Mo. Senator McCaskill Grills TV's "Dr. Oz"

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 06/17 2014 11:16PM

Updated 06/17 2014 11:31PM

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)  The Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Tuesday held a hearing on protecting consumers from false and misleading weight loss advertising.

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a member of that committee, took TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz to task for how he promotes products on his show.

"If only you take this pill, drink this shake, use this device," she read from a prepared statement.

McCaskill said Dr. Oz was brought in for the hearing because of his TV's influence over how many people make healthcare decisions.

McCaskill was especially critical of Oz's claims about one particular product promoted on his show. During the hearing, they showed a segment of his show.

"It's green coffee beans and when turned into a supplement, this miracle pill can burn fat fast," Oz is seen on his show promoting the product to his studio audience and television viewers.

"while I also understand your message is to focus on basics like healthy eating and exercise, I'm concerned you are also melding medical advice, news and entertainment in a way that harms consumers," McCaskill said.

Dr. Oz responded that he believes in the products he promotes, even if they are non-traditional if there is no medical science supporting their claims of success.

"My job on the show I feel is to be a cheerleader for the audience when they don't think they have hope and when they don't think they can make it happen," Oz said. "I do look everywhere, including alternative healing traditions."

Locally, health professionals say there is no replacement for hard work when it comes to losing weight.

"Everybody wants the overnight thing, said Austin Evans, Manager of the St. Joseph Snap Fitness location. "There is no overnight pill to make it happen. It took a long time to put the weight on, it'll take a long time to take the weight off."

Evans says supplements like multivitamins can be good for overall health. Beyond that, people need to be careful.

"People are going to respond to everything differently," Evans said. "Then when you throw in different factors like somebody has diabetes, somebody has high blood pressure and those sort of things, it could definitely get dangerous."

The answer to losing weight is not glamorous at all.

"It's got to be like clockwork," Evans said. "...going to the gym, following a healthy diet, hard work, commitment."

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