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Dr. Oz talks supplement scams and sensible diet tips: What works for weight loss

Dr. Oz offers sensible diet tips.
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Weight loss "miracle" supplements are featured regularly on Dr. Mehmet Oz's popular talk show. Now, after having been grilled by the Senate for his repeated claims that he's discovered products that can melt away fat and blast belly bulges, Dr. Oz is facing criticism about whether he's selling weight loss success or scams, reported People magazine on Friday.

Dr. Oz took a break from his talk show to face Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, who had some harsh questions for the cardiac surgeon-turned-celebrity physician. In particular, she expressed frustration that he touted green coffee bean extract as a magical solution to weight loss.

"I don't get why you need to say this stuff when you know it's not true," accused McCaskill. "When you have this amazing megaphone, why would you cheapen your show?"

She also attacked him for publicizing FBCx, Forskolin, Garcinia cambogia and raspberry ketones as valuable supplements for dieters. Scam artist or weight loss savoir? Dr. Oz defended himself.

"To not have the conversation about supplements at all, however, would be a disservice to the viewer," he insisted. "In addition to exercising an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future, I look forward to working with all those present today in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight-loss scams."

Avoiding discussion of supplements, Dr. Oz focused on sensible diet tips in a Friday interview with the Sault Star News. He repeated one of his key principles of weight loss: Automate.

Repeating the same advice that he preaches in his diet book "YOU: On A Diet Revised Edition: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management," Dr. Oz chanted, "Have the same breakfast every day. Have your snacks with you."

For example, package up portion-controlled servings of nuts on the weekend, then take them with you throughout the week. "They have everything you need. They’re a fantastic snack," Dr. Oz praised the low-carb treats.

In addition, Dr. Oz advises emphasizing nutrition rather than exercise for those struggling with weight loss. "You will not lose weight on exercise alone. You will lose weight with food alone," he promised.

So which diet is the best? In recent years, Dr. Oz has shifted his advice from low-fat, plant-based approaches to low-carb, protein-rich weight loss programs.

In particular, Dr. Oz has featured the Paleo diet several times, inviting Chris Kresser, author of "Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life," to talk about how to customize the plan. On that episode, he attracted viewers by saying that they could lose up to 75 pounds in six months by using the caveman diet approach.

As for supplements, some experts support Dr. Oz's episodes that highlight products as "miracle fat-burners in a bottle." For example, "using the green coffee bean extract for weight loss in my practice has proven to be very effective," declared New York-based holistic practitioner and nutritionist Dr. Steven Margolin. "

But he offered this caveat: "We're about educating people how to take better care of themselves. Supplements assist a diet. Never just take it and eat whatever you want."

Moreover, what the Senate subcommittee did not highlight is Dr. Oz's repeated advice to be cautious about purchasing supplements. With regard to green coffee bean extract, for example, he told viewers that the research showing it can help had been conducted specifically on the chlorogenic acid extract, which can be listed as either GCA® (green coffee antioxidant) or Svetol®.

In addition, Dr. Oz advised viewers only to purchase green coffee bean extract that contains a minimum of 45 percent chlorogenic acid. His directions for use included this caution: "No pill is more effective than maintaining a regular exercise regimen and a healthy diet."

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