Miracles, revolutionary breakthroughs, silver bullets: In the real world of weight loss, they manifest rarely, if ever. But what if I said that you could regularly discover simple ways to change your life, all from the cushioned confines of your sofa?
Mid-afternoon, your living room: a magical time and place. With a mere flip of the television channel, you can enter a fantastical realm where magic is a common occurrence. Welcome to the Dr. Oz Show.
"You may think magic is make believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they've found the magic weight loss cure for every body type. It's green coffee extract."
"I've got the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It's raspberry ketone."
“Garcinia cambogia: It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”
In the five years that Dr. Mehmet Oz has been on the air, he's shared no less than sixteen weight loss "panaceas," "game-changers," and "miracles." (Source: I read the synopsis for every single episode, all 775 of them. And that miracle count is likely low, owing to the fact that my reading transformed to skimming around episode 300. My eyes were melting.) From metabolism boosters, to diet plans, to pills, Oz's recommendations guarantee to help you shed the pounds fast.
So why is there still an obesity epidemic?
According to the most recent Gallup-Healthways poll, America's obesity rate ticked up a full percentage point between 2012 and 2013. Moreover, new CDC data from October shows that that prevalence of adult obesity did not change between 2009-2010 and 2011-2012. There was a slight drop in the overall rate to 34.9%, but it was statistically insignificant.
With an arsenal of weight loss miracles at Americans' disposal courtesy of Dr. Oz, there must be a reason that we're still languishing in lard. Perhaps most Americans just haven't heard about them? Maybe those that have can't afford them? Perhaps we're using them incorrectly?
Or perhaps, Oz's purported miracles simply don't work. Let's consider the three aforementioned weight loss solutions. Green coffee extract has had spotty performance in clinical trials; hardly a breakthrough. Garcinia cambogia has fared even worse. A systematic review noted small, short term slimming effects, but the compound's efficacy could not be substantiated in the long term. As for raspberry ketone, well, it hasn't even been specifically tested in humans yet.
Of course, obesity in America does not rise and fall with the whims of Dr. Oz. Though he holds the attention of approximately four million daily viewers, he's not solely responsible for curtailing America's collective girth. To say so would be ridiculous.
But equally ridiculous is the notion of a weight-loss "miracle." From his trusted position, Dr. Oz simply masquerades marketing as medicine, trumpeting outlandish claims on the backs of poorly conducted science and insignificant data. In the end, it's all for ratings.
Who knows? Scientists may one day discover a single pill that will quickly and healthily slim us down. But when it's created, you certainly won't hear about it first from Dr. Oz.
(Image: Associated Press)