Elements of Paleo Hitting the Dr. Oz Mainstream?

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Toto, we’re not in Kansas, anymore

The other day I was alerted by my mom, via her sister that Dr. Oz had Dr. William Davis on his show, specifically about wheat and his book: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health.

I’ve blogged about Davis and his work going way back and mentioned his book here.

I’d made a note to look into this but hadn’t done so until compelled to do so by yet another Paleo theme getting airtime, which I’ll get to in a minute.

So here’s the link to the 3-Part Dr. Oz segment: Are You Addicted to Wheat? It’s pretty good. I personally think it goes beyond just modern wheat, but what the hell? I’m just not one to nit-pick such matters as some others have done in response to his book. Since it’s all modern wheat anyway, now, probably not a big issue. Anyway, take a watch. Note that the links for parts 2 and 3 are right below the video.

…So what prompted me to actually look into the wheat thing I’d heard of is that I got wind of Dr. Oz having on Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Jonny Bowden, co authors of: The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will.

And yea, been blogging about this forever, too. It’s yet another 3-Part segment: The Doctors Who Say Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong. Generally good, though I would liked to have seen more discussion of the root causes of inflammation (hint: start with the wheat segment).

So what is there to say about Dr. Oz but ‘good for him?’ He admits several times in both programs that he’s been wrong about a lot of things, and what more can you expect than that?

It’s also gratifying to learn that since I began writing about this stuff in 2007 that perhaps my sense of smell about all of this was pretty good, as it is for a great many others…bloggers, readers and commenters alike.

Good job all around. See, it is worth plugging away at the truth, day in, day out. Can you imagine either of those programs being aired in 2007? Me either.

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  1. I still have no idea what to make of Dr. Oz. He seems like such a quack and people say “oh he looks so good for his age.” Here’s the thing. He is extremely wealthy and has the right people around him. No one really knows what he actually eats (at least I have no idea nor have I seen his diet) but you would have to imagine he doesn’t eat crap. He does harp on calories in vs. calories out. I remember the interview with Gary Taubes and he was stunned to think carbohydrates could be as bad as Gary was saying. Obviously that myth has been debunked for the most part. I am rambling and frustrated.

    • Dr. Oz looks good for his age? Who’s saying that? He’s only 52 and looks at least a decade older.

      • I dont think he looks BAD. I guess its just general perception of him. But then again general perception is that people who are 40 look 55.

  2. Lute Nikoley says:

    So we know about the wheat and gluten, what about rye?

    • gabriella kadar says:

      Rye is 8% protein (gluten) compared to wheat which can vary between 11 to 14%.

      The traditionally sourdoughing technique for making 100% rye bread results in bacterial breakdown of the gluten, so the amount present can be significantly less than in the raw flour. It depends on the length of time the dough is fermented and the temperature. A longer ferment will result in lower gluten levels in the finished bread. (and a more sour bread)

      People with celiac disease cannot consume rye.

    • aminoKing says:

      Yo Lute, never mind the rye. Just do potato bread dude. Most of the potato bread recepies on the internet a rubbish though. I bet Richard could do better.

  3. More than a sense of smell, Richard. It’s what your evidence-based reasoning gets you 😉
    Or “what can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof” – your fave, Christopher Hitchens.
    It’s the anniversary of his death today. Sad.

  4. LeonRover says:

    “what can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof”

    Well, exactly.

    My version of this – “what is asserted as a ‘may’ can be dismissed with a ‘may not’ ” since may is a conjecture without a posteriori verification, it logically includes may not.

    I require experimental verification.

    I am (usually) not compelled, when someone states that they are compelled – I answer, “well, I’m not.

    And, ya know, if Dr Oz is stunned by something, that is good reason to look into the propostion that whatever he is stunned by is wrong.

    Gary’s CARBZ is POISON was never right – Kitava Study and others showed that. Now Richard has shown it for himself with the Potato.

    Similarly, the Cholesterol Proposition was killed in 1982 & 1984 for anyone who read the outcomes of the WHO & MRFIT trials. I read summaries then in The Sunday Times & Economist, while still a user of statistical methods. I did not need it to be recapitulated by Dr James le Fanu – The Rise & Fall of Modern Medicine (1999). I recommend this book to all, as he writes well, and is still has a weekly column in The Telegraph. Sceptical practitioners like le Fanu and Kendrick are more to my taste than Oz or Esselstyn.

    • Yea, but LR, you don’t miss my point do you?

      I simply accept the fact that Oz is the go-to authority for millions, millions of whom for which I desire a better life. Dumping wheat and not obsessing about cholesterol, whether you know why or are just following blindly, opens the door and keeps it open for the skepticism we all desire, because sure as shit, some small percentage of people who undertake such changes are going to connect more dots.

      I try best as I can to think long term.

      • I’ve been dabbling in paleo for about 3 years, but it wasn’t until last summer that I decided to tighten up my diet of eating real food. I lost about 30lbs in 2 months, had the improved energy, attitude, all that. People at work, friends, family all noticed, and when I told them how, they looked at me like I had three heads. I heard all the admonishing “facts” about saturated fat, not eating grains, sunlight, etc. Very few people got it, or felt I had the credibility to say what I was saying “because it was really bad.” I’m not a doctor or a shepherd and sheep need to be herded, you know? So, yeah, in a long winded way, if Dr. Oz gets people to eat real food, I’m all for it. That’s a step in the right direction.

      • LeonRover says:

        Gee, Rich.

        Today the subject is metaphors and the example is “connecting the dots”.

        The metaphor is taken from the mathematical technique called curve fitting, and one can literally connect the dots, or trace average paths thro’ them.

        The path choice is arbitrary in the following sense: the connector chooses the space in which he does the connecting, the curve shape that is connected and the averaging chosen on closely spaced dots.

        What’s my point ?

        Well, your dot-space may not be my dot-space, your curve type may not be my curve type, my averaging may not be your averaging.

        This notion of choice of representation, and how it affects what is seen (conclusion or judgement) has its simplest example in in figure-ground illusion; do you see the vase (white) or faces (black) – or even even both simultaneously. Back in the 1920’s Physics Experimentalists found they had to choose whether they measured from the wave perspective (vase) or particle perspective (faces) – particle wave duality.

        And a further point, in the analysis that I am using, the conceptual mathematical space has thousands of variables (technically a vector space), and there are many subspaces (each with smaller subset of the variables) and each subspace contains its (localised) clusters of dots – these clusters are the specialties, thermodynamics, endocrinology, cell metabolism, control theory, sports physiology, genetics, epigenetics, etc . . . .

        Be very careful how you you connect the dots – you might even come to an incorrect conclusion, even about yourself, and become ‘N minus 1’ .

      • I agree LR

        But all progress is very incremental, individual, different people connecting different dots in different ways and different times.

        I always maintain a long term view and never wring hands over discrete errors. It’s what the curve is shaping up to be and looks like over time.

      • Maybe it’ll convince NYC Mayor Bloomburg to get off his high food-banning horse? (Nah, prolly not.)

  5. Dr. Curmudgon Gee says:

    i got a big kick out of Dr. Oz’s version of “paleo diet” or cavemen’s diet a while ago which includes tofu.

    i think Oprah should’ve fired him long time ago. cause she must have lost hundreds of pounds by now!

  6. Richard,

    Thanks for the links. I rarely watch Dr. Oz clips, but whenever there someone I’m interested in like Tim Ferriss or anyone linked to the ancestral health community, I always like to give them a watch.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I was watching Dr. Oz do that cholesterol demo with the balloons and the big plastic artery. Arterial plaque buildup happens inside the arterial wall, not inside the artery. What a fucking jackoff!

  7. EatLessMoveMoore says:

    I don’t know… Seem to recall Melissa doing a pretty devastating take-down of Davis. He doesn’t seem to have much credibility in ‘real’ paleo circles.

  8. You mean we may be a multi-faceted populace with a varied physiology with various different levels of nutritional requirements? Thats scary, I like the robotic, one-size-fits-all approach. Meat with a side dish of seared flesh garnished with a nice liver pate’.

  9. Next week on Dr. Oz: Richard Nikoley and his miracle potato hack…

  10. Womens!

    Dr. Oz Talks About Going Vegetarian
    By Jason Wachob

    Did you know that Dr. Oz was once a hard-core carnivore? He’s now a vegetarian who believes in the power of eating plant-based. Dr. Oz tells People about his carnivore days: “I grew up eating a steak every night with mashed potatoes. It was a routine, kind of how my mom showed her love for me was to make that meal. We did it every single evening.” So how did this meat-eating guy end up vegetarian?

    Enter his wife!

    • Steak and potatoes is an omnivorous meal. I wouldn’t call it “hard core carnivore.” Vegans misuse that term to describe people who eat meat regardless of their intake from plant sources.

      • “Vegetarian” is also a misnomer. Eating any animal food along with plants makes you an omnivore. An ovo-lacto vegetarian is actually an ovo-lacto omnivore.

      • Chupo

        Thank you. Very too long since someone made that point in comments.

        There are vegans and omnivores. Nothing in between, regardless of how much animal an omnivore uses.

    • gabriella kadar says:

      Cow, his mother is a woman too.

      On the steak and potato diet Oz got into medical school. I guess his mother’s culinary repertoire was severely limited if that’s all she ever made.

      Now he’s a ‘vegetarian’ promoting raspberry ketones and other dubious quackery. He claims to keep walnuts in his pockets for snacking purposes. And I always though it was a codpiece he had on under his surgical scrubs!

      • Galina L. says:

        I knew several people who were originally from Turkey, and I also went there for a short visit. It is difficult for me to believe that a person with Turkish cultural heritage will abandon delicious ethnic vegetable dishes in the favor of using just potato as a side-dish for stake.
        I remember that Dr.Oz said that most he knew about nutrition he learned from his vegetarian wife, and his household was vegetarian. I also remember reading Lisa Oz avoids gluten, so Dr.Davis crusade on wheat could be not completely against Dr.Oz’s family policy on food.

  11. “Enter his wife!” -I guessing that literal! At least he go veg for pussy.

    • LeonRover says:


      The only related animal quote I can come up with is “Exit, pursued by Bear”.

      In your case I guess it might be “Exit, pursued by Bull” :) :)

  12. aminoKing says:

    Off Topic: The Jesus Diet says you can eat fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, olives, figs, dates, red wine, olive oil. It says to avoid red meat. Doesn’t look like you’d get a lot of calories from fat on this diet and it doesn’t mention nutritional ketosis either…


  13. Tonto.

  14. It’s difficult to accept Dr. Davis’ claim that eliminating wheat is a cure for obesity when the Italians – who eat a predominant grain carb diet (lots of pasta) – have, at 24.3, the lowest average BMI in Europe


    (US avg. BMI for males and females was 27.8 and 28.1, respectively).


    Italians eat approximately 100 less calories per day than Americans


    • LeonRover says:

      Those 2006 BBC data are for OverWeight not Obese.

      The more comprehensive list of (BMI>=30) data in Nationmaster


      shows Swiss Obesity % as 7.7% vs Italian 8.5% while the Intake Data is Swiss 3420 kCal vs Italian 3660 kCal.

      Even tho’ W A Price used Cantonal obsevations as part of his Dentition studies, I have not seen any Cantonal data of either consumption or obesity from recent times – has anyone?

    • Having been to Italy a number times while living in France, as well as since, I think the explanation lies in the Med food culture in general.

      Basically, it comes down to great pride & care, and food being as much social as nourishment. Eliminating grains al-la Davis can simply be seen as a hack. We already know that the so-called Med diet is pretty effective for those who stick to it.

      Also, Italians and French don’t eat as much pasta and bread as people seem to think. It’s nothing like the big bread basket with butter one gets in America, or the all you can eat pasta at Olive Garden.

      • It is my understanding that pasta in Italy is less processed and arguably more wholesome. Plus, they don’t drown their pasta in a sugar-laden pool of marinara sauce. There is something to be said about that.

      • Portion sizes are also typically modest.

      • Are they ever modest. the ‘primo piatti’ of spaghetti in restaurants comes in a small bowl that we here would use as a finger bowl. This is not an exaggeration.
        In most households, they don’t serve multi-course dinners anyway and so you don’t see pasta as often as people think, unless it’s the occasional main course – it’s not typically used as a ‘side’ like it is here.
        Sunday dinners on the other hand…well, they can last for hours and will have more than one pasta dish.
        At least, this is so in Firenze and Milano and generally from Rome-northwards, I’ve never lived or even visited the south.

    • Dr. Curmudgeon Gee says:

      Dr. Davis often overstates his case. but his message is an important one; he has helped so many more people.the book is very readable (to laymen); its title is sheer genius.

      Chris Masterjohn wrote a nice review; also more fair & more level headed than Melissa’s.


      • Melissa comes from jealousy first, always, though she can keep it in check it if the target is a frenemy or is currently one of the cool kids.

        And agreed…if all Dr. Davis had contributed were his title, that’s achievement enough. “Wheat Belly” is as powerful as a punch in the gut, yet is utterly believable. Everyone accepts that beer bellies exist, so the meme of “wheat bellies” could not be more devastating.

        It has the feel of something you’d always known was true (if not self-evident.)

      • Kinda was always my take Paul, and why I blogged about it long before his book, even.


        He blasted through, got his message out. Perfect? Of course not. Perfect messages almost never get out.

  15. I don’t think Oz would be admitting he was wrong about anything if he was still making a living as a cardiologist. He would still be prescribing statins to his patients with high cholesterol, and telling them to avoid butter. He is on tv around the same time as “The Doctors” basically the same tv show, so its no wonder Oz is now controversial with the likes of Mercola and now Davis. Richard, if he wasn’t patronizing these stars of our new age health community, you would probably be comparing him to ladies of the night.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled these people (the likes of Mercola & Davis) are getting prime time tv exposure, just don’t give too much credit to Oz. This is a guy who in his first book recommended eating the same cereal every morning as a means to loose weight, concept being you will be so bored with it, you will most likely not overeat… I kid you not. Also, I find the show so corny its unwatchable. It’s like he is trying to teach mentally challenged children.

    • LeonRover says:

      “loose weight” . . . are these the wobbly bits round the middle?

      • I flinch like Eric every time I read this. It’s not just thickos either.

      • Ha. Sorry… “lose weight.”

      • I still make that error too often.

        For whatever reason, that link Bill posted reminded me of this:


      • My head literally exploded when I read that.

      • A Brit friend of mine literally laughed his ass off.

      • “Those weren’t bullets flying, aimed. They had no idea the point of the attack was to collapse the buildings. They thought they were dealing with a building on fire.
        How many died of smoke inhalation.
        As to the rest of it, all the assholes left Europe, kicked George’s ass and lifted a middle finger. American assholes then had to go back twice to save all those nice people who can’t seem to see to their own defense.
        I can at least understand the Fench. The food and women are seductive. What’s Britain’s excuse?”
        From your last article comments. You have Brit friends after comments like this?
        I don’t think so…. You obviously hate us.

      • Quite to the contrary, Bill.

        If I hated you folks, truly, I wouldn’t bother raising a stink. Love & hate are just two sides of the same coin. Indifference is true hate.

      • Britain paid off our war debt to the USA finally in 2006.
        I’m not going into the semantics of WW2, everybody made sacrifices. Your frog friends with their sassy women and good food are going to go under very soon. Along with the Italians with their good pasta in moderate portions.
        The irony now is that Britain and the USA et al are in hock to the arabs and the chinese and are still holding out the begging bowl, because we are all in deep shit debt as countries.
        The future is very bleak and there’s no gung ho, kick ass John Wayne anymore to save us.
        Sharia law is being gradually and progressively introduced into Europe and with your muslim president, who is going to be in office way beyond his second term, it’s coming to you too.
        I hope you find your island in the sun that you have mentioned you’re looking for. I wish I had that option.
        The future definitely ain’t bright and there’s no cavalry coming over the hill.
        Peace, as Pat Condell says….

        If you can tell me I’m talking bollocks, then I look forward to your reply that will help me sleep better at night.

      • Bill, best I can explain myself is “tough love.” I hate to see things going in the land of our heritage like it is.

        Some of my best friends ever in the world have been Brits. Used to stomp around Hong Kong, Thailand and Philippines with xpats.

        Be careful over there.

      • Literal asses do run away when you laff at them and you’re in Britain, :)

      • LeonRover says:

        And how about this: ?????

        “reigns blows onto his windscreen”

        Mailonline –

  16. “It’s like he is trying to teach mentally challenged children.”

    Cause he is! American populace, eh?

    • Galina L. says:

      His audience full of screaming acting silly ladies, his kindergarten-level “demonstrations” make the show hard to watch.

  17. He will support this book today and give a recipe for whole wheat pita chips tomorrow. While touting both as being healthy.

  18. getting teabagged by a giraffe with elaphantitis will help you lose weight!!

    Oz is a snake oil salesman of grand proportions. It was only a matter of time before he started selling a bit of the “paleo” oil.

    • I find the cynicism misplaced. There are individuals seeing those messages. I’m never cynical over individuals getting good pieces of truth, regardless the source or motivation.

      • Sure, I get your point and I was partly trying to be funny, but I stand by it and here is why: most people only absorb a small ammount of information on nutrition in their everyday lives. If the information that they absorb is constantly shifting or lacks truth in the first place the long term effect will be a net negative. People buy tons of useless and possibly harmful product everyday and whether its statins or blue acai berry capsules, it’s dishonest and frankly dangerous.
        Dr oz constantly peddles the latest fad diet, hocus pocus pill or in this case, a sane idea. I don’t think he should be celebrated for his “work” just because we like what he’s saying at the moment. If he replaces is general quackery with a more evidence based and snake oil free approach I will retract my giraffe-teabag comment.

      • I think the television doctors mostly traffic in fear, imo Dr. Oz is not as bad as Sanjay Gupta who I think of as “Cancer Man,” I don’t have cable but when I am with family and turn on CNN that Gupta guy always seems to be on talking about horrific forms of cancer, like I need that on a daily basis, thanks for acerbating my hypochondria you dumbass.

        To the extent Dr. Oz talks about something other than my excruciating death from a particularly malignant form of ass cancer he’s a refreshing change of pace, even if he is pushing snake oil.

        Let him push blueberries as a SuperFood at least he doesn’t have me dieing in agony.

      • Finally.

        I wake up every morning mortified in fear of ass cancer.

        I thought I was alone, brother. :)

      • Hahahahahaha. Ass.

      • >> “I wake up every morning mortified in fear of ass cancer.

        i don’t have a donkey, but arse cancer is a whole other deal :)

      • aminoKing says:

        Ass cancer is the worst dude. If I get the slightest change to anything around my ass hole or if it gets a bit too itchy after some curry I go into a fit of hypochondria! I’d rather lose a limb than get ass cancer.

  19. I, for one, hope he has some influence over my parents, who still watch that crap sometimes. Ever since discovering my own low-level problems with wheat, I’ve been trying to get my mother and brother to give – at the very least – a gluten free diet a shot. She has fibromyalgia and he and my nephew are true ADHD (not just active kids…) and on the Autism spectrum, etc. Despite me pointing them to evidence of a connection between gluten and their problems and hoping they’ll at least experiment with elimination diets, they continue down the standard care path. They’re adults and get to do what they want, but a little nudge from the “authorities” might be helpful.


  1. […] While in the meantime, bone to my Paleo readers, he can introduce stuff like this: (the problem with wheat; and the cholesterol con; on Dr. Oz.) […]

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