Several pounds of prevention with Dr. Oz

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So, I was all ready to write about Dr. Oz, and how I can’t decide if I love him or hate him, and right when I thought I just couldn’t stomach one more skin care segment from some B-list celebrity, he does a special on ovarian cancer that’s actually informative, and I’m teetering toward “love” again.

But only slightly.

It’s about 51 percent love, 49 percent hate, so Dr. Oz, don’t pat yourself on the back too vigorously just yet. Just one lame-o beauty secrets with Erin Moran segment will reverse that ratio faster than you can say “On today’s show, my never-before-revealed shocking secret about how your pancreas is killing you!”

Oh, if only I had a dollar for each of Dr. Oz’s “never-before-revealed” secrets, I could afford all these supplements I’m taking that I can’t live without. No, literally. I could drop dead tomorrow if not for the conjugated linoleic acid and raspberry ketones and L-carnitine Dr. Oz told me about. You see, that’s the salient point about The Dr. Oz Show: There’s something lurking in your body, poised to kill you, but thankfully, there’s a supplement for that.

Take raspberry ketones. Dr. Oz said they’d melt fat away, and demonstrated by dipping balloons into a chemical soup, and they shriveled right up. So, I decided to give them a try.

I trotted on down to Vitamin World for Dr. Oz’s latest never-before-revealed secret, and got the last bottle of raspberry ketones. Before, they just gathered dust on the shelf. Once Dr. Oz featured them, the sales clerk told me, they sold out and were back-ordered for weeks.

Yes, he has that kind of power. He’s the Alan Greenspan of hypochondriacs. By the time he says “jump,” we’re already mid-air.

(Funny little side note: Want to make your doctor’s eye twitch? Just say, “Well, Dr. Oz says…”)

Anyway, the raspberry ketones didn’t melt anything except money. I actually gained five pounds after taking them, so I doubt I’ll buy more. Which is fine, because I have a list of 10 other never-before-revealed supplements that I need to purchase, and without delay, because without them, I could drop dead tomorrow.

Fear of death. That’s really the underlying lure of Dr. Oz’s pitch, and it’s aimed at a very specific audience — women over 40. Once women start careening toward midlife, we get the message very quickly that our bodies are landmines of medical hazards. Once our hormones start to falter, we’re prompted to leap into action to prevent our bodies from aging in a normal, natural way. “Anything but aging” becomes our mantra, and we’ll do and swallow anything to avoid the hot flashes and crow’s feet and saddlebags.

And then you get sucked into that first Dr. Oz show, and discover that crow’s feet are the least of your concerns. Ladies, did you know that your sad, tired post-menopausal uterus could just collapse and fall right through your vagina and poke out the opening like Yertle the Turtle? It’s true. And thank you, Dr. Oz, for giving me one more thing to dread about my body. I haven’t done a single jumping jack since you did that feature.

The dread fear of all the new and improved ways your body can kill you is what keeps women tuning in. It’s a reality soap opera taking place inside your own skin. You must watch Dr. Oz every day, lest you miss the Hidden Dangers Lurking In Your Toothpaste! or the Top Five Foods That Can Stop Your Heart! or the Never Before Revealed Secrets About Deadly Cheese!

Oh. My. God. Living causes death! I never dreamed that my uvula could swell up from a sudden allergic reaction to gluten in my salad dressing and choke me to death! Thank you Dr. Oz for enlightening me, because I never dreamed that uvular asphyxiation could take me out on the spot! But, you say 1,000 milligrams of powdered Chinese kiwi seeds will prevent this?


Of course, the Dr. Oz show isn’t all about “living causes death” anxiety. That’s just the first half of the show: Stay tuned for a secret kitchen cabinet beauty regimen with Greta Van Susteren!

See, the first half of Dr. Oz’s show makes you terrified that you’re going to die, and the second half makes you want to kill yourself.

And that’s not the only pattern I’ve discovered. Nearly every Dr. Oz teaser touts a “secret” or something “shocking” to get your attention, and there’s often some sort of “belly-blasting” feature. It’s that cursed “belly-blasting” phrase that clued me in. Hmmmm. Where have I heard — and hated — that before? Ah yes – Prevention Magazine! Which I stopped reading decades ago when I realized that the template for that magazine is simple: Your body is deadly, your body is imperfect, and your hips, belly and thighs are to be despised unless they’re as firm and tight as a skinned cat.

It’s all clear to me now: Dr. Oz is a walking, talking Prevention Magazine, complete with cheesy guests, and fashion and beauty tips that only a former nun could love. And, despite the fact that I kicked the Prevention Magazine habit years ago, I can’t quite stop watching Dr. Oz.

I’m groaning through most of it, mind you. But I can’t quite stop.

Because I might miss the never-before-revealed shocking secret of sudden death from adrenal gland collapse, and how a never-before-seen powder made from the mildew of Sri Lankan elderberries could save my life!

In true Dr. Oz fashion, I must close with my own never-before-revealed shocking secret about Dr. Oz: He’s Casey’ Kasem’s unfrozen cloned brother. I’m sure of it. Just close your eyes and listen. You can almost hear him segue into this week’s Top Ten Hits. Want to really freak yourself out? Compare photos.


Almost as shocking as the Top Ten Ways Your Lip Gloss is Killing You!

Thank God there’s a supplement for that.

— Email Debra at; read more of her work at, and

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