The new year is upon us, and weight loss is something most people have on their mind. How timely to read a Slate article on one of America’s most beloved and popular adviser on the matter – Dr. Mehmet Oz. It’s quite a lengthy read, but the authors sum it up nicely in the subtitle
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
That’s a pretty damning accusation. but Slate nicely backs it up, showing time and again how products that the famous doc has recommended on his show were at best placebos, with little or no weight loss or other health benefits. What’s particularly worrisome is the fact that Dr. Oz is a highly credentialed physician (Ivy league schools) and has published hundreds of academic papers.
So why is such a reputable doctor behaving more like a quack than a responsible physician?
Our take – ratings. It’s TV people. Dr. Oz needs high ratings. He needs to instill hope in his audience’s hearts. Which story is going to have more success with his fans – the real world facts where weight loss is a long gruesome road, or a breaking story about a NEW MIRACLE SUPPLEMENT THAT LITERALLY BURNS THE FAT OFF YOUR BUNS WHILE YOU ORDER A COMBO MEAL.
Not to pick just on Dr. OZ, the Biggest Loser is coming back for its 14th (!) season in a few days. In a world ruled by ratings, the producers needed to innovate, and this time they are bringing 3 kids onto the show.
WTF? Are these people sane? It’s bad enough that adult contestants face emotional trauma during (and after) their participation. Now teens???
Lessons to be learned: TV is not the real world. Even reality shows are not real. In the real world, there are no weight loss miracles. In the real world, losing weight too quickly is not only dangerous, it may lead to a rapid weight gain within a few months. In the real world, you should plan on a long and slow road to health, a marathon. In the real world, only sustainable habit changes can lead to a life long weight reduction. So spare yourself the agony of buying Dr. Oz recommended products and waiting for results that don’t appear. And try not to be the biggest loser yourself, rather the longest-term loser (even though you won’t get onto a reality show for that).