Under pressure from Congress, Dr. Mehmet Oz on Tuesday offered to help "drain the swamp" of unscrupulous marketers using his name to peddle so-called miracle pills and cure-alls to millions of Americans desperate to lose weight.
Oz appeared before the Senate's consumer protection panel and was scolded by Chairman Claire McCaskill for claims he made about weight-loss aids on his popular TV show, The Dr. Oz Show.
Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon, acknowledged that his language about green coffee and other supplements has been "flowery" and promised to publish a list of specific products he thinks can help America shed pounds and get healthy — beyond eating less and moving more. On his show, he never endorsed specific companies or brands but more generally praised some supplements as fat busters.
McCaskill took Oz to task for a 2012 show in which he proclaimed that green coffee extract was a "magic weight loss cure for every body type."
"I get that you do a lot of good on your show," McCaskill told Oz, "but I don't get why you need to say this stuff because you know it's not true."
Oz insisted he believes in the supplements he talks about on his show as short-term crutches, and even has his family try them. But there's no long-term miracle pill out there without diet and exercise, he said.
Within weeks of Oz's comments about green coffee — which refers to the unroasted seeds or beans of coffee — a Florida company began marketing a dietary supplement called Pure Green Coffee, with claims that it could help people lose 17 pounds and cut body fat by 16 percent in 22 weeks.
Last month, the Federal Trade Commission sued the sellers behind Pure Green Coffee and accused them of making bogus claims and deceiving consumers.
Oz stressed Tuesday that he has never endorsed specific supplements or received money from the sale of supplements. "If you see my name, face or show in any type of ad, email, or other circumstance," he said, "it's illegal" — and not anything he has endorsed.