Wednesday, January 13, 2016

#1569: Lindsey Duncan

Lindsey Duncan is a naturopath and one of many scammers and hucksters pushing phony drugs and supplements and fake weight-loss aids, in particular, in Duncan’s case, green coffee bean extract, which Duncan claimed could cause you to lose lots of weight in a short time without diet or exercise. There are plenty of these people out there, but Duncan is a bit special since he was invited on Dr. Oz’s show to promote his products, an appearance Duncan would use for all it was worth (which, given Dr Oz’s lack of moral and intellectual integrity, should be nothing but isn’t) for marketing purposes.

Duncan, who told the show’s audience that his weight loss claims were backed by a clinical study (found to be “severely flawed”), began selling his extract at Walmart and on Amazon after agreeing to appear on Dr. Oz but before that particular episode aired, which gave him time to build up a serious marketing campaign around that appearance (apparently it was the Oz show who contacted him and asked him to promote green coffee bean extract as a weight loss remedy; Duncan had apparently had nothing to do with it beforehand but said “yes” and immediately started pushing it). Through his companies Pure Health LLC and Genesis Today, Inc., he also paid spokespeople to promote the products without disclosing their financial ties. Apparently he eventually sold tens of millions of dollars’ worth of the green coffee bean extract (other supplements he promoted included fake “cancer-fighting” supplements, such as black raspberry). The FTC ultimately forced him to pay $9 million to customers, and he was barred under the settlement from making further deceptive claims about the health benefits of his dietary and drug products. He was also charged by Texas authorities with falsely claiming to be a physician and doctor, which, as a naturopath with his education from a diploma mill, he isn’t. We haven’t really followed more recent developments but can only hope that he’s been put out of business (probably not).

A 2014 study found that half the medical claims made on The Dr. Oz Show had no scientific basis or were directly contradicted by available evidence. It also found that Oz himself neglected to address potential conflicts of interest on his program. So yes, this post is ultimately another one about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Dr. Oz and his show.


Diagnosis: A standard scammer and snakeoil salesman. It is, of course, unclear whether Duncan himself believes a word of the falsehoods that keep dropping from his mouth, but with these high-profile supplement providers the distinction between true believer and opportunistic fraud is very, very hard to draw. Counts as a loon for our purposes.

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