, he said, even if Oz did deviate from science sometimes, this didn’t make him any different from every other doctor. After all, physicians don’t always practice in an evidence-based manner. Critics were being unfair to Oz by holding him to an evidence-based standard, Green felt. Oz wasn’t pushing narcotics and antibiotics through his show, Green reasoned — just harmless supplements and health tips.
“What can a TV doctor do except for give advice about how to live your life?” he asked.

I asked Green whether he’d want to be Oz’s patient, and he said, “If you did a poll of the staff at Columbia and asked them, ‘If you needed a heart operation and Mehmet was there, would you want him?’ they’d say yes.”

He then added, “He’s probably a little rusty right now.” He said Oz seemed to be operating less and less — from several hundred surgeries per year at his peak to a maximum of about 100 now — as he entertains more and more.

When I asked Green whether he thinks Oz has been corrupted by fame, he said, “I don’t think he’s a charlatan.” Green added that in addition to being a top-notch surgeon with impeccable credentials, Oz had long embraced alternative medicine. “In his earlier days, he always believed there was more to getting well than just a pill or an operation. I think there was a period of time he thought music had healing power. I think he’s very sincere in his belief.”

The next day, over the phone, I spoke to Dr. Michael Argenziano, a colleague at Columbia who has known Oz for 25 years, since they were both surgical residents. They still perform surgeries side by side, though that’s become increasingly infrequent.

“When he was young and just starting out,” Argenziano said, ” was practicing what he’s now preaching. He was always very committed to preventive medicine, holistic natural health.”
In the early ‘90s, according to Argenziano, Oz could often be found in his lab, studying “alternative medicine, hypnosis, Eastern medicine, all that stuff — guided imagery, acupuncture.” Argenziano added, “That was 10 years before he ever went on TV.”

(Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Oz’s parents are Turkish, and the family spent summers in their homeland. Oz trained in the Turkish military to retain his dual citizenship. During his time there, he observed approaches to health care that weren’t common in America — but were, he believed, perhaps just as powerful.

As Oz described ina 2010 interview, in Turkey, “You would never leave a patient in the hospital there unless you had a relative with them. In fact, the nurse gives you the pills to give the patient.” He said these customs may confer curative powers, however intangible and difficult to account for in the evidence-based medicine model.

“I feel strongly,” Oz said, “that in the West we have come to believe that medicine offers all the solutions, and so we no longer play the proactive role we should be playing.”

There was another influence, too. While he was studying for his medical degree and MBA at the University of Pennsylvania, Oz met his wife, the actress Lisa (then Lemole). Lisa’s dad was also a cardiothoracic surgeon who embraced alternative medicine and Eastern mysticism, and, according to a profile in the New York Times, her mother “believed fervently” in homeopathy.

In 1994, Oz launched the Cardiac Complementary Care Center at Columbia-Presbyterian with a certified perfusionist and registered nurse, Jery Whitworth. The center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, was “created, in part, as a response to consumer demand for comprehensive care,” Oz and Whitworth wrote in a 1998 scholarly article.
The idea was that they’d apply science to the study of alternative medicine and figure out which approaches were helpful to people. As Oz said at the time, “It’s an attempt to translate what’s going on in alternative and complementary medicine into a language that’s acceptable not just to physicians but Western culture.”

Oz and Whitworth experimented with hypnosis, “therapeutic touch,” guided imagery, reflexology, aromatherapy, prayer, and yoga, according to Oz’s 1998 book, Healing from the Heart.

They also used audiotapes to try to subconsciously relax patients before surgery and brought reiki — or “energy medicine” — into the operating room. Reiki, an ancient Japanese healing art, has never been shown in scientific studies to alter the outcomes of patients.One high-quality study on the effect of reiki on pain in women after C-sections showed that it had no effect. Science-based thinkers have wondered whether it’s ethical to continue studying reiki, given that we know it works no better than a placebo and we may be diverting funds from treatments that could actually help people.

Oz’s work with the center drew critics. One Mount Sinai physician told the New York Times in 1995: “I call practitioners of fraud practitioners of fraud. It’s my feeling that the has been promoting fraudulent alternatives as genuine.”

There were also problems within the center itself. Whitworth, Oz’s co-founder, told Vox that by 1998, four years after launching, he and Oz were arguing regularly.

Speaking to the media for the first time in 15 years, Whitworth said their disagreements “had to do with our inability to see eye to eye with the marketing of what was going on, which I felt was inappropriate.”

“It became about Oz. Not about the project. Not about the patients.”

Whitworth said he told Oz often, “We are in our infancy. We haven’t proved anything. Before you’re going out there to major media, we need to look at what we’re doing here. Stop the media circus.”

Monique Class, a family nurse practitioner and another former employee of the center, said the media attention negatively affected their work. “It became about Oz. Not about the project. Not about the patients. Not about the work. That all became secondary to his rise to the top.”

It wasn’t uncommon, Class said, for Oz to say some version of the following to her or to the other employees: “Give me a patient because the cameras are coming in, and tell me what I need to know.”

Class said, “He was always acting. He didn’t know this patient. He was not connected to this patient. We’d give him a two- or three-minute sound byte and he’d sit there in front of the cameras like he’d done this work and had this deep connection.”

Out of frustration with how things were being run, Whitworth said he shuttered the center in 2000. That same year, Oz reopened it under another name. (Oz’s public relations representative declined to comment for this article.)

This setback didn’t slow down Oz in his study of alternative medicine — or his embrace of fame. In the early 2000s, he worked with a reiki healer named Raven Keyes. She told me recently, “My reiki master is the archangel Gabriel. All I have to do is ask Gabriel to activate all the angels, and everybody’s angels come to life.” In the operating room, she said, she’d perch on a stool behind the anesthesiologist and transfer her good energy. “I’m connecting with the divine light within me and allowing myself to absorb the divine light in myself so it expands outward.”

Raven attributed Oz’s experimentation with reiki to his desire to help people and to understand “energy medicine.” Oz, in turn, endorsed Keyes by writing the introduction to her book,The Healing Power of Reiki.

Outside of the operating room, Oz’s renown was growing. He landed a spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show as a regular medical expert in 2004, and was anointed “America’s Doctor” — a moniker he trademarked. He used his platform to back a range of questionable health practices, including lending the seal of credibility to the Brazilian medium — and well-known huckster — “John of God” on ABC News and in Oprah’s O magazine.

This embrace of alternative medicine only boosted the Oz brand — even if it meant he was slowly shifting further away from science and closer to wizardry. “His style, his emphasis on some of his more holistic material, really made him very attractive,” said Argenziano.

The public face also massively expanded the number of people Oz could touch, Argenziano said. “At his peak, Mehmet was doing 300 to 400 operations a year. That’s 300 to 400 people you can help.” Through a multimedia empire, he now reaches millions.

When I asked Argenziano about Oz’s turn toward entertainment and the recent criticisms of his use of science, he was dismissive, describing Oz’s tactics as a tradeoff for helping people.

“Mehmet is not immune to the pressures of production schedules, ratings drives,” Argenziano said. “You have a daily show millions of people are tuning into. People are wanting and asking for advice on issues like weight loss and health. So does he sometimes use more flowery language than you might if you were looking at something truly scientifically? Maybe.”

(Getty Images)

An “open-minded” physician-scientist

1994: Oz is awarded a Florence and Herbert Irving scholarship at Columbia to study patients’ quality of life.

1994: With a colleague, Oz co-founds the Cardiac Complementary Care Center at Columbia Presbyterian to study diet, meditation and hypnosis, and manual therapies like massage and energy medicine.

1995: The New York Times calls Oz the most “accomplished 35-year-old cardiothoracic surgeon in the country.”

1995: Oz brings a reiki “energy” healer into his operating room.

1998: Oz publishes the book Healing From the Heart and coins the term “global medicine.”

In 2012, when I started writing about Dr. Oz, I was one of a few critical voices in the mainstream media. (There were plenty of bloggers already criticizing him.) The most comprehensive profile of Oz around that time ran in the New York Times, and it glorified him.

There were — and still are — plenty of reasons to be skeptical about Oz’s medical advice. Oz has long been a proponent ofhomeopathy, an alternative therapy, despite the fact that it defies the basic laws of science and has been shown in numerous studies to be useless.
He used his own made-for-TV studies to suggest little kids are getting poisoned byarsenic in apple juice (when the Food and Drug Administration has shown this isn’t true), and to promise his audience that green coffee bean supplements “burn fat fast for anyone who wants to lose weight.” He has featureddiscredited research that claims genetically modified foods are harmful to humans, stoking fears about the foods.

Many guests on Oz’s show also endorse questionable health claims, particularly in pursuit of profit.Monica Seles, the star tennis player, recently appeared in a segment about binge eating. At the time, she was apaid spokesperson for the drugmaker Shire, which recently won FDA approval for the binge-eating drug Vyvanse.
Oz has shared the stage with vaccine deniers, and activists like the Food Babe (known to scientists as “the Jenny McCarthy of food”). Recent investigations by theFederal Trade Commission show that at least one of his miracle-touting guests used the program as a platform to deceive audiences and sell products, capitalizing on the “Oz effect” — or the fact that whenever he so much as mentions a product, stores can’t restock it quickly enough.

At the height of theEbola panic last year, Oz suggested the virus could go airborne — even though there was universal agreement among virologists that the pathogens have never behaved that way.

Criticizing Oz is not always a popular position to take. Whenever I write a negative story about him, I get emails from fans explaining how the TV doctor helped them lose weight, eat more fibrous foods and fewer doughnuts, quit smoking, or all of the above.
Oz’s staff, unsurprisingly, doesn’t like the criticism either. When I tried to attend that March taping of Oz’s show in New York after getting a ticket through a lottery, Tim Sullivan, the show’s media representative, told me, “We cannot accommodate you attending Friday’s taping or other future tapings” — despite the fact that several other journalists have gone to Oz show tapings in the past. Sullivan then stopped returning any of my emails, including several requests for interviews and information for this piece. (The media relations team at the Oprah Winfrey Network also declined to comment for this story. When asked to comment on the criticisms of Oz, a Columbia University media relations person pointed to the school’s policy on freedom of expression, which states that it “is fully committed to upholding academic integrity and freedom of expression. This means both that the university will not penalize faculty for statements made in public debate and that we are committed to a strong principle of academic freedom in teaching and research.”)

Several more mainstream voices have joined the chorus of Oz critics in recent years. Scientific journal articles and major media profiles have documented the extent to which Oz deviates from science. The FTC investigated the products featured on his show. There has been a push by some doctors to begin to regulate the speech of doctors like Oz, who use their white coats to treat patients through the media. A group of Oz’s peers recently questioned Columbia University’s decision to keep him as a faculty member.

“The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles'”

Oz was also called before a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection last summer. He was asked by the senator in charge, Claire McCaskill, to explain his use of “flowery” language to champion weight-loss fixes that don’t actually work. She then admonished him for endorsing a rainbow of supplements as potential “belly blasters” and “mega metabolism boosters.” As McCaskill put it, “The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called ‘miracles.'”

Still, Oz has retained his medical license and faculty position. Last year, he again took home a couple of Emmy awards, and this year was nominated for three more. (So far, the show has won a Daytime Emmy five years in a row.) According to the Oz Media company, clients for Oz’s various branding, speaking, and partnership endeavors include everyone from the White House to Google, as well as numerous banks and pharmaceutical companies. For the last four years, he appeared on Forbes magazine’s most influential celebrity list, and Esquire magazine listed him as one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century.

His brand and reach now rival that of the woman who made him famous: Oprah. And Oz’s popularity doesn’t stop at him; it extends to his family members. His wife, Lisa, helps run Oz Media and has books and speaking engagements of her own. So does their eldest daughter, Daphne. The Oz family is an American health-and-wellness empire, and they see more virtual patients through the media than Oz could have ever dreamed of in his hospitals and clinics. Unlike Oprah, the Ozes aren’t talking about which books and nail polishes to buy; they’re dealing with life-and-death questions of medicine and health.

(Cover of O magazine)

A physician-entertainer

2000: The Cardiac Complementary Care Center transitions into the Cardiovascular Institute and Integrative Medicine Program.

2001: Oz is named a professor of surgery at Columbia University, a title he still holds.

2004: Oz makes his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He’s referred to as “America’s Doctor.”

2005: Oz endorses the discredited faith healer “John of God.”

2008: Time magazine names Oz one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People.”

Oz’s dubious medical advice wouldn’t be such a problem if people saw the show as merely entertainment — if they simply watched the show but didn’t take its claims to heart. But it’s clear viewers really do heed his advice. There’s thecase of a man who followed Oz’s suggestion of curing insomnia by pouring uncooked rice into socks, heating them in a microwave, and wearing them to bed. The man got second- and third-degree burns on his feet. He sued, but the case was thrown out because the judge determined that Oz cannot establish a physician-patient relationship through TV.

Not everyone agrees with the judge’s reasoning. Rochester New York medical student and blogger Benjamin Mazer has been publishinganonymous stories sent into him from health professionals about the impact Oz has had on patient care. One reported that her dad had a heart attack and five stents placed in his heart, which required him to take aspirin and Plavix to prevent blood clots. “He was watching Dr. Oz, who said Plavix was not necessary, so he stopped taking it. About a month later, he had another massive and coded and had to be shocked back to life.” She continued: “My dad admitted to following Dr. Oz’s advice and not asking his own cardiologist.”

There’s also the powerful “Oz effect,” which has worked on everything from raspberry ketone supplements to neti pots. This suggests that people act on Oz’s health advice as if he were their own doctor, for better or worse. (While Oz has been careful to point out repeatedly that he does not “directly” endorse any company or product, he is available forstrategic partnerships, according to the Oz Media website: “Our goal is for Dr. Oz to forge a direct and authentic connection between you and your demographic.”)

I talked to many other doctors from across America with patients who have been touched by the Oz effect. Again and again, they used phrases like “snake-oil salesman” and “quack” to refer to him. They worried about their patients. Rather than heaping him with praise as Oz’s New York colleagues or fans did, they said he is a menace to public health, that he takes advantage of people and confuses medical issues.

Mehmet C. Oz

Dr. Oz was born in Cleveland, Ohio, raised in Delaware and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University (1982) and obtained a joint MD and MBA (1986) from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Wharton Business School. He was awarded the Captain’s Athletic Award for leadership in college and elected Class President twice followed by President of the Student Body during medical school. He lives in Northern New Jersey with his wife Lisa of 29 years and their four children, Daphne, Arabella, Zoe and Oliver.

Previously, Dr. Oz was a featured health expert on The Oprah Winfrey Show for six seasons, spanning over 60 episodes. He also served as chief medical consultant to Discovery Communications, where his Transplant! series won both a Freddie and a Silver Telly award. He has appeared on all the network morning and evening news broadcasts and guest hosted numerous shows. He also served as medical director of Denzel Washington’s John Q and performed in the hip-hop video “Everybody” as part of the Let’s Move Campaign.

Dr. Oz authored seven New York Times bestsellers, including You: The Owner’s Manual, You: The Smart Patient, YOU: On a Diet, YOU: Staying Young, YOU: Being Beautiful, YOU: Having a Baby, YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens, as well as the award-winning Healing from the Heart. He has a regular column in Oprah Magazine and TIME, and his article “Retool, Reboot, and Rebuild” for Esquire magazine was awarded the 2009 National Magazine Award for Personal Service. He co-founded Sharecare.com which won “Best Medical App” award for AskMD in 2014.

In addition to belonging to every major professional society for heart surgeons, Dr. Oz has been named TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” Forbes’ “most influential celebrity,” Esquire magazine’s “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century,” “a Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, Harvard’s 100 Most Influential Alumni, as well as receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and AARP 50 Influential people over 50. He won the prestigious Gross Surgical Research Scholarship, and he has received an honorary doctorate from Istanbul University. He was voted “The Best and Brightest” by Esquire magazine, a “Doctor of the Year” by Hippocratesmagazine and “Healer of the Millennium” by Healthy Living magazine. Dr. Oz is annually elected as a highest quality physician by the Castle Connolly Guide as well as other major ranking groups. He is also an honorary police surgeon for New York City. Read Less ^

Cookbook Review: Dr. Oz’s Latest

The following article is excerpted from Healthy Aging® Magazine. To continue reading this article and more like it, subscribe to Healthy Aging® Magazine, the lifestyle magazine that is all about following your passion and what you can do rather than what you can’t.

With fall in the rear view mirror, many of us are heading into the kitchen for the holidays with the determination to make, serve, and eat healthier foods while enjoying the season.

Certainly, the fall months seem to make us clamor for comfort foods with gatherings of friends and family. Now, the spotlight is all of that with the emphasis on healthy.

What we are not looking forward to is the beginning of the “holiday 15.”

If you used the summer to get in shape, you are ahead of the game and are ready to tackle the fall and holiday food extravaganzas. If you didn’t or if you don’t want to slip back, we have some new books for you to use as resources. All are guides to preparing healthy meals that are perfect for the season and all year long.

New Cookbook Recommendation

Today we begin with the new Dr. Mehmet Oz book, Food Can Fix It: The Superfood Switch to Fight Fat, Defy Aging and Eat Your Way Healthy, which is chockful of ideas for how to get your health back on track, including a 21-day weight-loss plan.

Check back with Healthy Aging® to read upcoming reviews of more new cookbooks!

Food Can Fix It: The Superfood Switch to Fight Fat, Defy Aging, and Eat Your Way Healthy By Dr. Mehmet Oz

You may have started to know Dr. Mehmet Oz when he appeared as a health expert for The Oprah Winfrey Show back in 2004. Today, Dr. Oz hosts his own show, The Dr. Oz Show, now in its eighth season.

About Dr. Oz

What makes Dr. Oz such a reliable resource is that he is a cardiac surgeon, a health expert, and an author who shares his knowledge of health and wellness along with the importance of the balance of mind, body, and spirit.

A professor of surgery at Columbia University, Oz directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and performs 100 heart operations annually.

This new book is not his first rodeo as an author. Oz has coauthored six books, started The Good Life magazine (Hearst Corporation) three years ago, and is a regular columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine.

What’s Inside Food Can Fix It?

Food Can Fix It: The Superfood Switch to Fight Fat, Defy Aging, and Eat Your Way Healthy (Simon & Schuster) is his latest book. Drawing on his medical experience, Dr. Oz shares his knowledge of how food affects our bodies, “food fixes,” or what you can eat to fight what ails you. His important message is to “change the food you eat, and you change your body.” This simple but important rule is important for all of us.

Dr. Oz shares ideas on how food can help fix what ails you from how to lose weight and also issues with the heart, fatigue, pain, brain power, bad moods, immunity, skin and hair, and the gut.

Sprinkled throughout the book, making it not only an interesting but also a fun read, are tips and factoids to devour. There’s the “10-Second Headache Reliever,” which touts drinking six extra glasses of water a day to help relieve chronic headache pain; the anti-inflammatory punch of adding cinnamon to coffee; and ideas for how to feed a cold.

Wow, did you know that vitamin B9 and B12 deficiencies can lead to prematurely gray hair? Who knew? But this is just one of the many, many facts from Dr. Oz’s latest book.

The 21-Day Plan to Change Eating Habits

The Food Can Fix It’s 21-day plan is designed, he says, to help you change your eating habits. On it, you could lose three to four pounds during the first week and one to two pounds each following week. Suggested menus for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinners are included, along with easy-to-follow recipes (many including color photos).

“Food can break you, but it also holds the power to fix your body, prevent some diseases, and reverse others.” He explains how food’s a medicine that can cure or prevent illness and disease, can be an elixir to a longer life, and is “sacred” in the way it brings people together and affects our spiritual and emotional well-being.

Dr. Oz offers the road map through his 21-day plan and 125 recipes. The plan is designed to help you “re-train your body and your taste buds so that you can start a life-long commitment to eating well—and loving every body-changing bite.”

Rather than offering lists of superfoods, Oz shares his vision for how to create a “superfood way of life.” He says the goal for this book is to instill habits rather than to offer silver bullets.

We give Dr. Oz three cheers for his thoughts on how food should be thought of as even more than just good for the physical body. “You should not only love the foods you eat, but also love the people you eat with. That way meals become memories.”

No-Excuses Salad Just One of Great Recipes in Book

No-Excuses Salad from FOOD CAN FIX IT (Scribner). Photo: Sarah Anne Ward

A trendy salad these days is one you can carry in a ball or Mason jar. Dr. Oz gives you step-by-step instructions in his No-Excuses Salad for how to layer salad dressing, veggies, protein foods like hard-boiled eggs or chicken and greens—all without creating a “soggy mess.”

Here’s how:

Bottom layer: Vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil (pour it in first so the rest of the ingredients don’t get soggy) Second layer: Crunchy vegetables Next layer: Sturdy foods like hardboiled eggs or chicken Top layer: Greens (so they don’t get crushed by the weight of the other add-ins)

Mix and match the ingredients as you like, then shake to coat with the dressing (or empty into a bowl) when you’re ready to dive in.

See Healthy Aging® Magazine for the following Dr. Oz recipes and more reviews of new cookbooks with recipe samplers:

Baked Eggs with Swiss Chard is one of his healthy breakfast or brunch recipes. Making four servings, it’s packed with Swiss chard, which will provide more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin K, he notes.

A unique take on Brussels sprouts is Special Occasion Veggies Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Grapes. The roasted sprouts are combined with roasted shallots and grapes and then topped with roasted almonds.

Excerpt from Food Can Fix It: The Superfood Switch to Fight Fat, Defy Aging and Eat Your Way Healthy by Dr. Mehmet Oz. ©2017 by Hearst Communications, Inc. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

This week, Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” sat down to explain to senators why he, as a surgeon and popular doctor, promotes what some experts have called unscientific claims about “magical” weight-loss products on his show.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. — chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance — led a panel on Tuesday (June 17) that targeted weight-loss diet products that their manufacturers claim will help consumers burn fat but have little or no reputable scientific data to support such claims.

“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it’s not true,” McCaskill told Oz.

On his show, Oz has called some herbal weight-loss products the “magic weight-loss cure” and “the No. 1 miracle in a bottle.” Once these products are mentioned on the show, they can sell out instantly — a phenomenon known as the “the Oz effect.”

However, Oz said he uses “flowery language” to give his audience a little nudge of hope and motivation to lose weight, because they already know that adjusting diet and exercising are the things they need to do.

He added that he personally believes in the products he promotes, even though scientifically, they might not hold up.

“I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show. I passionately study them. I recognize that, oftentimes, they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact. Nevertheless, I would give my audience the same advice I give my family, and I have given my family these products,” Oz said.

Here is a look at some of the supposedly metabolism-boosting, weight-loss supplements Oz has endorsed, for which there’s scarce scientific data:

Green coffee bean extract: Perhaps the most well-known weight-loss supplement that Oz has popularized is green coffee bean extract, whose major ingredients are chlorogenic acids. “You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight-loss cure for every body type. It’s green coffee extract,” Oz said about the supplement during an episode that aired in 2012.

Testifying in front of the panel, Oz defended his endorsement of green coffee beans by citing a study that found people who took the supplements did lose weight. However, that study was funded by the product’s manufacturer, McCaskill noted.

These purported weight-loss supplements could even be harmful, recent research suggests. A study in mice, published last year in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that chlorogenic acid in green coffee bean extract didn’t help prevent weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet and was linked to an unhealthy buildup of fat in the liver.

Raspberry ketone: Oz has called raspberry ketones “the No. 1 miracle” fat-burner. This compound found in raspberries has been tested in animals and in cells in the lab, but never for weight loss in humans. Some research in animals has suggested that it might increase some measures of metabolism. Still, there is no reliable scientific proof that it improves weight loss in people, and no study has examined its safety and dosage.

Garcinia cambogia extract: Garcinia cambogia is a small, tasty fruit native to Southeast Asia, and was featured in Oz’s “The Newest, Fastest Fat Busters” episode. The extract contains a compound called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that is touted for weight loss, but studies have produced mixed results. One study, a randomized controlled trial published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, even found that people who took the supplement as part of their weight-loss diet lost less weight than the control group who took a placebo.

African mango diet pill: Irvingia, or African mango extract, is another product touted for weight loss that Oz has talked about on his show. In a 2013 review of studies, published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, the researchers concluded that the effects of this supplement on body weight and related outcomes were unproven, and therefore, they said, the supplement could not be recommended as a weight-loss aid.

Saffron extract: This expensive, exotic spice that is frequently used in Middle Eastern cooking has much folklore describing its ability to lighten up mood, but modern science hasn’t found it is a “miracle appetite suppressant” as Oz has claimed. No independent studies of the supplement have found that it helps people lose weight.

Email Bahar Gholipour. Follow us @LiveScience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Mehmet Oz, MD, America’s #1 authority on health and well-being, explains how to harness the healing power of food in this “informative, accessible book filled with anecdotes, science, recipes, and guidelines for cooking, shopping, and eating out” (Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zone Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People).
What if there were a prescription that could slim, energize, and protect your body from major health risks? What if there were a remedy for everything from fatigue to stress to chronic pain? There is. In his groundbreaking new book, Dr. Oz introduces you to this wonder Rx—simple, healing, wholesome food. And he teaches readers how to shop healthy, cook healthy, and eat their way to a longer, healthier life.
Food Can Fix It lays out an easy-to-follow plan for harnessing the power of nutrition. With clear information and a meal plan full of superfoods, Dr. Oz explains how to kick-start weight loss, improve your energy, decrease inflammation, and prevent or alleviate a host of other common conditions—all without medication. This nutritional blueprint is backed up by thorough research and enriched with stories from Dr. Oz’s personal history, his family life, and his transformative work with patients.
The 21-Day Weight-Loss Jumpstart Plan provides quick, delicious recipes for meals and snacks that will help reverse damage caused by poor eating habits. And full-color photographs show you just how tempting good-for-you food can be.
Get started today on a healthy path for life with Food Can Fix It.
Food Can Fix It F.I.X.E.S:
Fats with Benefits
Ideal Proteins
Xtra Fruits and Veggies
Energizing Carbohydrates
Special-Occasion Sugar
“Hippocrates once said, ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food…’Now, with Food Can Fix It, Dr. Oz will teach everyone this valuable lesson and explain what it means and how to draw upon the amazing healing powers of food” (Sanjay Gupta, M.D., Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital, Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN, and contributor to 60 Minutes).

Pulling back the curtain on ‘The Doctors’ and ‘The Dr. Oz Show:’ What our analysis revealed

Earlier this month, Mehmet Oz, MD celebrated his 1,500th “Dr. Oz” show. Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King and Martha Stewart made appearances, proffering congratulations and discussing everything from mercury in fish to the #metoo movement.

I felt less jubilant: In the decade that The Dr. Oz Show has been on the air, it hasn’t been unusual for me to encounter patients who ask about topics, treatments and suggestions mentioned on the program and another popular medical show, “The Doctors.” The advice my patients tell me they’ve heard on these shows often does not square with what I know about the medical evidence.

While I may know that TV shows should be considered entertainment, my patients may not. After all, in our culture, a white coat and a “Dr.” title is a powerful symbol for a trustworthy person of knowledge.

TV shows likes these are, in part, why the American Medical Association recently formalized a set of guidelines titled “Ethical Physician Conduct in the Media,” which recognize our responsibility to use our knowledge and skills “for the benefit of the community as a whole.” It also highlighted the risks when medical advice is not appropriately conveyed or does not reflect the standard of care.

A deep dive into the accuracy of TV medical shows

It was that phrase–“standard of care”–that brought me back to a project I worked on in 2013 assessing the accuracy of health claims and recommendations made on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Doctors.”

The idea for the project came while I was speaking to colleagues about our experiences with “Dr. Oz phenomenon” — an exasperating situation involving answering a patient’s questions about claims they heard on the show. “Should I eat that berry to lose weight? Will that root extract boost my immunity? Can that supplement really prevent cancer?”

There are times when we know right away the answer is an emphatic no; other times we aren’t so sure. It is always possible we might miss some important new study and need to check the source of the information. With patients who are not simply inquiring, but instead telling us they were doing something based on a Dr. Oz recommendation, it also raises questions for us: Are there any harms that we should warn them about?

For the project, we sought to answer: What are the shows’ sources of information? Are they valid? Reliable? Trustworthy? And do they reflect “the standard of care?”

What we found: The recommendations made on these shows only occasionally follow evidence-based guidelines. Often, we couldn’t find any literature citation (such as a medical study) to confirm the claims made on the show. The costs and harms of the suggested treatments were often overlooked. And, the hosts on the show frequently hawked products made by companies that advertise on the show.

How we collected information

My colleague Dr. Jeffrey Weinfeld, medical librarian Michele Malloy, and I enlisted a group of medical students to tape and view all episodes of “The Doctors” and “The Dr. Oz Show” airing during a full month.

Our students logged all the health recommendations made on the shows, and noted whether harms or costs were discussed, and if a source or reference was given for the health recommendation. Our students also watched and noted the advertisements aired during the show and tracked whether advertisements were related to the show’s content, possibly suggesting a conflict of interest.

We counted more than 300 health recommendations, and we randomly selected a subset of them for further analysis. Our analysis included categorizing each statement into one of several “levels of evidence” based on a standard evidence-based medicine best practice resource (the Oxford Centre for EBM), and searching the medical literature to find the source of the information.

We further classified each source we found for the on-air recommendation into the following categories: 1) significantly supports claim, 2) supports claim but with limited statistical strength, 3) supports claim with extrapolation (i.e. animal study, in vitro, very small sample size), 4) unclear, 5) no source identified matching claim.

What we discovered

While it was common for the shows to make medical recommendations, these recommendations typically didn’t include discussions of the risks or costs of treatment:

  • On average, there were 6.91 (Dr. Oz) and 9.55 (The Doctors) health recommendations made per show.
  • Discussion of potential harms or risks were noted in only 8.6% of Dr. Oz’s recommendations, and in 13.1% of The Doctors’ recommendations.
  • The cost of the various recommended interventions was mentioned 23.7% of the time on the Dr. Oz show, and 3.1% of the time for The Doctors.

Nor did the recommendations typically follow evidence-backed guidelines:

  • About 78% of statements made on the Dr. Oz show did not align with evidence-based medical guidelines, society recommendations, or authority statements. For The Doctors, this was about 80%.

More than half of all recorded shows had content linked directly to advertisements:

  • In the Dr. Oz show: 13 out of 19 (68.4%) shows had ads related to general show content, 11 /19 (57.9%) had specific products mentioned by the host using their commercial name, and 4/11 (36.3%) shows mentioning products by name named more than one product.
  • In The Doctors: 12 out of 18 (66.7%) shows had ads related to general show content, 13 /18 (68.4%) had specific products mentioned by the host using their commercial name and 11/13 (84.6%) shows mentioning products by name named more than one product.

The literature supporting the recommendations was weak, and sometimes non-existent:

  • For both shows, about half of the literature supporting the claims made on the show television was statistically insignificant or required extensive extrapolation. No literature support could be found for about a third of the claims. Of the supporting evidence we could find, about a third had Oxford EBM classification 3b or lower (the lower end of what’s considered good quality evidence).

What we learned

We started the project having serious questions about the quality, validity and accuracy of the advice given during daytime health talk shows, and at the end, we weren’t reassured.

A scene from “The Doctors” TV show.

Our results lent further support to the general feeling among many scientists and clinicians of the shows’ sub-par level of evidence and low quality of information.

Many of the studies we identified as potentially providing support for the claims made on the shows were problematic–with only a few people enrolled, or they were animal-based, or “test tube” studies. If these sources we found are indeed the sources of information used for the shows, then it appears the show researchers frequently relied on preliminary findings–in lab animals, tissue samples, or very small human trials–and then applied them to everyone.

This practice is at best misleading to the general viewer, and potentially harmful to viewers and patients with serious or chronic illnesses.

Finding a match or a source in the literature for a recommendation made on the show – even when the searching was conducted by highly skilled individuals with years of experience combing the medical literature – proved to be extremely time-consuming. It would be especially challenging for a lay person to find sources: Our searches were conducted with access to subscription databases and journals not always available outside of academic settings.

How could these shows improve?

A segment from The Dr. Oz Show

Given their huge popularity, these shows aren’t likely to go away. Instead of presenting dubious claims, they have an opportunity to be leaders in health promotion and education. The AMA guidelines mentioned earlier provide important starting points to bridge that gap.

At a minimum, my colleagues and I believe that these TV shows must:

  • be clear about study limitations (e.g. animal study);
  • be clear about information sources used;
  • be upfront about potential harms;
  • be transparent about conflicts of interest and advertiser influence

Transparency must take priority, allowing viewers and healthcare providers to find the information sources used to back their claims. This can easily be addressed by providing the citations or links on the shows’ websites, after or during the rolling of the credits, or by putting them at the bottom of the screen. At the moment, it doesn’t appear that anything like this exists–an “important message” from Dr. Oz is all we could find about the claims made on the site. We could find no sources or disclaimers on the The Doctors web site.

We also think the shows could raise their ethical standing by acknowledging when a product or brand being discussed on the show is linked to an advertiser. As the very least, there could be disclosure at the bottom of the screen in the final credits, or on the shows’ websites, that explains the connections.

Show staff should develop or adopt internal review criteria that are responsible and viewer-centered, perhaps adapting already existing standards of quality health reporting such as those suggested by HealthNewsReview.org.

At the same time, we continue to encourage our patients, the viewers of these shows, to embrace skepticism and to recognize that TV entertainment is not, and should not be, a source for high-quality medical advice.

As one Twitter commenter recently noted on a Dr. Oz tweet promoting a segment about detoxing with tea: “One good way to start a detox is to stop listening to Dr. Oz.”

Review of the Dr. Oz Diet Plans

Dr. Oz believes the detox diet is essentially for a body to lose weight since it allows the body to be cleansed from dangerous toxins and have them flushed out of the body. Dr. Oz’s version of the detox diet doesn’t involve starving the body and includes foods like quinoa, kale, pineapple and various other fruit and vegetables to eat for 48 hours.

“The 17 Day Diet” is a book by Dr. Mike Moreno and is actually not promoted or encouraged by Dr. Oz. It consists of 4 different cycles of eating that are done in 17 days and people have shown rapid weight loss by following the weight plan exactly and is based around the concept of body confusion for weight loss.

Dr. Oz supports the belief of the belly fat diet. His thought is that there are certain foods that will make your belly flat and likewise certain foods that will make your belly fat. Foods that can make your belly flat include chocolate, peanut butter, and guacamole. But foods that can make your body fat are cheese, red wine, and margarine.

In 2011, Dr. Oz came out with an 11 week diet plan that could be customized to individuals. The idea involved signing up and agreeing to eat less and move more and checking in each day to stay connected and motivated to the goals over the 11 week process. All the tools and support were given during the 11 week challenge and at the time, Dr. Oz even offered prizes to participants.

The HCG diet consists of taking daily shots or HCG supplements and restricting calories to 500 a day. Dr. Oz does not approve of the HCG diet for this reason because it requires starving the body and will not provide long term weight loss. It is just a quick way to lose weight but can be deadly due to the serious health risks of only eating 500 calories a day.

YOU: On a Diet is a plan that is designed by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen that is supposed to be a life-changing and healthy diet plan to follow. The goal of the plan is to make healthy changes to the diet so one doesn’t feel like they are dieting and mainly requires dropping 100 calories a day.

The Dukan diet is a new trend that claims that one can lose weight while still eating whatever they want and is broken down into 4 phases. But Dr. Oz would modify the Dukan diet to cut out simple white carbohydrates every day. He recommends modifying the Dukan diet so it is more like his Ultimate Diet which is more stable.

Dr. Oz supports the use of the African mango diet in a limited fashion. Dr. Oz feels like the African mango is a great supplement to add to the diet to help in weight loss efforts and helps suppress hunger in a healthy way. African mango helps to add fiber to the diet and should be used in connection with other healthy eating plans and methods.

Dr. Oz fully supports the true Mediterranean diet as a great method for staying healthy. On his show, Dr. Oz has discussed how those that have followed the Mediterranean diet closely have reduced their risk of death by 20%. It focuses on eating healthy fats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains for optimal health benefits.

The Prehistoric diet was ahead of its time and is a great diet for people to follow today, according to Dr. Oz. The prehistoric diet focuses on eating a plant based diet and results in lean body mass and a healthy overall feeling. Only 10% of the daily diet really needs to come from protein which is what the prehistoric diet focuses on.

Dr. Oz is neutral on the blood type diet. The blood type diet encourages eating a specific diet based on one’s blood type and it goes back to the concept of eating like our ancestors used to eat since it’s based on genetics and culture. There is no solid proof that this diet works but it is not harmful either, according to Dr. Oz.

Dr. Oz promotes the one day diet which essentially is the idea that each day is the first day of the diet. Most people are great on the first day of a diet and then fade away so by looking at each day as the first day, more people are likely to stick to the one day diet and follow it.

Dr. Oz supports drinking smoothies to help with diet but not as a complete diet. His favorite smoothie consists of combining and blending: 1 banana, ¼ cup blueberries, a handful of hemp nuts, ½ cup apple juice, and 1 tsp rhodiola rosea. This smoothie is a great boost to the day and will help with weight loss when combined with other parts of a healthy lifestyle.

A 48 hour cleanse is the type of cleansing diet that Dr. Oz approves of and encourages. A 48 hour cleanse requires eating only certain foods for 48 hours that will help the functioning of the liver, the colon, and the kidneys and still provide them with the correct nutrients that they need.

Dr. Oz has provided a list of 99 diet foods that he feels are the best. Not all diet foods are created equal so Dr. Oz suggests printing out his list of 99 diet foods and focus on purchasing them at the grocery store and taking the guess work out of which diet foods are best.

The vegan diet is suggested by Dr. Oz for those who have a problem with portion sizes. By not paying attention to portion sizes, many people end up getting more fat and protein into their diet than they should. Going vegan for 28 days is great for overall health and cholesterol levels.

Dr. Oz encourages the anti-inflammatory diet that was designed by an alternative health expert named Dr. Andrew Weil. With his food pyramid, the optimum amount of vegetables, fruits and even pasta are consumed to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

By eliminating a lot of the carbohydrate intake, Dr. Oz believes that it will help people lose weight. A low carb diet should work on getting rid of refined white foods like breads and starchy potatoes. It doesn’t mean that people can’t eat any carbohydrates but rather choose carefully the type of carbs that they are consuming in their diet.

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