There Is No Magic Pill For Weight Loss

Let me begin this post by saying, I have used and continue to use dietary supplements in conjunction with my regular diet and exercise program. I just finished a cycle of a metabolizer / diarrhetic called “Super HD” that is made by Cellucor and I am currently starting a daily GNC multivitamin pack. Please note, I have always used these products while actively trying to eat a good diet and while exercising 4-5 times per week for 90 minutes. I have never bought into the idea of a magic weight loss pill such as HydroxyCut Pro, Raspberry Keytones or Green Tea Extract. I believe that those supplements may help aid in weight loss if you are participating in an active lifestyle with a balanced diet, but they are not magic pills that allow you to eat whatever you want and lose weight.

super HD

ripped pack

Now that I have disclosed my past and current use of dietary supplements, I may seriously be reconsidering supplement use after reading the news of last Tuesday’s senate committee hearing with the famous doctor and television host Dr. Oz. It wasn’t necessarily the testimony that Dr. Oz gave during the hearing that has me reconsidering my stance on supplement use; let’s face it, anybody with half a brain knows the guy is blowing smoke when he touts a new magic weight loss cure once a month. It is the evidence that I researched as a result of the hearing that may be the magic bullet that gets me to stop taking supplements. One study presented in the New York Times showed that DNA tests of the products of over a dozen North American supplement companies found that ONE THIRD of the products contained no trace whatsoever of the plant advertised on the bottle. In fact, many of the supplements were simply powdered rice and weeds.

The proceedings from the senate hearing were also detailed in an article from the LA Times. A few highlights from the article are below.

Statements Dr. Oz has made on his show clearing promoting a “magic” cure for weight loss…

  • “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 No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It’s raspberry ketones.’”
  • Garcinia Camboja. It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”

When asked by senator Claire McCaskill “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true,” she added. “So why, when you have this amazing megaphone, do you cheapen your show like that?” Dr. Oz replied with his full reality distortion field up… “My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience,” he explained. “When they don’t think they have hope, I want to look everywhere … for any evidence that might be supportive to them.” I might add whether he has evidence that what he is promoting works or not. 

Dr. Oz must have had an attack of conscience when he later told The Hollywood Reporter after his senate hearing… “I am accountable for my role in the proliferation of these scams and I recognize that my enthusiastic language has made the problem worse.”

Dr. Oz claims he has never taken money to promote a supplement, but I find that hard to believe. I have personally worked on an ad campaign that was trying to capitalize on the the “Dr. Oz effect.” The campaign was for a website that sold Raspberry Ketones. Traffic surrounding the keyword raspberry ketones immediately skyrocketed after Dr. Oz mentioned the product on his show and my company’s client was trying to make a quick buck before the new diet craze started by Dr. Oz died down. Call me a cynic, but I think the good doctor is getting a handsome infusion of capital into his bank account for making his false claims.

John Oliver, a television personality, decided to dedicate and entire 16 minute segment on his new show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver to the senate hearings. It was Mr. Oliver’s segment that spurred my research into the senate hearing and tracking down one of the studies mentioned in his segment.

last week tonight

One of my favorite parts of Mr. Oliver’s segment was about the power of lobbyists. To illustrate his point, a public service announcement that was made in 1993 was shown. The announcement was to warn the public that their was a bill that was trying to classify their vitamins and supplements as drugs. The PSA was all the more entertaining thanks to the one and only Mel Gibson lending some star power to the piece. Now his presence just makes the whole thing more hilarious. The scary thing about this PSA, as Mr. Oliver’s segment points out, is that the the United States government got more mail about this bill proposing heavier regulation of vitamins than they received regarding the entire Vietnam War. That part of the segment blew me away and really illustrated the power of lobbyists. I’ve taken the liberty of providing the full 1993 public service announcement for you below. It is good fun.

I have also provided the full video of John Oliver talking about Dr. Oz and his testimony before the senate committee below. It is long, but it is more than worth the time it takes to watch it. You may reconsider some of the things you are putting into your body to help you on your weight loss journey after watching this video, just as I have.

Some Highlights From The Video…

  • “The only problem with the “Dr. Oz effect” is that magic pills don’t technically exist and Dr. Oz knows that.” Dr. Oz testified to the senate committee… “There is not a pill that is going to help you long term, lose weight, and live the best life without diet and exercise.”
  • Senator to Dr. Oz… “Do you believe there is a magic weight loss cure out there?” Dr Oz replied by stammering and finally saying… “If you are selling something because it is magical, no.”
  • “To give Dr. Oz the benefit of overwhelming medical doubt, he seems to be standing by some of his claims. Dr Oz… “I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show. I passionately study them. I recognize that often times they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact.”
  • If you are a supplement company today, you do not need approval from the FDA before the product is marketed, you can make health claims without approval from the government and you don’t have to prove the safety or effectiveness of your product before putting it up for sale.
  • “If you want to keep spouting this bulls!*^, don’t call your show Dr. Oz. Call it Check This S@!$ Out With Some Guy Named Mehmet.

I, like many other Americans, wish there was a magic pill that made it so I can eat whatever I want with no consequences. I would much rather have had a large pizza and a couple of orders of breadsticks, washed down by a pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Ben and Jerry’s tonight instead of the salad that I ate, but, unfortunately, I would have to pay the consequences. I doubt I will stop taking dietary supplements altogether moving forward, but I will be far more judicious when selecting which ones I am willing to put into my body. I will most likely stick to a multi-vitamin and will stay clear of metabolizers and diarrhetics.

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you use a daily multi-vitamin or dietary supplement? A metabolizer to speed weight loss? Do you watch Dr. Oz? If so, do you buy into his puffery and promotion of diet products? I would love to hear what you think in the comments.

2 Comments

  1. If you’re taking diarrhetics then you are bulemic. I think you mean diuretics.
    Dr. Oz is an actor, not a doctor. Don’t let his Kmart scrubs and disposable stethoscope fool you. Can I get an Amen?

  2. Thanks for posting this, Nick! I used to get bullied for my weight as a kid. I was also told that I was fat and needed to lose weight by family members, and had a coach in college tell our whole women’s lacrosse team that we all needed to lose at least 10lbs. So my junior year of college, I decided to try HydroxyCut. It seemed to work well, but the side effects when not taken properly were crazy! I remember one day I had to rush out the door to class, and didn’t get food in my stomach as soon as I needed to after taking HC. Needless to say, I was hugging the Porcelain Throne and felt like I wanted to die! So, I nixed that off my list shortly after.

    I have used other supplements as I’m trying to gain more lean muscle – CLA and protein, but that’s pretty much about it (and a multi vitamin too). But yeah… I try not to go crazy with the supplements like many people swear by. It really does take a lot of hard work and discipline.

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