Mehmet Oz, once one of the nation’s top heart surgeons, has faced recent deserved criticism in his new role as daytime television host, promoter of unproven dietary supplements, and shill for “alternative” woo-medicine. This week, that criticism came from a high place: The United States Senate.
Testifying before a subcommittee on consumer protection, Dr. Oz admitted that much of his advice on weight-loss supplements isn’t backed up by sound science. Under questioning from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, Oz conceded that “I recognize [some supplements] don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact.”
That brought a rebuke from McCaskill. The Senator dryly noted, “The scientific community is almost monolithically against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called miracles.” We don’t expect being on the wrong side of a monolithic scientific consensus will have much of an effect on Dr. Oz, because he’s a pitchman for more quackery than just unproven supplements.
We’d go a bit farther. Much of what is touted on The Dr. Oz show doesn’t “have the scientific muster to present as fact.” Oz has bashed genetically improved foods (GIFs)—despite an overwhelming scientific consensus that they are as safe as non-GIF foods—even citing a debunked and now-retracted study to support his anti-scientific views.
Dr. Oz has also hosted other kooks of the “alternative medicine” world who happen to be leading anti-GIF activists. FDA-warned anti-vaccine scaremonger Joseph Mercola, who happens to be a leading funder of the “GMO labeling” activists, has repeatedly appeared on Oz’s show.
“Yogic flyer” (yes, it’s a thing) and anti-GIF activist with the misnamed “Institute for Responsible Technology” Jeffrey Smith has also been given daytime airtime with Dr. Oz. Smith recently told the Poughkeepsie Journal that his organization has a “master plan” to abolish GIFs—a decision that, as we noted earlier this week, could lead to continued malnutrition and death for hundreds of thousands worldwide.
Dr. Oz has spread other food myths, too. A Food and Drug Administration science advisor wrote to Dr. Oz telling him not to spread a scare about apple juice based on a misunderstanding of chemistry. The show has also repeatedly featured proponents of the dubious notion of “food addiction,” including one who believes that bread is “poison.”
A legacy of questionable advice and now a Senate grilling show one thing clearly. The Dr. Oz Show is simply not credible.