(NBC NewsChannel) Dr. Mehmet Oz received a scolding from senators today at a hearing on false and deceptive diet ads.
The television host, and frequent guest on the TODAY Show, said he has been the victim of scammers who use his discussion of weight loss products as endorsements, even though he makes a point to not promote specific brands.
However, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said the flowery language he uses when describing weight loss options other than diet and exercise could send the wrong message to consumers. "I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true. So why, when you have this amazing megaphone, and this amazing ability to communicate, why would you cheapen your show with saying things like that?"
"You know what the biggest disservice I've done for my audience? It's not the flowery language that Senator McCaskill is criticizing me for. It's that I never told them where to go to buy the products. I wanted to stay above the fray, and I felt, in my own mind that if I talked about specific companies selling high quality products it would seem like I was supporting those companies, so I never gave them, the audience, an idea of where to go to buy this stuff. So that opened up a huge market for folks to just make fake stuff, real stuff, it doesn't frankly matter, and start to use my name to start to sell. I left my audience hanging thinking I was doing the ethical thing,” Dr. Oz responded.
The Federal Trade Commission and supplement industry groups testified at the meeting about their efforts to contain deceptive ads.
The FTC has published a seven point "gut check" consumers can use to assess products that seem too good to be true.
Take a hard look, FTC advises, if the ad claims the product:
•Causes weight loss of two pounds or more a week for a month or more without dieting or exercise
•Causes substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats
•Causes permanent weight loss even after the consumer stops using the product
•Safely enables consumers to lose more than three pounds per week for more than four weeks
•Causes substantial weight loss for all users
•Causes substantial weight loss by wearing a product on the body or rubbing it into the skin.