|Photo courtesy of Oprah.com|
But I have to admit, he is like a train wreck, however. I see something he says or writes, and I can't turn away despite all my best intentions.
The train wreck I couldn't turn away from this time was a link I saw via Twitter to his Swimsuit Slimdown Plan. The article starts by evoking fond memories of your childhood, spending carefree days on the beach or by the pool. It goes on to point out how many of us avoid these situations as an adult because of the fear of getting into a bathing suit. The article pulls at your emotions and then reels you in with the common "diet mentality" hook:
You can stay inside all summer, wearing layer upon layer to hide your trouble spots, or always swim in a scuba suit. Alternately, if you’re ready to crank up your confidence, you can follow Dr. Oz’s smart and simple steps to lose weight, feel fit, and regain the confidence you need to wear your bathing suitWhat is this amazing plan you ask? Well let's take a closer look. It starts like any other fad diet with simple, easy steps to losing weight and a better life. The first step is to "Sip Smart" with a drink made from 1 cup of grapefruit juice and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Sounds a little tart to me, and maybe to some others too because Dr. Oz allows you to add 1 teaspoon of honey to make the drink a little more palatable. How generous of you doctor! The premise for this drink, (which is supposed to be consumed before each meal) is that it is high in Vitamin C which Dr. Oz argues will help burn fat DURING exercise. He cites one study (no link supplied of course) which found that participants with adequate Vitamin C levels burned 30% more fat during moderate exercise than those with lower Vitamin C levels. I found the study that the article references here but I could find no others that support this finding...shocking right? The final sentence is another example of Dr. Oz's fad diet sell:
Drink Dr. Oz’s secret slimdown drink before every meal and you’ll literally burn away your fat while enjoying a citrusy delight.Part two of the plan is my favorite. The "slimdown salad" is comprised of 1 bunch of dandelion greens, 1 cup of watermelon and parsley. The "diet" says that you'll get plenty of healthy protein from the dandelion greens. Yes, you will get protein from the dandelion greens but according to this nutrition data, you'll get a whole gram of protein for each cup of greens. One measly gram! Seriously Dr. Oz, no one on your staff could Google "protein content in dandelion greens" and find that one gram of protein will not fill you up? The watermelon is included in the salad because it is a "good source" of arginine, "which might promote weight loss" according to a study quoted by Dr. Oz. The study was from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition and can be seen here. I'll let you read the full article but the basic gist is that lab rats (n=8 in each of four treatment groups) that were supplemented with over 1 gram of arginine per day had less fat accumulation than the other groups of rats. So, arginine MAY help prevent fat mass accumulation (according to 1 study of just 24 rats) but this begs the question how much arginine is in a serving of watermelon? Well there is a total of 86.7 mg per 1 cup. Wow, an amazing 86.7 mg! Stand back fat, prepare to meet your doom. IF the study on arginine is true and it helped, why would you only choose 86.7 mg of arginine? If you wanted arginine in the salad, why not just add one cup of cooked lentils to the salad which would give you 1380 mg of arginine, 16 grams of dietary fiber and 18 grams of protein? Now that will fill you up! But this salad is not being sold to you for taste or for flavor but only as a miracle fat burner high...a quick fix.
The other two parts of this genius summer slimdown is to buy a $40 bottle of aminophylline cream to reduce cellulite and a "sculping" exercise routine that can be done in just 5 minutes each morning. Since I'm a dieitian I'll focus my critique on the nutrition content of the article and just summarize these two points simply by saying they are more quick fixes from the doctor.
This article bothers me on so many levels. First off the research Dr. Oz is highlighting are singular studies on a topic and without large scale validity. Secondly, the nutrition advice does not support the "diet's" goals and it looks like it has come out of a lab and not based on building appealing, delicious and nutritious meals. Why would I want to drink vinegar and grapefruit juice before each meal? Come on! Lastly, the reason this bothers me the most is that Dr. Oz is abusing his MD credential. He is another example of how celebreties use their name to promote a quick fix to weight loss. Is this any different than Kirstie Alley or Charles Barkley? Sure Dr. Oz is not selling any supplements but he is selling himself, his reputation and in this case, a fad diet.
There is no simple four step plan to health, weight loss or summer happiness. This is just another in a long series of diets that MIGHT help you temporarily but they won't provide any long-term solution. Your solution to health lies within you. You will discover your own healthy life when you finally reject the diets, honor you hunger, make peace with food, respect your fullness and stop using food to cope with your emotions. That is how Intuitive Eating works. Why not start to listen to what your body is telling you about your food choices? With some practice you will begin to intuitively know what foods make you feel best.
As always, I welcome your comments.