Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," was grilled Tuesday by senators on Capitol Hill about the promotion of weight loss products on his show.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of the subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, led the panel that looked at false advertising for weight loss products. Subcommittee members took issue with claims Oz has made on his show about products that don't have a lot of scientific evidence to back them up, such as green coffee beans.
"The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you called 'miracles,'" said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. 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."
Oz told the committee that he does use "flowery language" to describe certain products on his show, but added he believes in them so much he has given them to his own family.
"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," Oz told the panel.
He testified that he could not be held responsible for what certain companies say online about the products. He said he's toned down some of his language and will publish a list of products he thinks really can help people lose weight.
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According to the state's public health department, 800 cases have been reported in the past two weeks alone.
But it's not only people on the West Coast that should be alarmed.
According to the CDC, the U.S. has seen a 24% increase nationally in whooping cough cases, compared to January through April of last year.
While there are many symptoms, the actual name for the disease comes from the sound an infected person makes when gasping for breath after a coughing fit.
"One cough on a subway, you will infect 15- 20 people," Dr. Van Tulleken shared.
WHO NEEDS TO KNOW & WHY DOES IT MATTER:
Since the disease can be potentially fatal to newborns, if you have an infant or work around children – listen up.
It's time to get both them and parents vaccinated.
About half of the infants who get whooping cough end up in a hospital.
Dr. Van Tulleken acknowledged that some parents may be skeptical of vaccines, primarily because of past reports that linked them to autism, but he said those reports have been "completely debunked."
Although infants can't be vaccinated within the first six weeks of life, parents can build a "ring of protection" around their children by ensuring everyone else is vaccinated.
If you're an adult who's already gotten the vaccine, it's important to note there isn't lifetime immunity.
All adults should get a Tdap booster, unless you had one as a teenager (after age 11).
WHAT DO I DO IF I'M INFECTED?
Prevention is key so Dr. Van Tulleken said use common sense now.
Wash your hands and cough into your elbow to avoid spreading or catching whooping cough.
If you get sick, however, there is a first week or two where you're highly contagious and not very symptomatic.
During this time, if you feel like you have a cough or a cold, he suggested going to your family physician.
Depending on a variety of circumstances, they may or may not treat you with antibiotics.
Remember a few years ago scientists believed that drinking red wine and eating chocolate would help us all to live longer?
Well, a new study looking at the impact of resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grape skin and dark chocolate, says that it may not be the fountain of youth so many people hoped it would be.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City says these findings should let people know things like dark chocolate and red wine can be incorporated into a fuller Mediterranean diet, but don't count on them to be your magic source of health and vitality.
"There is never, ever going to be that one pill that's going to change everything and make you healthy," Dr. Steinbaum says.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Barcelona tracked 783 men and women aged 65 or older.
They used urine samples to measure resveratrol levels every 24 hours for nine years.
Results showed resveratrol levels did not have a substantial influence on heart disease, cancer, inflammation, or longevity.
Dr. Steinbaum adds context saying it's important to note they talked about the Western diet.
"The Western diet in itself is not healthiest thing in the world, so that's significant," she says.
What is the "French Paradox":
The "French Paradox" may be what started all the hype around red wine years ago.
It is a hypothesis that says that resveratrol intake, through heavy wine consumption, is the reason the French have low rates of cardiovascular disease, despite a diet rich in fatty foods.
Basically, the French drink lots of red wine, therefore they are healthy, despite all the cheese and baguettes they enjoy too.
This new research doesn't overturn the "French Paradox" altogether, as Dr. Steinbaum says other chemical compounds in red wine and chocolate could still offer health benefits.
For people who don't get the antioxidant resveratrol in their diet, they may look to supplements. Dr. Steinbaum said Americans spend $30 million per year on these extras.
With this new study, she suggests "stop wasting your money."
However, incorporating antioxidants that can be found in items like cocoa and berries are great for you as part of a balanced, Mediterranean diet, Dr. Steinbaum says.
But the best health advice she can give?
Eat everything in moderation, and get out there and sweat.
"People who are losing weight, what are they doing?" she asks. "They're going out exercising ... You've got to do the work."
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