Do you trust the experts on the Dr. Oz Show? Here's why you should rethink that strategy!"Dr." Lindsey DuncanThat the Oz Show isn't much more than a vehicle to sell stuff we already suspected. What's really amazing is how willingly Oz and his producers go along with deception.When green coffee bean extract was touted on the Dr. Oz Show, it was with the help of one Lindsey Duncan.Oz grandly introduced him as a "certified nutritionist" and "naturopathic doctor," although the first title means nothing and the second came from a diploma mill.But that's not even half of it. The FTC now fined Duncan for $9 million (PDF) and their documents give us a very interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Dr. Oz Show.Wanna Be Our Expert?Beyond his bogus titles the so-called “Dr.” Duncan was nothing but an executive at two supplement companies. Companies who didn’t even sell green coffee beans before they were contacted by Oz producers:
We are working on a segment about the weight loss benefits of green coffee bean and I was hoping that Lindsey Duncan might be available to be our expert. Has he studied green coffee bean at all? Would he be able to talk about how it works?Duncan knew zilch about green coffee beans and what they could (or could not) do for weight loss, but was more than willing to say whatever was needed. He had appeared on the show before and maybe its producers believed he was a reliable old horse that delivers."The Oz Effect On Steroids!"And he did. Quickly rising to the occasion, Duncan and the companies behind him ordered pills from green coffee bean extract producers, set up websites where you could buy the stuff and bought online advertising. They also informed Wal-Mart to expect a huge increase in green coffee bean extract sales once the show was broadcasted:
We just left a taping at the Dr. Oz show today, and Dr. Lindsey unveiled a new supplement that millions of Americans are going to want when this show airs in 2 weeks, and we have a product developed and ready to produce for Dept. 82 at Walmart. You are probably aware of the ‘Oz Effect,’ this will be the Oz Effect on steroids!Oz Happily Goes AlongOn the show Duncan used a carefully prepared script that informed viewers how many pills they would need. He also repeatedly mentioned the exact phrase "pure green coffee bean capsules" – the one his staff had used on all the websites they had set up and which they wanted viewers to type into search engines.All the while Oz happily nodded along with whatever scientific sounding jargon "Dr." Duncan came up with. From the FTC's transcript of the show (PDF):
Dr. Oz: So, how does it work?Duncan: Well, it’s amazing. It’s what we call the triple threat. Okay, and it’s the chlorogenic acid that causes the effect, and it works three ways. The first way is it goes in and it causes the body to burn glucose or sugar and burn fat, mainly in the liver. The second way, and the most important way, is it slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, so when you don’t have sugar building up in the bloodstream you don’t have fat building up because sugar turns to fat. And everybody must remember that.Dr. Oz: Right.Duncan: When the two are combined together, you get this synergistic effect that basically burns and blocks and stops fat, but it also is natural and safe.Dr. Oz: So, how much do folks have to take in order to get the benefit?We have to remember that this a real doctor, with a real medical degree, who interviews a "naturopathic doctor" and all he comes up with after hearing this nonsense is how much people need of it.Does Oz Admit Fault?Is all this any reason for Oz to repent? To fess up and say, hey, we were way too uncritical and in the future will take greater care with whatever we present to you? No. A statement on his website reads:
In prior seasons, we covered Green Coffee Extract and its potential as a useful tool for weight loss. Recently the authors of the peer reviewed research paper on which our coverage had been partially based formally retracted their study. While this sometimes happens in scientific research, it indicates that further study is needed regarding any potential benefits of Green Coffee Extract.When you scrutinize this between the lines it comes out as "we prematurely heralded the weight loss effect of green coffee beans, but who knows, future research could show it works! It's not our, it's science's fault that the evidence isn't there yet."Pictures courtesy of David Berkowitz and Alan Cleaver.