Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Dr. Oz Files

Dr. Oz, Oprah's health guru and now self-proclaimed "diet doctor" as well, has a couple shows on the Discovery Health Channel. He has at least 2 shows (that I'm aware of), guest appearances on Oprah, and his own talk radio show too...he's really pimping himself out. For some reason, I won't pass up an opportunity to watching/listening to him even though I disagree with 75% of what he recommends.

I watched one of his shows, "The Dr. Oz Files: Defeating Obesity." In it, he recruited 5 or so obese subjects and put them on his diet and exercise program (as dictated by his book, I'm sure) for 6 months. Oh, but one caveat, one subject got gastric bypass surgery right before the start of the program. Obviously, she's going to lose a significant amount of weight whether she follows his program or not. Dr. Oz then ambushes her husband, obviously reluctant to even speak to him, and proceeds to berate him on his waist circumference and inability to do numerous sit-ups. Dr. Oz shoved his book in the poor man's arms and told him to starve himself and work-out until exhaustion (o.k. that was my interpretation of what he said). Unfortunately, this man was obviously not ready to change his lifestyle. He had no motivation to do so. You can't make someone lose weight if they haven't already decided it for themselves. That's the first step, Dr. Oz.

What was most appalling about the entire show was the recommendation of a diet pill to one of the subjects to "help her stick with the diet". Why, Dr. Oz, are you promoting a diet that is doomed for failure if people have a hard time staying on the plan? Isn't there something inherently wrong with that? I understand that dieting is not easy but it doesn't have to be miserable either. You don't need to heavily salivate while you're glued to the Food Network. You don't need to make up any excuse not to exercise because your dead dog tired because you are starving yourself. I wonder what his maintenance plan looks like? Probably just adding a mere 150 extra calories a day? (He made a statement on the Oprah show that it's only a matter of ~150 calories that make the difference between maintaining and losing weight.) That's a lick of peanut butter! Sorry, Dr. Oz, it's not that simple. The human body can easily adapt and adjust to a diet minus 150 calories. What do you do then? Cut out another 150 calories until eventually you're just eating lettuce leaves and celery? Will these dieters stay on the Dr. Oz plan for life? I sincerely doubt it. This is exactly why 95% of all dieters fail or regain the lost weight within 5 years. They are just not satiated.

Many of Dr. Oz's dieters hit a plateau mid-way through this process. Dr. Oz tended to blame it on the subjects. "They aren't motivated." "They cheated." "They weren't exercising enough." The finger always pointed at the dieters...not the weaknesses in his program. In actuality, many dieters hit plateaus no matter what program they are on. Dr. Oz wouldn't know this because he's never been obese (and probably never even overweight). Dr. Oz doesn't have a metabolic disorder of producing too much insulin than shuttles every ounce of food consumed directed in the fat cells. His metabolism is normal. If he's gained a couple pounds, it's easy for him to tighten up his dietary bootstraps by omitting some ice cream here and potato chips there and maybe even jogging an extra lap. His metabolism will respond to these minor adjustments. However, for an obese person, it will not. Obesity is a disease. A disease of a defective metabolism that overreacts to carbohydrates by the action of the pancreas overproducing insulin. Once the insulin has stuffed all the sugar (glucose) from the blood into the fat cell (because insulin is lipogenic), your blood is now depleted of sugar, due to the excess insulin, and you my begin to experience hypoglycemia (i.e. you are hungry again, especially for carbs). Thus sustaining the constant hunger and overeating cycle that led to obesity in the first place.

It is solid science that insulin is lipogenic and thus stores fat. It has been known in the past as the "fat hormone". So, why is it that doctors, dietitians, and government officials refuse to acknowledge the therapeutic properties of a carbohydrate-free diet? Not only in weight management, but for a host of other chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, PCOS, hypoglycemia, possibly cancer and obviously obesity. But that's for another post.

Anyway, the participants did not lose all the weight they wanted in the 6 month time period (nor would I expect them to). However, they did not say how close each one was to goal. Of course, they highlighted the woman who received the gastric bypass surgery. "She lost an amazing 70 lbs!" Of course she did!!! Another woman lost 45 pounds. Pretty good, however, she was still overweight but Oz claims she is now "thin". How's the denial workin' for ya, Oz?

The true test is if they lose all their weight and keep it off. I'll bet money they won't follow up with these people a year from now, let alone 5 years.

1 comment:

michele said...

amen! that was really well written.