SBM: "Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans - More Weight Loss Pseudoscience" - The UltimateFatBurner Blog

SBM: “Dr. Oz and Green Coffee Beans – More Weight Loss Pseudoscience”

Normally, I don’t look forward to Mondays, but today is an exception… we hosted 5 of our kids’ friends from the Tri-Cities for the weekend. Nothing like having 7 teenagers (ok, 6 teenagers – Number One Son is actually 22) around the house, to feed, transport, and tip-toe around in the morning. A good time, however, was had by all – even the chauffeur (yours truly – I rented a Dodge minivan for the occasion).

At any rate, while I was prepping for the visit, I was amused to discover this post on Dr. Oz’s promotion of green coffee bean extract by pharmacist Scott Gavura at Science-Based Medicine. As you might already know, Paul (with a bit of help from moi) wrote about this shortly after seeing the show (here and here). Not all the points that I discussed with Paul made it into his published review, so I was delighted to see Gavura’s take on them. I didn’t have the time to post about it last week, but I do now!

Short version: Dr. Oz has chosen to sensationalize the results of a small study with serious methodological flaws.

A taste of the longer version:

…So when the sign in front of my local pharmacy started advertising “Green coffee beans – as seen on Dr. Oz”, I tracked down the clip in question. The last time I saw Dr. Oz in action when when he had SBM’s own Steven Novella as a guest, where there was actually a exchange (albeit brief) about the scientific evidence for alternative medicine. Replace Dr. Novella with a naturopath, and you get this:


Yes, Oz did use the terms “magic”, “staggering”, “unprecedented”, “cure” and “miracle pill”. And clearly the naturopath, Lindsay Duncan, is enamored with this product. But Dr. Oz is a health professional – he’s the Vice-Chair of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. He’d be a bit skeptical, right? This exchange at the end, made me shake my head – Dr. Oz really has crossed the woobicon:

“Now I always pride myself at having the smartest TV audience out there. So I’m hoping that some of you are skeptical about this. I was certainly skeptical about it. Am I speaking for a couple of you, anyway? It does seem a little too good to be true.”

So what did Dr. Oz do – issue cautions about obesity panaceas? No. He created some anecdotes:

“So I gave the supplements to two viewers 5 days ago. I gave all the information I could find on this product to our medical unit, they did diligent work, but we still wanted to see what would happen in real life.”

One viewer dropped 2 pounds in 5 days. The other viewer lost 6 pounds in 5 days. Convincing weight loss? It was persuasive to Dr. Oz.

So now I’m going to do what Dr. Oz, the producers of the show, and the naturopath Lindsay Duncan didn’t do — actually review the evidence.

It’s great stuff… check it out.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. Wow! I feel like I just watched an infomercial. A bad one at that. It continues to amaze me as what the good Dr. Oz is promoting.

    I guess what is more impossible to understand is the amount of people that believe and follow his “advice”.

    In looking at the results of study you can see the flaws as pointed out by Mr. Gavura. Yet I am sure the boost in green coffee bean extract sales is fantastic.

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  2. I am Monika. I am 21 yrs old, I have gained lot of weight My current age is 74 kgs and height is 5.1 inch.
    I planed to loss my weight and inches both within 2 months I searched so many options tried many diet regimes including GM diet plan but not much weight loss was there. I am going for aerobics. My instructors has recommended me to use a meal replacement and add a fat burning formula . I searched so many options but I could found only Meal Replacement Shake available in India is slim life.
    Has any one used this product? If yes , what was the result ?
    Please share your opinion with me. you can find the product details:

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  3. I’m a little confused and am hoping you can clear things up. You mention in both of your articles that green coffee extract has not been proven to work yet you promote abidexin as the best weight loss product for the past three years. One of the largest components of abidexin is green coffee extract. The list of ingredients you also list on your review of abidexin doesn’t include igreen coffee extract but when you go to the abidexin webpage the ingredients they list is very different from what you list and does include green coffee extract. Are you sure you are reviewing the right product? If you are reviewing the appropriate product then why the trash review against one and not against the other? Under your review of abidexin I do not see studies done to show it’s efficacy and it leaves in my mind the potential that your website is potentially paid by some companies to promote their products. Can you clear up these glaring holes? It would be nice to have a website consumers can trust for reliable information on weight loss meds. Thank you.

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    • I’m not finding an “Abidexin” review – I’m assuming you mean “Apidexin.”

      We do not promote Apidexin – in fact, our view of this product is generally negative (see this also). Yes, it is on our list of “popular” fat burners, but that listing is based on customer interest/site searches – not because we feel it’s a good/economical product.

      Is it possible that you’re referring to the Google ads? We monetize the site via ad revenue, and the Google ads are different for different people. Now that I’ve done a Google search for Apidexin, I’m now (unfortunately) seeing an Apidexin ad in the sidebar… but that’s Google’s doing, not ours, I’m afraid. This post explains the situation in more detail.

      I just took a quick look at the current Apidexin site – it does indeed look like the formula has been changed. This is par for the course for many online products, which makes it tough to keep up with them. When an ingredient gets to be “hot,” (which GCB extract is, thanks to the Oz show), it’s not unusual for products to be reformulated to take advantage of the hype.

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention – obviously, the Apidexin review needs to be updated to cover the formula change.

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  4. Susan, we do not recommend Apidexin. Never have. Never will – unless it becomes a competitively priced, smartly formulated product. However as Elissa says, our ads are delivered independently by a 3rd party, and do not constitute editorial content. Maybe that’s what you saw.

    Here’s the review for confirmation:

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