Dr. Oz – the captivating, charasmatic and convincing surgeon has won over millions of viewers who faithfully follow his nutrition advice. I believe Dr. Oz’s intentions are good and he wants to improve the health of Americans. However, there are a couple of things about his approach that concern me:
- He promotes the idea that single foods/food components can act as a ‘miracles’. Although some foods do have beneficial properties to them, I don’t like us thinking that we can turn to depend on one food to help us reach our health and weight loss goals. This forces the notion upon us that there is a ‘quick and easy fix’ out there.
- There isn’t always a sufficient amount of scientific research to validate the items he promotes. As a Regisitered Dietitian, I would not recommend or promote a product until I know it has been shown to have beneficial impact on human health. If the evidence is mixed, I would talk about both sides of the story, in an objective way with a client. This is not the approach Dr. Oz takes, as he glorifies his promotions into ‘miracle’ and ‘cures’. Below, I will critically look at the evidence behind the ‘miracles’ that Dr. Oz promotes:
Dr.Oz Recommendations: Dr. Oz claims that Chia Seeds are beneficial for weight reduction, especially after our metabolism begins to slow. He claims that chia seeds work by reducing your appetite. He also says they have double the amount of Omega 3 in Salmon!
Nicole’s Reccomentions: I do like Chia Seeds for their nutritional quality. Per ounce, they contain 10 grams of fibre (40% DV), 4 grams of protein, calcium (18%) and are a good source of iron, magnesium and zinc. In regards to the Omega 3’s – they do contain 5 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids per serving – indeed double salmon’s content. HOWEVER, the omega-3s in chia exist as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a plant form of omega-3 fat that is not readily converted to the metabolically active form of omega-3s, known as EPA and DHA, by the human body(0-9% of ALA is converted into DHA). Having said that, chia can still be a valuable source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, especially for those who do not consume fish. Although only a few animal studies and small scale human studies have been conducted so far on chia, emerging research does suggests that including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Tip: unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits!
Verdict: Go ahead an add some chia seeds to your yogurt or to make a tapioca- like pudding! They are packed with nutrition, and can contribute to satiety but just be mindful they are also high in calories so enjoy sensibly!
Dr. Oz’s Recommendations: Dr Oz claims this is a weight loss star. Derived from the rind of the South Asian garcina camogia fruit, garcina’s active compound, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), is believed to inhibit the enzye ATP-citratelyase, supressing fatty acid synthesis, while also regulating appetite.
Nicole’s Recommendations: To date, there has been 12 placebo controlled trials on garcina cabogia that have only lasted 8 weeks. The trials supplied between 1000-2400 mg of HCA per day, in divided doses. Half of these studies demonstrated no result on weight loss or body composition. Of the 6 studies that demonstated some beneficial effect, only 2 used garcina cambogia (or HCA) in isolation; the rest used it in combination with other proposed weight loss ingredients, making it hard to tell how much of an effect was from garcina cambogia alone. It’s important to note that while garcina combogia is supposed to be taken before meal time, some studies may have underestimated how long before the meal this should be taken. Recent research suggests that may be obtained if garcina is taken between 60-90 minutes before a meal.
Verdict: More well-controlled studies required using adequate doses of garcina cabogia and/or its active compound of HCA, taken at appropriate times before a meal. The research we have to date that garcina has very limited effect on weight loss, if any.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where I discuss coconut oil, raspberry ketones and green bean coffe extract!