A straight answer is sometimes difficult with nutrition. You often hear two contradictory messages days apart from each other. And it’s about what seems like a basic, fundamental question.
These messages now come from more places too. We have radio, television, blogs, social media, our doctor, family, friends, personal trainer, etc, etc. The point is, we get bombarded with information about health and nutrition. For you, you have the daunting task of trying to decipher it all to make the best choice. You want a source of information you can trust to give you a straight answer.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen medical talk shows become more popular as one of these sources. The question is: do they give accurate information? Is what’s good for TV ratings also good for our health?
One recent study published in the British Medical Journal put this question to the test. A team of researchers evaluated a random collection of 80 recommendations from 40 episodes each of The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors from early 2013. They compared the recommendations from the shows with what the scientific evidence base is for each. Are the recommendations backed by research and evidence?
The major findings?
- For recommendations in The Dr Oz Show, evidence supported less than half (46%) and contradicted 15%.
- Evidence was not found for 39% of recommendations from The Dr Oz Show.
- For recommendations in The Doctors, evidence supported 63% and contradicted 14%.
- Evidence was not found for 24% of recommendations from The Doctors.
I’m not arguing some recommendations from these shows might be helpful. Nor am I arguing against the low standard of many nutrition studies or that ethics prevent us from conducting the types of studies necessary to validate the recommendations given. But, I am saying that anytime there is a profit motive in nutrition, we’re probably best served by exercising a healthy dose of skepticism.