Are You Kidding Me Dr. Oz?

September 28, 2010   38 Comments

There are some wonderful writers out there who use the blogosphere to critique the BIG boys. My friend, Jen, who writes The Wellness Bitch took on Dr. Oz last week.

Are You Kidding Me Dr. Oz?

She writes about food, wellness, and health topics and she makes her feelings known :)

She was kind enough to allow me to repost this article from The Wellness Bitch:

Someone please tell me I’m reading this wrong. Or I’ve gone blind. Or I’m in an alternate universe.

Yesterday on Facebook, I saw Dr. Oz posted about his 28-day National Soda Challenge. I thought this sounded pretty cool — From the description, it seemed like a community effort to quit something that makes people sick. As Dr. Oz says in the intro to the 28-Day challenge:

Soda is an addictive stimulant, loaded with caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup; it’s making Americans sick and fat. Break the cycle of addiction…

So I read further. Dr. Oz starts with Step 1: Go Sugar Free. This is a great suggestion. Except for the fact that Dr. Oz suggests you switch from soda to diet soda.

Are you f-ing kidding me, Dr. Oz?

He claims, “If you only drink diet soda already, you’re one step ahead of the game.”

One step towards where? Cancer? Death? How do you justify suggesting people switch from one drug to another?

I took a deep breath and continued on to Step 2 hoping it would get better.


Step 2: Go caffeine free. Okay, good start. But then Dr. Oz reminds the challenge participants:

Remember that headaches are a common symptom of caffeine withdrawal. Take ibuprofen for headache relief.

Couldn’t Dr. Oz…proponent of natural medicine…offer any other suggestions for headache relief other than medication? How about massage? Acupressure? Acupuncture? Extra rest? Deep breathing? Sure, he encourages you to add “foods rich in vitamin B to your diet, like chickpeas, spinach and whole grain cereal.” But that type of diet change is not going to offer immediate headache relief.

By the time you get to Step 4, you’re supposed to be “Soda Free.” Hooray for you!

And you know what Dr. Oz suggests if you’re still having a hard time 28 days later?

"If you experience a craving, try chewing sugar-free gum. Additionally, if you find yourself fixating on soda, find a method of distraction, like taking a walk, doing 10 push-ups or cleaning."

Look, Dr. Oz. I know it’s not you writing the content for this challenge. It’s very likely you hardly even know it’s taking place!

But the next time your assistant hires an intern to handle your social media content, try to choose someone


This is unacceptable.

If you agree, RETWEET this like crazy, SHARE this post with your friends, and go visit Dr. Oz’s web communities and point him to The Wellness Bitch. Let’s WAKE UP Dr. Oz.

UPDATE: By the way, folks, Dr. Oz’s resume includes “Honored by the New York Open Center for “outstanding research in writing and communication (and for) bridging Western and alternative/complementary medicine.” Not this time.

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I can admit to drinking a diet soda on occasion, but even I know that it is basically composed of chemicals.

Maybe he's trying to reach the hard core soda drinkers, and suggest changes that will stick?

Even if that were the case, you're absolutely right that there should be more information about healthier changes or maybe a mission statement defining the target audience.

on September 28, 2010

In a perfect world, which does not exist, Dr. Oz's recommendations might not be good advice. However, when it comes to our food culture, we live in an incredibly imperfect world.

So, while Dr. Oz doesn't need me to defend him, his advice at least moves people to a better food choice -- certainly not perfect.

One tip: I kicked the diet coke habit a while ago. Every once in a while I do want a carbonated drink ... so, I have a club soda. Try it, you might like it.

Ken Leebow

on September 28, 2010

While people who already lead healthy lifestyles can understand how bad soda (leaded or unleaded) is for you, those who are "sugar addicts" will likely have a tough time breaking the habit. I know because in college I was one of these people. I actually think Dr. Oz's advice here is good to wean people off the sugar and eventually off the soda entirely. And those people who are addicted to soda and sugar are not likely already leading healthy lifestyles and so the suggestion of a massage or acupuncture to relieve a headache will have them run in the other direction. I think the baby steps suggested by Dr. Oz are reasonable. I actually like his advice here.

on September 28, 2010

There are individuals who drink over two liters of full-sugar, full-caffeine soda per day, and that's a fact. Yeah, the "advice" may not sound so much like "advice" to those of us who don't, but it seems to me like whoever handled this particular topic (intern, assistant, or Dr. Oz himself) definitely "had a clue" regarding the current dietary habits of many Americans.

on September 28, 2010

I use to drink two huge mugs of diet soda a day up until a few years ago. I decided to quit to see if I ran better and I did. I haven't had any since. I drink herb tea instead.

on September 28, 2010

I normally love guest posts on this site, but this one is not enjoyable. I appreciate the positive and encouraging tips. This "Wellness Bitch" seems, well, bitchy. Too whiney for my taste. I won't be reading any of her guest posts in the future or visiting her blog.

on September 28, 2010

Moving from "regular" sugared sodas to chemically-laden diet sodas is NOT a better choice. It is nowhere near an improvement. Neither option is healthy. When I do speaking engagements, I often spend quite a bit of time explaining how (and WHY!) to quit the soda drinking habit. I would never, ever suggest products that put people's health at risk.

on September 28, 2010

I've had caffeine withdrawal headaches and when I want relief, I want it now! I don't have time to make an appointment with an acupuncturist and I've tried relaxing breathing techniques that don't work for that kind of headache. Besides, if I'm going through withdrawals at work you don't have many options. Those kinds of headaches lead to migraines, sound and light sensitivity and nausea. I'll take my relief now thank you :) in the form of a little pill called Ibprofen :)

on September 28, 2010

Geesh, give some people a break. For those that drink a lot of sugar laced soda, this is an easy step program for them to take. It does not fit everyone. I like his advice.

on September 28, 2010

I don't know. It sounds more like a step down program to me, and some people need that. I think it sounds kind of judgy to assume that everyone should be able to quit them cold turkey. Diet sodas = methadone. I don't see a problem with that if the goal is to cut them out entirely. If you've been drinking sugared sodas your whole life, a couple weeks on diet while you wean yourself off of them isn't going to kill you.

on September 28, 2010

I'm definitely going to be siding with Dr. Oz (or the intern) on this one. If you're a non-soda junkie, then yeah, common sense. But if you're totally addicted to it, the advice given will lessen the withdrawal effects tremendously. While OTC medication may not be ideal for some, when you're in the middle of caffeine withdrawal, you want something that works fast that you don't have to look into. I believe it was written for the most hardcore soda addicts. And as one myself, I couldn't agree more with what was said.

on September 28, 2010

I also think that the Dr. Oz program sounds like a reasonable plan for people that drink soda. I have to agree that the guest post lady is really as her name says...

on September 28, 2010

I completel understand what he is saying. To me this is geared toward hardcore non diet soda drinkers. He is weaning them off of it. Going cold turkey will work for some, but not everyone.

Years ago I was hardcore Mt. Dew drinker. I started mixing regular with diet...slowly switching over diet. Then I worked on smaller quanity. Then I completely quit.

So I am going to cut Dr. Oz some slack here.

on September 28, 2010


I agree. Wellness Bitch needs a chill pill. Or a spin class.

on September 28, 2010

Dr,Oz couldnt be more RIGHT ON! Change is a process that needs to take place in steps , Realistic steps. For a soda junkie , Dr. OZ offers realistic steps. Even heroin addicts are given methadone to get them from one level to another. Ha! you want someone whos a soda junkie to be considering massage and accupuncture!! Pretty sure they are just starting out on their health and wellness journey. Those approaches are far fetched for them at this point.

on September 28, 2010

This is why I read Snack Girl and not The Wellness Bitch. I think Dr. Oz is getting people to take a step in the right direction. It's a doable plan that might lead people to realize they don't need soft drinks as much as they think. I used to have a pretty bad soft drink habit but starting Sept. 1st, I joined a group of people doing a 60oz of water a day for 60 days challenge. The group is called No Fizz Charlotte. Ultimately they want people to give up soft drinks, but that wasn't a part of the challenge at all. BUT, just by me drinking water, and surprisingly getting hooked, I've realized I don't need soft drinks and instantly went from around 3 day to 3 a week. It's really been an eye opener. His "step down" approach is much more doable than what I would assume would be her all or nothing approach.

on September 28, 2010

Keep only the family friendly advice snack girl...I could have done without this one. Her language was ridiculous. I can't imagine what her language would be like if she was really mad at someone!?

on September 28, 2010

I don't agree with going to diet soda's. I quit cold turkey 2 years ago July (July 2008) due to massive headaches I was already having. There are healthier drink alternatives. however my closest friends, co-workers & family all thought I was nuts that I was drinking "water". I don't drink & have never drunk tea (even being from the south) I drink about 15 glasses of water or more a day ;-)

on September 28, 2010

How about a sparkling natural fruit juice beverage instead, like Fruit 66. Any sugars in that come from fruit juice and it's just fruit juice, sparkling water and vitamin C, nothing synthetic.

on September 28, 2010

I'm with Jen!

But why debate which is the lesser of two evils (sugar vs. [what is the new saccharin?] aspartame?)? (Then there's the caffeine, in both!)

What about weaning off soda with seltzer? (Sure the carbon dioxide is not a healthy food either!)

on September 28, 2010

honestly, if an individual is a heavy soda drinker, drinking diet soda for one week is going to improve their health benefits overall on the long run if it's going to get them off soda for good. I don't understand why you're making such a huge deal out of this. Yes, diet soda is incredibly bad for your body - but one week? There should be virtually no side effects.

on September 28, 2010

I'm not a big soda fan but once in a blue moon when I drink it I would much rather drink regular than diet. At least I know what's in regular soda (HFC's and fizz!).

on September 28, 2010

Love the Rant Lisa....Good on you!

on September 28, 2010

I agree, I give Dr Oz props for realistic steps that no person subscribing to a healthy web blog would ever probably have to take, because we are already lightyears beyond the soda addiction. Wellness Bitch needs to get a dose of reality, and calm down. A little jealous of the broad audience Dr. Oz gets? I find that a lot. People are jealous of Oprah too - you know these people don't work for things, they just land in their lap. (yeah right)

on September 28, 2010

Jen questions a doctor's diet suggestion, and (amazingly, some of you defend it! but further) then some of you people attack her, personally?!

on September 28, 2010

WB is right on, IMO. Dr. Oz's recommendations will lead people to believe that diet soda is a healthier choice when it is NOT. I agree with Sue. He is being irresponsible for suggesting products that jeopardize people's health. Aspartame is nasty, nasty stuff. He could have suggested a much healthier way of stepping down. Shame on you, Dr. Oz.

on September 28, 2010

I agree with other comments, that the review of Dr. Oz's soda plan was WAY too harsh. He's in no way suggesting that you become hooked on diet soda instead of regular. His plan is to wean you off from it completely. So it's pretty bad to twist what he's saying into making it sound like he wants you hooked on diet soda. Furthermore, I am an occasional diet soda drinker. But, I will only drink diet products made with Splenda or "sucralose". Aspartame and NutraSweet and saccharin are the bad chemicals. Splenda is a better diet drink choice. Another is Truvia or products made from the Stevia plant. Dr. Oz could have at least mentioned the healthier choices for diet drinks, but again, his plan is to have people off them completely. ...P.S. Diet Rite and diet RC are the only sodas that use Splenda so far.

on September 28, 2010

Very simple... It's his JOB to make things "easier" and "approachable" for people to do. He is bringing A LOT of great knowledge to the mass public (which he is usually swiping from the natural health practitioners and researchers [like the person running this blog]).

I give Dr. Oz tons of respect for breaking the paradigm, but this is a blatant opportunity to have a "challenge" for people that can really make a difference, not substitute one stupid thing for another... Soda (diet, caffeine-free, whatever) is still phosphoric acid that will literally eat up your tissue matrix. And if you're doing this in an attempt to help people ween off, don't recommend that they take a drug that is known to damage your liver and kidneys. He's doing a great job, but he's still learning ;-)

on September 28, 2010

While I agree with you on principle, I understand where Dr. Oz is coming from. These are realistic steps for most hardcore soda drinkers. I'm a vegetarian and generally healthy eater but also a soda addict. Have no intention of quitting. If someday I decide to give up my favorite vice, Dr. Oz's recommendations would probably be the one's I would follow. Stressing out too much about what we eat and drink isn't healthy either.

on September 28, 2010

Jen is absolutely right. People do need realistic steps to kicking the soda habit, but going from regular to diet soda isn't one of them. Here's why:

1. To kick the soda and sugar habits, you have to retrain your taste buds to want less sweet drinks. Going from regular soda to diet soda isn't stepping down the sweet. It's just trading one super-sweet unhealthy drink for another.

2. Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners, which, while generally recognized as safe by the FDA, either have studies linking them to weight gain and/or cancer, or haven't had any long term studies at all.

3. Diet soda doesn't hydrate you. Water does. Suggesting people substitute one tall glass of water for one of their daily sodas is a real small step forward and will help kick the habit.

4. Either you're challenging people to kick the soda habit or you aren't. Telling people to kick the soda habit by drinking diet soda isn't kicking the soda habit.

5. Dr. Oz is a doctor. He should know all these things I just said.

on September 28, 2010

I see the angle here for the great OZ to "ween" people off of the sugar and caffeine, but there better ways than to suggest stopping one poison and shifting to another.

You don't shot someone in the leg to divert the bleeding from a stab wound to the chest. Diet soda is MUCH worse than regular soda! Let's see, we'll try to keep you from getting diabetes, but giving you cancer. Uh, I don't think so!

I quit drinking soda 3 yrs ago. My friend quit 4 yrs ago after drinking 18-20 diet sodas a day for over 25 yrs! If she could do it, anyone can!

on September 28, 2010

I have, till now, enjoyed your blog. But the comments about Dr Oz are Awful! At least, he deserves some respect

Since he has done a lot to help in this obesity epidemics. Certainly diet sodas are not a good choice but are a step to wean of sugar sodas. I agree with a better way using part sugar sodas plus part seltzer as a healthful way. And ibuprofen is a lot better than acetaminophen, a liver destroyer, it counts at a headache reliever helper in the caffeine removal from the system, and, surprinsingly, is an ally in colon cancer and Alzheimer ( a pharma ally, though are natural ones better on inflammation with no damage to gastric mucosa). So, next time, don't dump garbage so easily! Your blog is so wonderful that is a shame you dishonor it and your work with bitchy comments. Maria Lima, MD

on September 29, 2010

I agree with most of the people here in the comments...Wellness Bitch needs to live in a commune with all her other perfect friends and leave the imperfect world to the REALISTS! WB can SUCK IT! (my lollipop laced with HFCS that keeps me from smoking cigarettes)

on September 29, 2010

Dr. Lima, alcoholics don't quit drinking by switching to non-alcoholic beer. As a doctor, wouldn't you rather see your patients off soda completely rather than switching from 10 cans of regular to 10 cans of diet?

Bobby, congrats on kicking the cigarette habit. But I have to disagree with you: I think the WB is the realist, and many other people -- especially those who fool themselves into thinking diet soda is a step to giving up soda -- are living in a fantasy world, albeit one that is comfortable. The truth hurts and the WB isn't afraid to tell it.

on September 29, 2010

What's the catch-phrase for this happy group of Dr. Oz defenders?

"You can take my diet-soda when you pry it from my cold dead fingers!"

I don't take health advice from TV personalities, no matter the letters after their names.


Even the mighty Oprah was bested by the powerful beef industry's lobbyists when she dared to suggest that red meat might kill ya.

on September 29, 2010

His advice was meant for a person who would never completely stop drinking pop but may be willing to make small changes. Not for someone like yourself who is a health savy and does not need his advice in the first place. For example... Not drinking soda and taking an ibprofen for the withdrawal headaches is better than continuing to drink soda. Not everyone wants a natural remedy and he is aware of this. That is why he is good at reaching people. He shows ways to improve your health without drastically changing your lifestyle.

on October 5, 2010

Jackie, I'm curious as to how you know what Dr. Oz "meant"? Do you know him personally? Do you work for him? If so, then ask him to comment on this thread.

Otherwise, NO doctor should EVER recommend that anyone drink 'diet' soda no matter what they 'mean' to say or whatever their intentions are. It's known to cause cancer and many other diseases.

Cutting out soda of any kind isn't "drastically changing your lifestyle." It's enhancing your lifestyle and adding years to your life. And allowing you (meaning people in general) to live a lot healthier overall.

I love watching Dr. Oz, but he's dead wrong advising people to drink liquid cancer/diabetes no matter how you 'sugar-coat' it with reasons or excuses. You don't ween people off heroin by having them snort coke.

I'm not completely a 'health savy' myself, but I've learned the extreme health dangers of carbonated beverages/sodas (pop), and especially anything that's labeled as 'diet' or 'sugar-free'.

By the way, I think becoming diabetic is a much more dramatic change in a person's lifestyle that just quitting soda.

on October 8, 2010

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Check out - you might be surprised!

on October 28, 2010

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