The doctors who say “Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong”
That was the title of the lead segment of the Dr. Oz show on 12-11-12. While he occasionally presents some very helpful information (See my “home run” blog below), his typical audience has no idea what to believe. That’s because the information presented on Tuesday is likely to be contradicted on Wednesday or Thursday.
But let’s not blame Dr. Oz. We must remember that he is in the entertainment business—not the health-promotion business. If he just talked about healthy stuff, his show would be cancelled in less than a month.
But the sad part of this story is that millions of Americans take everything they hear on his show as fact—and that could sometimes be hazardous to their health. Confusion over clarity is not good for promoting health. But it is good for making money.
So what about this new book, The Great Cholesterol Myth? Dr. Oz interviewed the two authors, a cardiologist and a doctor of nutrition and simply asked them questions. From their book’s description on Amazon, here are a few examples of things that Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra covered in the interview:
Myth–High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease.
Fact–Cholesterol is only a minor player in the cascade of inflammation which is a cause of heart disease.
Myth–High cholesterol is a predictor of heart attack.
Fact–There is no correlation between cholesterol and heart attack.
Myth–Lowering cholesterol with statin drugs will prolong your life.
Fact–There is no data to show that statins have a significant impact on longevity.
While portions of the above statements might be true, that is not the point of this blog today. My point is that the multi-million-person viewing audience was only more confused about nutrition by the end of the 20-minute segment.
That’s because they never got really clear about exactly what one should eat to promote vibrant health. But they did imply that grass-fed beef and free-range chickens were perfectly healthy foods. And I could tell from the enthusiastic cheers from the audience that they were loving what they were hearing about their bad habits. To be fair, Dr. Bowden did encourage the audience to eat lots of fruits and vegetables—and he did look fairly healthy himself.
So who is Dr. Jonny Bowden and Dr. Stephen Sinatra? Well, you can do your own Google search and find out for yourself. After learning that Dr. Bowden got his doctorate at Clayton College, I found the following on Dr. Stephen Barrett’s QuackWatch website (See link below):
Many non-accredited correspondence schools issue “degrees” and certificates which suggest that the recipient is a qualified expert who can provide rational advice about nutrition or health care. These documents are promoted as though they are equivalent in meaning to established credentials—which they are not. One of the most prolific was the Clayton College of Natural Health (CCNH), of Birmingham, Alabama, which offered “degrees” and certificates in “natural health,” traditional naturopathy, “holistic nutrition” and related subjects. CCNH described itself as “the world’s leading college of natural health” with over 25,000 graduates. But, in July 2010, it suddenly announced that it was closing. This article explains why I recommend avoiding its alumni. (See link below to read more)
The Bottom Line. Although the Oz Show can be very entertaining, you should not consider it your primary source of dietary information. Do your own research and discover the legitimacy, credibility and authenticity that you deserve.
After sharing this blogpost with my esteemed colleague, Dr. Campbell, this was his comment:
It really is about ‘confusion over clarity,’ as you have repeatedly said. This tactic is used by those who want to do their thing without having to defend it. Stealth under the cover of darkness. Aimless wandering in a dense fog. And getting someone with a fake ‘PhD’ to create more fog is all part of the game. Disgusting. —T. Colin Campbell, PhD
Finally, I do urge you to check out the first two blogs below about two great Oz segments. The first features a group of women who tested a “prehistoric diet” while living in a tent in New Jersey for just 48 hours. The results were amazing.
The second features Dr. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard and others in a show devoted to the truth about the optimal diet for humans.
- My favorite Oz segment ever. Oz hits a HOME RUN with Julieanna Hever…
- Another great Oz segment. Dr. Oz Show — focusing on plant-based, whole foods
- Dr. Stephen Barret’s article about Bowden’s alma mater, Clayton College
Handy 5-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
- Dr. Campbell’s new book: WHOLE, Rethinking the Science of Nutrition
Why should we be eating mostly plants? The “big picture” in 4 minutes.
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