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    Who Said It?: Reveal

    dr-oz-0304-lg-85334211Interviewer: Is all seafood good for you?

    Our subject’s answer: “Nope. Some of the crustaceans have cholesterol — shrimp, crab, lobster.”

    This is what Dr. Oz told Esquire magazine last year.  Granted, the rest of his nutrition-related answers (except for one other, which I discuss below) are accurate.  However, I am extremely surprised that someone who considers himself a nutrition expert is not up to date on dietary cholesterol research.

    When it comes to issues of heart disease, dietary cholesterol is waaay down on the list of troublemakers.  Trans fats, excessive omega-6 intake, insufficient omega-3 intake, high intakes of sugar, and certain saturated fats (mainly those in the meat and milk of corn and grain-fed cattle) are of much more concern.

    Shrimp, crab, and lobster are not “unhealthy” because they contain cholesterol.  Besides, wild salmon contains cholesterol, so why is Dr. Oz singling out crustaceans?

    In an attempt to avoid cholesterol in crustaceans, many people instead opt for red meat which offers lower levels of cholesterol but significantly higher levels of problematic saturated fatty acids (and not a single milligram of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids).

    Another one of Dr. Oz’s misguided tips — he recommends eating “wheat crust” pizza.  This is one of the most aggravating tips, because… well, it isn’t a tip at all!  White flour is made from wheat; ergo, it is wheat crust.  “Wheat” does not mean whole grain.  The real tip is to aim for “100% whole wheat” crust.

    The whole “wheat bread is healthier than white bread” idea needs to be squashed immediately.  Too many times, breads simply labeled as “wheat” are made from white flour with caramel color or molasses thrown in to give it a healthy-looking brown tint.

    It is statements like these (along with others I have pointed out on the blog) that truly make me wonder why Dr. Oz is viewed as a “nutrition” guru.  The two tips mentioned in this post are basic Nutrition 101 information.



    1. Chad Hamilton, PhD said on August 31st, 2010

      Grass-fed beef has contains 0mega-3. The fat content of grass is about 60% omega-3. But I agree, it’s hard to watch someone who everyone is looking to for health screw up.

    2. Andy Bellatti said on August 31st, 2010


      You are correct. However, most people who opt for red meat over shrimp (due to cholesterol fears) are usually purchasing conventional, corn-fed beef. While grass-fed beef offers some DHA and EPA, seafood and sea vegetables are better sources.

    3. Todd said on August 31st, 2010

      Andy, thanks for the information. I actually saw Dr. Oz say that, and it befuddled me since my dietitian has finally successfully beat the fact into my brain that dietary cholesterol is not the main contributor to my higher cholesterol numbers. It’s really frustrating to be told one thing by a medical professional you trust (and pay!) only to hear the opposite by self-proclaimed experts on TV and in the media. It’s really amazing how much conflicting information is out there regarding nutrition. It seems that all we can do is take it all in and somehow find a way to filter the truth from the fiction. Your blog is a big help!

    4. Andy Bellatti said on August 31st, 2010


      Thanks for your comment. I am especially surprised that a cardiac surgeon is not aware of the latest research on dietary cholesterol and heart disease. It’s rather alarming, to be honest. Alas, Dr. Oz has reached that point where his every word is gospel, so these statements that do nothing but confuse (and wrongfully inform) the masses particularly irritate me. This is further proof that doctors should not be the #1 source for nutrition advice. Medical school is about treating existing disease; not about disease prevention.

      I have met a handful of doctors who studied nutrition separately (thereby making them believable and accurate authorities). However, we need to stop thinking that “MD” automatically means “knows what he/she is talking about in terms of nutrition”.

    5. Lauren Slayton said on September 2nd, 2010

      Dr Oz is a great communicator, respected surgeon and looked to for advice by many. He is not an RD nor does he have a any nutrition degree. Nobody wants me to operate on them, why do they think MD makes you qualified to dispense dietary advice?

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