In the study, researchers evaluated 40 episodes of the Dr. Oz Show for the accuracy of the advice, comparing the recommendations dispensed on the show with the current medical evidence.
The results showed that less than one-third of the advice can be backed up by even modest medical evidence.
If that sounds alarming, consider this: Nearly 4 in 10 of the assertions made on the show appear to be made on the basis of no evidence at all. Worst of all, 11 percent of the recommendations made on the show actually ran counter to the medical literature.
“Consumers should be skeptical about any recommendations provided on television medical talk shows,” the authors write. “Viewers need to realize that the recommendations may not be supported by higher evidence or presented with enough balanced information to adequately inform decision making.”
This is not the first time the validity of Oz’s advice has been in question. In June, a Senate subcommittee took him to task for telling his approximately 2.9 million viewers things like: “I’ve got the No. 1 miracle in a bottle to burn your fat. It’s raspberry ketones.”
“I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said during the hearing.
The authors of the BMJ study conclude by suggesting that shows like Dr. Oz should be viewed as forms of entertainment, rather than sources of medical information. “Decisions around healthcare issues are often challenging and require much more than non-specific recommendations based on little or no evidence,” they add.