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.