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Dr Oz and the never-ending infomercial

Many pieces about Dr. Mehmet Oz start something like this: “Dr. Mehmet Oz, respected cardiothoracic surgeon…”. I have no idea what kind of surgeon he is, and I’m betting most people who write about him don’t know either. Given his extensive training, he’s probably a technically good surgeon. Looking at his list of publications, he’s done some interesting work. So why has he gone off the deep end of imaginary medicine?

Two reasons come to mind: either he’s a true believer and is able to hold onto real medical science and superstitious health ideas at the same time, or he’s in it for the money. Or both.

He sure seems to be in bed with some sketchy people. Over at his website he’s posted the “Oz-Approved 7-Day Crash Diet.” Oz has helped developed evidence-based guidelines on the prevention of heart disease, so maybe it’s only the title that’s wacky.

Nope—the whole thing is out to lunch. It’s a diet developed by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a name well-known to medical skeptics. His writings seem to indicate a belief that all diseases are preventable, and that diet is key to this prevention. No sane physician would argue against proper diet in the prevention and treatment of disease, but no knowledgeable physician would argue that proper diet can prevent all heart attacks and strokes.

Given the source of Dr. Oz’s “crash diet”, we need to examine the details. Is it standard evidence-based dietary advice dressed up fancy, or is it something only tangentially related to reality?

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