Dr. Mehmet Oz, a popular TV doctor now running for Senate, has promoted risky weight loss products.
He advocated for a very low-calorie diet with hormone supplements, according to the Washington Post.
Experts say the so-called HCG diet can cause side effects like blood clots, mood swings, and fluid build-up
Dr. Mehmet Oz, the former heart surgeon and TV doctor currently running for the US Senate, previously promoted a risky diet plan involving as little as 500 calories per day and doses of a pregnancy hormone, the Washington Post reports.
Oz has previously faced other criticism from medical experts who accused the celebrity doctor of “an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”
His political platform has emphasized his background as “America’s Doctor” (per his podcast), prompting opponent John Fetterman and other critics to undermine his campaign by questioning his past medical advice. “‘Dr.’ Oz had a big platform and he used it to promote products that could hurt people,” Fetterman wrote in a recent tweet.
The HCG diet is named after a hormone produced during pregnancy called human chorionic gonadotropin, which proponents say can aid weight loss by reducing hunger, balancing hormones, and maintaining muscle.
Specific risks of the HCG diet include blood clots, fluid build-up, and swelling of the breast tissue in boys and men (known as gynecomastia), according to the Mayo Clinic.
Very low-calorie diets can cause dangerous health problems such as stress on the internal organs, including the heart, disruption of the metabolism, and a weakened immune system, in addition to fatigue and mood problems like depression and irritability, a registered dietitian previously told Insider.
Weight loss supplements, too, are risky, with research suggesting the majority of products don’t work and can have serious side effects. Supplements are also unregulated, and can contain unexpected additives or unreliable doses.
Oz did present some caveats to the diet, such as recommending a doctor’s guidance before eating fewer than 1,200 calories a day, and featuring an expert who voiced concerns about HCG, according to the Post. The show’s website later published an article debunking the diet.
But on air, Oz suggested the diet might still be viable despite the lack of evidence for its effectiveness, and studies finding negative results.
“I’m intrigued enough to think that people may benefit if the HCG is used correctly,” he said in one clip.
Other misleading medical clains and dubious weight loss products featured on “The Dr. Oz Show” from 2009 to 2021 include green coffee bean extract and an herb called garcinia cambogia which research has linked to liver damage.
A spokesperson for the Oz campaign, Brittany Yanick, told the Post that Oz never sold the products himself and pressented a variety of viewpoints and conversations on the show.
“It’s idiotic and preposterous to imply that he shared the same beliefs and opinions as every guest on his show, or that having someone on his show constitutes a blanket endorsement of their beliefs,” Yanick said.
Read the original article on Insider