Dr. Oz

In early November 2006, Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen introduced YOU: On a Diet. With its emphasis on small changes—like dropping just 100 calories a day and beginning low-impact exercises—their book has flown off shelves and become a bestseller. Now readers and viewers have plenty of burning questions.

Dr. Oz is here with the answers!
Dr. Oz helps a woman measure her waist

Dr. Oz introduced us to a part of the body many people had never heard of—the omentum. You know that a poor diet can cause your omentum to get larger, but once it's large, can you shrink it? "Absolutely. That's the whole purpose of the omentum," Dr. Oz says. "We're born with omentums that we can store fat in. So we're supposed to be able to have it get bigger and smaller."

You also know that your target omentum measurement is 32 and a half inches for women and 35 inches for men. If you have trouble remembering that target, Dr. Oz has a shortcut—your waist shouldn't be any larger than half of your height.

But what is the best way to measure your omentum?

Dr. Oz says to first find your belly button. Then, before you measure, suck your stomach in as much as you can. "We're not concerned about how lax your muscles are or your posture. What we want to figure out is what's going on inside the muscles, where the omentum is. You can't suck your omentum in," he says. "If you're sucking as hard as you can and taking a deep breath in, if that lets you measure your waist to just get the omentum, you're doing fine
Dr. Oz and Oprah

When Dr. Oz said healthy, monogamous sex can help you lose weight, viewers wrote in with lots of questions.

First, Dr. Oz wants to clear up a misconception that sex burns a lot of calories. In fact, sex only burns about 25, equal to half a slice of bread.

Instead, Dr. Oz says the real value of meaningful sex—not recreational sex—comes from the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which makes you feel community, love and empathy. "That is incredibly important because besides lowering your blood pressure, what it does is it tells your gut not to send signals to the brain to eat. So it's a wonderful tool to get you where you want to be," Dr. Oz says. Losing weight then tends to increase your sex drive, he says.

And, losing weight improves the sex lives of men in another way. "If you lose 35 pounds, if you're a male, you are gaining one inch of penis length," he says. Often when a man is carrying a lot of extra weight, Dr. Oz says a fat bundle builds up and starts to surround the shaft. As a man drops the weight, that fat starts to recede.

"I've been doing this show 21 years," Oprah says. "I always love to hear something I've never heard before, and I've never heard that before."
Oprah holding a brain

He's mentioned the "craving center" in our brains before, now Dr. Oz is ready to show you exactly where that center is!

Some cravings are physical, stemming from deficiencies of specific nutrients, like sugar, salt or protein. The pituitary gland is involved in the releasing of hormones that will instruct your body what the brain wants.

Other cravings have emotional origins. Dr. Oz says the mamillary bodies control both memory and cravings. Why would these two functions be intertwined? "When you're two years old and you're having a bad time and your mother gives you a fatty food, this part of your brain remembers that. Right next door, when the satiety center says to eat food, the place it draws on its memory from is right next to it. So the mamillary bodies say, 'The last time you had that cream pudding, it took care of your problem.'"

Dr. Oz says the reason you can be stopped dead in your tracks by the smell of cookies baking is because that smell registers right in the middle of your brain. "It bypasses your thought process, it's a reflex," he says. "It mainlines right into the middle of your brain and you don't have any ability to control that."
The Quick Magical Breakfast Blaster

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Dr. Oz says it's important for losing weight, too!

If you're looking for a needed addition to your breakfast menu, try this "magic drink"—chock-full of healthy ingredients like blueberries, bananas, soy protein and apple juice.

Get the Quick Magical Breakfast Blaster recipe!

You might notice a couple of ingredients in there you've never heard of before—psyllium husks and flaxseed oil. The psyllium husks provide fiber and the flaxseed oil adds Omega 3 fats. "When you have fiber for breakfast, you're not hungry all day long because you've got a stable blood sugar."

Dr. Oz says the recipe is open for alterations. "Strawberries and peaches would give it a little more 'oomph,'" Oprah says.
Dr. Oz and Oprah

Cate says she tried a quick-fix to lose weight after the holidays—by getting a colonic. Is this a good way to lose weight?

"I have to deliver bad news and I'm not embarrassed about doing it," Dr. Oz says. "We just don't have any data that they help health at all. ... The better way to clean yourself is from above by eating foods that let your body naturally push everything out. I just have never been able to find any data supporting colonics as being better for you—short-term or long-term."
Oprah, Dr. Oz and Danyelle

Danyelle says she recently lost 90 pounds in part by eating foods that use Olean and Olestra. These artificial oils have been known to cause stomach problems and diarrhea in some people, though others report little or no side effects. Though she's had none of the side effects, Danyelle asks Dr. Oz if eating them is healthy.

"They're not dangerous for you," Dr. Oz says, but he offers a caution. "It's a synthetic product you're putting in your body. The nice thing about them, actually, is they keep you honest. If you eat a really fatty food, when you go to the bathroom, it looks like an oil spill. ... The way they these products work is they prevent your intestines from absorbing fat. They're supposed to get you trained to have less fat coming through your diet."

If you do rely on foods cooked in these synthetic fats to lose weight, Dr. Oz says, you need to eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to replenish the vitamins A and E that are being blocked from your body.
Dr. Oz

Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen encourage people to stay away from simple sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, but are sugar substitutes a healthy alternative?

While these substitutes—like aspartame, saccharin and Splenda—have not been proven to be dangerous, Dr. Oz says they also haven't been proven to promote weight loss.

"When you have a sugar substitute, your brain knows that you're not really taking calories in. It can't be tricked. At the end of the day, you're still going to get your calories," he says. "There's a lot of data behind this. Don't think that by taking a diet food that has a sugar replacement in it that you're actually going to be able to lose weight because of that. That's not how it works. Artificial sweeteners do not lead to weight loss, unless it's the only way to get you off the simple sugars that we have in our drinks all the time."

Dr. Oz encourages people to drink 100 percent fruit juice. Despite their high calories, these juices have valuable nutrients. "You're only going to be able to diet long-term if you aim at a hundred calories. Don't try to lose 500 a day," he says. "You can cut a hundred calories a day just by being smarter in what you eat."
Jason and Karen

When Karen's husband Jason sleeps, his snoring is so bad that it keeps him from getting a good night's rest. He says he even feels more tired when he wakes up. Though he's only 35, Jason says he feels like he's 45.

Before the show, Dr. Oz analyzed Jason. He found that Jason is diabetic and has hypertension. His health isn't that of a 45-year-old—it's more like that of a 55-year-old!

For people who can't sleep, Dr. Oz has some quick advice. First, try going to bed at the same time every night, even on weekends. Also, if you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up and try meditating to break the rhythm of insomnia.

By looking at the tape of Jason sleeping, Dr. Oz says it appears that he has sleep apnea, a condition where people stop breathing for up to 10 seconds in a row. This cycle of suffocation and gasping for air can happen 400 times a night. "That's like a series of rear-end collisions that are destroying your heart and your brain," Dr. Oz says.

The best way to treat sleep apnea is to lose weight. "If you lose five percent of your weight, your sleep apnea symptoms go down by 30 percent," Dr. Oz says. "That's a big deal."
Lisa and Nicole

After Lisa saw the show about Dr. Oz's diet, she says she realized she was contributing to her daughter Nicole being overweight. "I look at Nicole now and I see a beautiful girl that needs some help. That's my daughter," she says. Lisa asks Dr. Oz how she can get herself and her daughter healthy.

Dr. Oz says this is an important issue that many families face. "Seventeen percent of kids in this country now are overweight. When I was graduating from college, it was 5 percent," Dr. Oz says. "We've tripled in less than 25 years the amount of obesity in kids in this country, and we've tripled the diabetes rate among kids." Dr. Oz says overweight kids are even complaining of sleep apnea, knee pain and high blood pressure.

There are a few things Dr. Oz says Lisa can do to help her family stay healthy:

  • Make decisions in the supermarket. Dr. Oz says Lisa should stop buying foods with simple sugars and bad fats, like trans fats.
  • Make sure the entire family is on the program. "It's not fair to have Nicole on a diet when a sibling is chowing down on a double cheese pizza," Dr. Oz says.
  • Don't "pester" your child about weight loss. "Kids don't respond well to that and that's a fact," Dr. Oz says.
  • Get together with other moms in the neighborhood and encourage conversations between kids and adults about healthy living. Find out how you can get kids talking to kids!
  • Encourage exercise. Try this easy exercise plan for your children to follow.

Dr. Oz says eating dinner backwards can actually help you lose weight. In Europe, most salads are eaten at the end of the meal, which Dr. Oz says is beneficial. "The salads stimulate those digestive enzymes. They have a lot of water in them and they physically fill you up, so you're less craving of desserts afterwards," Dr. Oz says. "The other thing is that salads have a little bit of sweet to them so you won't desire the dessert as much as a taste on top of that."

Still, most of us aren't eating European meals with many courses. Many people, like Eric, a 41-year-old salesman who travels frequently, only have time to grab fast food. Eric wants to know more about making healthy choices when fast food is his only option.

Dr. Oz says if you must eat fast food, there are three things you should keep in mind.

  • Avoid fried foods.
  • Avoid fattening salad dressings.
  • Be proud of a "doggie bag."

Find out which fast food items are better than others!
Dr. Oz and Oprah

Many viewers have written in wanting to know which bread is best—100 percent whole grain or 100 percent whole wheat? "Either one's fine, but it has to say 100 percent. If it doesn't say 100 percent on there, it doesn't count," Dr. Oz says. "When it says ... 7-grain bread, none of that matters."

When wheat grows, there's an outer shell that has a lot of fiber and B vitamins in it, Dr. Oz says. If your bread is not made of "100 percent" whole wheat or whole grain, Dr. Oz says that means some of the nutrients in that important shell have been removed and you're not getting all that you should.

Numbers also count when it comes to dessert. Dr. Oz says when you need a sweet treat, reach for a little bit of chocolate—and a brownie doesn't count! Don't go for the milk chocolate either, Dr. Oz says. You need dark chocolate with 70 percent or more pure cocoa to reap the benefits of flavonoids.

"Flavonoids are these really powerful, vitamin-like substances that when you eat them, guess what they do? They dilate the arteries of the body," Dr. Oz says. "We actually have data they may be beneficial to the heart. So a little bit of dark chocolate is a wonderful dessert."

Pam and her husband started Dr. Oz's new diet after watching the show and decided to get healthy together. Pam says her husband's body responded immediately, and he even lost a whole pants size in 10 days! But on Day 17, Pam says she's only lost two inches off her waist. She's working just as hard, so why is her husband losing faster?

The answer, Dr. Oz says, comes down to muscle. "Men tend to lose a little faster because they have more muscle mass," Oz says.

If Pam had more muscle, Dr. Oz says she would lose the weight faster. "Walking and lifting weights build up those core muscles and that's actually how you drop the weight quickly," Oz says. "The beauty of that is as the weight comes off, you can continue to eat and sometimes even eat more because the muscle consumes so many calories."

Use this no-excuses workout in your own home!