This week, Oz (he's not my doctor!) was called before the Senate's subcommittee on consumer protection for his promotion of ostensible weight-loss products.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the subcommittee chair, said, "The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles.'…I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true."
Oz's excuse, basically: "You gotta give 'em hope." (His version is a toxic mimic of Harvey Milk's rallying call for queer pride.)
Oz testified: "My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don't think they have hope, when they don't think they can make it happen, I want to look, and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them."
Or is his weight-loss advice a classic shell game: Keep people leaping from one magic bean to the next magic bean. Instead of stopping to ask why magic beans fail so predictably, people who regain weight after buying the purple-with-yellow-spots magic bean will still be eager to buy the orange-and-fuchsia-striped magic bean, or the lime-green-with-black-chevrons magic bean, because...HOPE.
During the Senate hearing, a Federal Trade Commission official testified that their surveys find more consumers are victims of fraudulent weight-loss products than any other type of fraud they ask about.
The very existence of a $66 billion/year (and growing) weight-loss industry is proof that their products fail to produce on their promises. If any one of them worked, wouldn't they all go out of business?
Even with ostensibly sensible eat-less/exercise-more approaches, we know that nearly everyone who loses weight will regain it within a year or two. And many people will gain back more.
Instead of a misnomer like "weight-loss" industry, why not call it what it is: the weight regain industry?
How about a more reliable definition of hope? The hope of living well in our very own bodies.