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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Choosing healthier foods at the grocery store may soon be a little easier.
The Food and Drug Administration is proposing several changes to the nutrition labels you see on packaged foods and beverages. If approved, the new labels would place a bigger emphasis on total calories, added sugars and certain nutrients, such as Vitamin D and potassium.
The FDA is also proposing changes to serving size requirements in an effort to more accurately reflect what people usually eat or drink. For example, if you buy a 20-ounce soda, you're probably not going to stop drinking at the 8-ounce mark. The new rules would require that entire soda bottle to be one serving size - making calorie counting simpler.
This is the first overhaul for nutrition labels since the FDA began requiring them more than 20 years ago. There has been a shift in shoppers' priorities as nutrition is better understood and people learn what they should watch for on a label, administration officials said.
"You as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it's good for your family," first lady Michelle Obama said in a press release. "So this is a big deal, and it's going to make a big difference for families all across this country."
The proposed labels would remove the "calories from fat" line you currently see on labels, focusing instead on total calories found in each serving. Nutritionists have come to understand that the type of fat you're eating matters more than the calories from fat. As such, the breakdown of total fat vs. saturated and trans fat would remain.
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