Dr. Oz Slammed For Weight Loss Supplement 'Botched Study': FTC Fines Firm $3.5 Million

Dr. Mehmet Oz discovered early in his TV talk show career that weight loss supplements win for ratings. Dr. Oz served up "miracles" on a weekly basis, telling viewers that he had found products such as "fat burners in a bottle" (raspberry ketones) and "the ultimate fat burner that works" (green coffee bean extract). But as supplement companies quickly hopped on the pounds-off parade that he orchestrated, Dr. Oz had his name plastered over products copying his claims and even using his image to make money off his fat-melting "miracles." A Senate hearing took place recently, and now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined one of those companies $3.5 million for creating a product built on the "phony science" of Dr. Oz, reported Fortune magazine on September 8.

The FTC slammed Applied Food Sciences for marketing green coffee bean extract as a weight loss supplement. And in doing so, it also attacked the false claims and lack of scientific evidence around which Dr. Oz built episode after episode highlighting his weight loss wizardry.

"Applied Food Sciences knew or should have known that this botched study didn't prove anything," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. "In publicizing the results, it helped fuel the green coffee phenomenon."

Dr. Oz attempted to plead for his decision to hype hope on his show when he appeared before a Senate subcommittee. But Dr. Oz blamed marketing companies rather than take a share of the blame, reported the Consumerist on September 8.

"I do think I've made it more difficult for the FTC," Dr. Oz confessed before the Senate panel. "In the intent to engage viewers, I use flowery language. I used language that was very passionate that ended up being not very helpful but incendiary and it provided fodder for unscrupulous advertisers."

But is it really necessary to falsify the claims of products in order to "engage viewers," as Dr. Oz appears to think? Consider the case of the green coffee bean extract study. Dr. Oz conducted his own pseudo-investigation, which still remains on his Dr. Oz show web site and is called "The Green Coffee Bean Project."

To conduct the study, Dr. Oz recruited "100 women between the ages of 35 and 49 who were overweight with BMIs between 25 and 45." That small sampling of overweight women received either placebos or green coffee bean extract.

However, he instructed them to keep a food journal as well. Studies have shown that the act of tracking food can lead to weight loss. And that's precisely what happened here, with the women who took the placebo reportedly losing one pound in two weeks and those who took the supplement losing two pounds in two weeks. And that's a miracle?

Dr. Oz even issued a press release about this study, proclaiming it to be the largest ever conducted by his show. And although the science is false, Dr. Oz's love for publicity and showmanship is evident. He even took advantage of his invitation to attend Joan River's funeral, as The Inquisitr reported.

"She was supposed to be on my show the day she died," revealed Dr. Oz. "The last time she was on the show… I was giving her a hard time about the number of plastic surgeries she's had, and we were joking around about it, and she said, 'It's not the surgery I worry about. It's the anesthesia.' "

Dr. Oz began his new season on September 8. Thus far, he carefully avoided any mention of weight loss supplements. Instead, he brought in a frequent diet expert. Dr. Mark Hyman, to talk about his own detox diet. But while Dr. Oz succeed in toning down his hype and hope when it comes to product promises? Stay tuned.

[Image Via The Dr. Oz Show]