Buyer, beware – even when popular TV doctor Mehmet Oz is making the pitch.
That was the stern message from a Senate panel that tore into the host of "The Dr. Oz Show" during questioning Tuesday about his claims that certain products cause "miracle" weight loss.
"The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" scolded Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, head of the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, CNN
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She said she was discouraged by the "false hope" his rhetoric gives viewers, and questioned his role, "intentional or not, in perpetuating these scams."
"I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true. When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show? . . . With power comes a great deal of responsibility."
reported that the interest of lawmakers follows anti-fraud actions by the Federal Trade Commission, including a lawsuit against a Florida company that claimed its Pure Green Coffee product would help consumers shed 20 pounds in four weeks. The campaign used footage from Oz's show.
But the cardiac surgeon and author – whose advice has appeared on Newsmax.com
– defended his motives as pro-audience.
"My job is to be a cheerleader for the audience when they don't think they have hope," he said, The Hill reported. "I have things I think work for people. I want them to try them so that they feel better, so that they can do the things we talk about every day on the show [like diet and exercise]."
"When I can't use language that is flowery, that is exulting, I feel like I've been disenfranchised," he added.
Oz told the panel he's toned down his language but won't stop recommending weight-loss remedies to the public.
"I do personally believe in the items that I talk about," he said. "If you can lose a pound a week more than you would have lost . . . it jumpstarts you and gets you going. I think it makes sense."
The FTC told CNN consumers should be wary of claims that are too good to be true – including any promise that you'll lose weight without going on a diet or doing any exercise.
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