Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dr Oz sells out to the Weight loss surgery industry!

I looked forward to Dr Oz's new program "The Oz Files" on Discovery Health. This week's episode was entitled "Defeating Obesity". Dr Oz is a cardiac surgeon and although some of the things he has said about obesity are questionable, I felt he was basically mainstream health conscious.

But the Oz Files was a great disappointment. Interestingly enough, Dr Roizen, his partner who has joined him on most other shows was missing. As the show wore on, I had to wonder whether Dr Roizen didn't approve of the slant of the show which was doing anything but advocating health!

The scenario of the show was that four fat people were picked to lose a lot of weight in 6 months. Located all over the country, they were given little guidance on how to do this - just cameos with Dr Oz cooking a healthy food or telling them they should exercise. Instead of guidance in a more healthy lifestyle, the people were told things like their bodies were dying from the obesity (untrue) and if they didn't lose weight immediately, they would get diabetes (untrue - how does Dr Oz explain the 33 percent of type II diabetics who have never been fat in their lives?) and that the "omentum" was "poisoning" their livers and kidneys.

The "Omentum" has been a favorite of Dr Oz's. If you look it up on the web, it appears a sort of sheathing for the abdominal cavity but beyond that, no one knows what it really does so Dr Oz declaring that it somehow poisons the organs in a fat person, is more than a bit over the top since this is NOT based on science.

Bottom line, the four people were made to feel terrible about their weight, and their future but only told to "eat less and exercise more" (wow, what a revelation! NOT).

One of them had a gastric bypass. She was 5'6" and not even 300 lbs.

One of them was "lagging" on her weight loss after a couple of months so was put on the diabetic medication, Metformin to help kill her appetite. To put a healthy person on a diabetic specific medication is very questionable.

And the two other people, battled it alone. It was emphasized throughout the show that they were not doing their part in losing the weight. Also the husband of the gastric bypass patient was taken to task for "not keeping up with his wife", Dr Oz, totally ignoring that the quick weight loss period in a gastric bypass patient is NOT from living healthy but simply from fasting because they cannot eat due to the massive surgical changes made to their digestive tracts.

At the end of 6 months, the results were predictable and Dr Oz announced them with glee.

The gastric bypass patient had lost 70 lbs (but remember, less than 30 lbs of that was likely fat because gastric bypass patients are on a fasting diet the first few months after surgery as their bodies heal - their bodies can only get sugar out of body fat and must cannibalize muscle and bone and organs for the rest, a fact totally ignored by Dr Oz who gleefully pointed out how the gastric bypass patient lost that weight through "changing her lifestyle to diet and exercise" and how he applauded her because she did what she needed to do and "partnered with science".

The person on metformin lost 45 lbs and Oz "lauded" her also saying she was now a slim person (she wasn't really). But the fact is, without medication that her body did not need, she would _not_ have lost that much weight and when the medication is discontinued she will likely gain back.

The other two people did not do well on their weight loss, but Oz patronizingly said they learned a lot from participation.

The content message of the show was clearly, the only way a person can lose a large amount of weight is having a gastric bypass!

Where is the "healthy lifestyle" here? Vitamin deficiencies on the long term which made the inventor of the gastric bypass stop doing the surgery he invented, in 1980? 40 percent serious complications within five years of surgery? And worse yet, we now have two studies which found that the weight loss at the 10 year point after a gastric bypass was somewhat unimpressive. 16 percent of the original weight? (Swedish Obesity Study).

I am confused. Is Dr Oz really deluding himself that the gastric bypass is a healthy and effective way to lose weight? Perhaps but if that is so, he's in for a rude awakening when he finds out the dark side of the surgery, how few people can stay healthy and keep off the weight.

Or is it as Dr Ernsberger once wrote:

"In my experience, most physicians, especially academic physicians, disapprove of these operations. However, they will only admit this in private, because of an unwritten law in medicine that forbids one to speak ill of another's procedure. Thus, there is no one with an MD after their name who will appear on camera and criticize the operation."

Paul Ernsberger, PhD, Department of Nutrition,
Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106-4906

In any case, I am very disappointed in Dr Oz that he could make a show which only had a thin veneer of teaching health and actually was just- yet another- infomercial for gastric bypass.


littlem said...

"However, they will only admit this in private, because of an unwritten law in medicine that forbids one to speak ill of another's procedure."

First of all, this explains so much.

Secondly, WTF?!?

Tuesday said...

I never trusted him. But that's mostly because I no longer trust anyone I see on Oprah, when I bother tuning in (isn't she the one who gave us Dr. Phil, actually?). So this isn't surprising at all.

violet_yoshi said...

Um, you're surprised? I mean, maybe it's that I watch Oprah more than you. Since Dr. Oz has been talking about expending Omentums, which I belive is the part of your stomach that gets streched out when you're fat, supposedly. He's been in league with the weight loss industry. Heck he even has his own weight loss special on the Discovery Health Channel.

Dr Oz IS the weight loss movement. It's like, is the sky blue? Yup. Then Dr Oz is in league with the weight loss industry? Yup.

SueW said...

GG my hubby said the same thing... never trusted him. I guess I was hoping one of those folks out there was really out for HEALTH... ** sigh **


valued opinions said...

I have read that the omentum serves a very important function in helping to protect the organs in the stomach area. There are numerous search results about some very beneficial aspects of the omentum.

Agner et al, Neurological Research, January, 2001 and The Omentum Application to Brain and Spinal Cord, edited H.S. Goldsmith, Forefront Publishing, 2000):

Blood supply: The omentum contains angiogenic factors that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels into whatever tissue it is surgically placed next to, including the brain and spinal cord.

Lymphatic System: The omentum is rich in lymphatic vessels and tissue that are critical in removing metabolic waste and excess fluid, destroying toxic substances, and fighting disease.

Immune System: Omental areas called “milky spots” are capable of generating specialized immune cells that facilitate healing. For example, some believe that the migration of omental immune cells can help repair injured spinal cords.

Edema Absorption: The omentum’s lymphatic system has an enormous capacity to absorb edema fluid, including that associated with spinal cord swelling.

Source of Biological Material: The omentum is a rich source of biological material that enhance tissue growth, including angiogenic factors, key neurotransmitters, nerve growth factors, and agents involved in inflammatory and immune processes.

Stem Cells: Evidence suggests that omental tissue contains stem cells - omnipotent master cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types. For example, Dr. Ignacio Garcia Gomez (Madrid, Spain) and colleagues demonstrated the presence of stem cells in the human omentum (Neurological Research, 27, December 2005). These cells were shown to synthesize key growth factors that promote vascularization when transplanted.

SueW said...

valued opinions:

Thanks for your comment. Although that website is about experimental theory not well documented in peer reviewed studies, it never-the-less, is considered a valid avenue for research in considering the funding. And strongly suggests that the omentum is not the villain as Dr Oz wants us to believe it is! I never thought of the possibility of adult stem cells in the omentum, which now, come to think of it is logical, and that definitely should be explored further. The omentum stem cells have to be highly undifferentiated if they are being experimented with for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. That's a pretty exciting avenue of research! Unfortunately here in the USA, the experimentation on adult stem cells which is the ONLY stem cell therapy which has proven helpful, is rather slowed by the politicizing of embryonic stem cell research. Let's hope that changes in the future.


violet_yoshi said...

Uh thank you valued opinon, but honestly I only mentioned Omentum, cause it's a funny sounding word.