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First ten, and more recently 1,000 doctors have demanded the ouster of American daytime TV doctor Mehmet Oz from Columbia University, but he's not as harmful as his critics say.

There is no better known doctor in the USA than Mehmet Oz.  The son of a physician father and a pharmacist mother, both of whom emigrated from Turkey to the United States in the 1950's, Dr Oz was a well-regarded cardiothoracic surgeon and professor of medicine at Columbia University in New York City before he became a fixture on the Oprah show and later the host of his own hour-long, daily, nationally televised health program. Oz is the author (with Dr Michael Roizen) of six New York Times bestsellers. He has a regular column in Esquire and in Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine, and he also has a publication entitled Dr Oz THE GOOD LIFE (capitals in the title) that comes out every other month. Oz has received awards ranging from a Daytime Emmy to Turkish-American of the Year.

In 2014, Dr Oz testified before the US Congress with, one could say, unfortunate results. He was ridiculed for his use of the terms "magic" and "miracle" with regard to a particular brand of green coffee bean extract that was later found to have been fraudently promoted, its makers paying a $3.5 million fine to the Federal Trade Commission. In 2015, first ten and later 1,000 American doctors called for Dr Oz's ouster from his academic post at Columbia University, although the university fired back with remonstrations of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

Is Dr Oz really as bad as he is made out to be? Let's take an objective look at the evidence, from an outside-of-America point of view. Not to be offensive to American readers, but lots of Europeans think you really aren't the brightest bulbs on the Marquis. You and I know better. It's all in interpretation.

Dr Oz stated that every preschool child in America needs to get fish oil and vitamin D capsules to prevent concussions.

Let's think about this for a moment. Fish oil and vitamin D are very popular. Nonetheless, most American children don't get them packed in their lunch boxes by their mommies every day. Probably most children who suffer concussions don't get fish oil and vitamin D every day, either.

There's only one conclusion, of course! Fish oil and vitamin D capsule deficiency cause concussions in preschoolers! Since cod liver oil contains both vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, it's as good as wearing a helmet. What American daytime television viewer would have a problem with that argument? These viewers would not be the people many Europeans talk about. Despite the impression one can get from American television, most Americans actually are intelligent.

Dr Oz promoted green coffee bean extract as a "magic" "miracle" cure for obesity.

No one should have a problem with this claim. Millions of Americans know the history of Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack sold the cow (no more of that fattening butter and cream for him) for a handful of magic beans. It even helped him exercise, since his mother chased him up the beanstalk when she found out about it.

See Also: Dietary Supplements: How Important Are They For Health?

The miracle about green coffee bean extract is you don't even have to sell your cow to buy it, and if it's magical, surely you will lose weight. (Actually, green coffee bean extracts can be helpful in some circumstances and for certain kinds of diet, but most people would not consider the extra weight loss a "miracle." They would consider it the results of a diet.)

Dr Oz's Advice Isn't Entirely Untrustworthy

Some critics of Dr Oz would have you believe that everything he says is untrustworthy. This is simply a false accusation. A group of Canadian researchers publishing their findings in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) did a comprehensive analysis of the medical advice given on the Dr Oz show in 2014. Fully 46 percent of Dr Oz's recommendations were found to be evidence-based, with at least a case study (that is, the recommendation had actually been tried by at least one person somewhere at sometime) to support their credibility, even though nearly no recommendations were based on mainstream science. Sure, that leaves 54 percent of his recommendations that are not fact-based, but a mere 15 percent were found to be outright lies. Reserachers simply found "no evidence" rather than contradictory evidence for most of the rest of the show's claims.

Dr Oz's Recommendations Are Not Hard to Follow

The BMJ researchers noted that recommendations to viewers of the Dr Oz Show are not burdensome. Only one recommendation in ten suggested seeing a doctor. Only one recommendation in twenty suggested doing exercise. To be sure, Dr Oz and his guests promised a specific result only 40 percent of the time, but as long as you are spending your money of the supplements you promote, you don't need to bother with seeing a doctor.

Most Dr Oz Show Recommendations Involve Eating More Food

Who doesn't enjoy new taste sensations? The largest group of Dr Oz's recommendations, about 40 percent, involve eating more food. Only in America is eating more considered a way to weigh less, but Dr Oz understands the American attitude on diet and weight loss. You just need to give the bad food you are already eating, and start cooking and buying the good food that you can only learn about on the show.

Dr Oz's Recommendations Are Reliably Hallal

Dr Oz is one of America's most famous Muslims (although his practice of Reiki seems a little odd in that context). The Dr Oz Show never recommends you eat bacon cheeseburgers or black pudding, or any other foods that would be offensive to Islam. It's not that easy to find programs on American Tv that promote hallal eating.

Is Dr Oz Just Another Quack, as Some Suggest? No!

Dr Oz is no ordinary quack doctor. That is one thing on which everyone can agree. There is nothing ordinary about Dr Oz.

It isn't fair to say that the celebrity doctor just does his show for the money, either. In 2012, Dr Oz's salary, according ot the website The Richest, was a mere $4 million per year, and his apartment in New York City was valued at less than $7 million. Surely American viewers would not think that these sums could cause someone to give knowingly false health advice, when so many public personalities in the USA earn so much more.

American readers, does any of this report strike you as maybe a little sarcastic, like it was making fun of Dr Oz viewers? That is not the intention. This article is strictly factual. The statistics are documented in the British Journal of Medicine, cited below. People in other countries don't have the American concept of free speech, but people all around the world will someday owe a great debt to viewers of the Dr Oz Show.

See Also: Paleolithic Diet: Were Our Ancestors Healthier?

Following the doctor's weight loss advice, you will inevitably gain weight. The United States will sink, and the chasm created will save the rest of the world from rising sea levels. Please, Americans, do the rest of the world a huge favor, and keep getting your advice from your daytime TV.

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  • Korownyk C, Kolber MR, McCormack J, Lam V, Overbo K, Cotton C, Finley C, Turgeon RD, Garrison S, Lindblad AJ, Banh HL, Campbell-Scherer D, Vandermeer B, Allan GM. Televised medical talk shows--what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. BMJ. 2014 Dec 17
  • 349:g7346. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g7346. PMID: 25520234.
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