Scientists prove you shouldn't listen to Dr. Oz

Dec 20, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. ET
Image: Derrick Salters/

Most people probably already know that medical decisions shouldn't be based on Dr. Oz's advice, but now we have the science to prove it.

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The talk show doctor has already been subject to a number of scandals this year, like when his fans took him down on Twitter and when Senator Claire McCaskill scathingly scolded him for peddling weight loss methods that have no basis in actual science or medicine.

Now, the British Medical Journal has joined the growing number of Mehmet Oz's critics. In an article published this week, health experts analyzed a random sampling of episodes of a pair of syndicated shows, one of which was The Dr. Oz Show. What they found? Real medicine supports less than half of the advice Oz gives viewers on his show.

By watching 40 random episodes of The Dr. Oz Show, researchers identified 479 recommendations Oz made to his viewers. After weighing those against medical research, it was found that more than one in three had no supporting medical evidence at all, and only 33 percent were supported by "believable" medical evidence.

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But that's not even the worst part. According to the research, 58 to 59 percent of the time, Oz didn't even tell his viewers what the benefits might be if they followed his advice — they were supposed to just follow it because the TV doctor told them to.

"Anyone who followed the advice provided would be doing so on the basis of a trust in the host or guest rather than through a balanced explanation of benefits, harms and costs," researchers wrote.

Not all of the advice Oz peddles is harmful, obviously, but the scary implication of this research is that if there are harms associated with what he's telling his viewers, he probably won't disclose them.

The ultimate finding of the research was this: "consumers should be skeptical about any recommendations provided on television medical talk shows."

More: Dr. Oz chewed out by senators over magic weight loss talk

Are you surprised to find out Dr. Oz is almost always wrong? Sound off in the comments.