In a country where majority of people suffer from obesity and other weight related conditions, a person who offers a solution to such, by giving frequent advices on diet is just what Americans need. A person who will ‘sell’ hope to Americans by giving them knowledge on healthy living and effective weight loss strategies. And who else can do this other than a person whose name has a prefix “Dr”? Someone who will indeed come and treat Americans of all weight related complications and his or her practice will be different and safe from what other health professionals are doing.
This person is none other than Dr. Eric Berg, founder and owner of Health and Wellness center in Alexandria, Virginia. And just so you would not confuse him with someone else, Dr. Eric Berg has his photo, an animated version, as the logo for his business name. Whether or not this is professional is subject to debate.
Who is Dr. Eric Berg?
“The Knowledge Doc” is the slogan used to describe Dr. Eric Berg on his logo, clearly standing out in the Health and Wellness website. And true to this, he has for many years now offered advices and teachings on good living, focusing or change in diet to Keto foods and reducing carbohydrates and wheat. With over 4 million subscribers on YouTube, Dr. Eric Berg is a professional Chiropractor, with over twenty years of experience. Yes, even with all the hype he stumps on the social media, he is not a medical doctor, as most people perceive, but a trained Chiropractor. From a case posted in quackwatch.org, his license number is quoted as License No.: 0104-001851, and he is allowed to practice in the commonwealth of Virginia. https://quackwatch.org/cases/board/chiro/berg/
At the age of 55, Dr. Eric Berg has over 4000 videos on his YouTube page and he teaches on healthy living through change in diet. From his teachings, he claims that the cure to all diseases is through good eating habits and puts more focus on Keto diet with minimal carbs and wheat. Whether or not he provides this information to the public domain for his own selfish gain or for the benefit of others, is still subject to debate because in as much as he claims to change the lives of people through knowledge, he also ‘sells’ this knowledge for monetary gains. In the Health and Wellness company website, which he is the founder, Dr. Eric Berg has books and digital content which he sells. In addition, he has various products, which are food supplements that include vitamins and minerals.
At his Health and Wellness center in Virginia, Dr. Eric Berg claims to offer free consultation services, but from several reviews on yelp, this is just a way to lure clients into buying his products and enrolling into his wellness programs.
Is Dr. Eric Berg a Real Doctor?
Superficially one would think that anyone who holds the title “Dr”, and who consistently talks about health matters is a trained medical doctor. Well that is not the case for Dr. Eric Berg. In RationalWiki website, https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_Berg, Dr. Berg is portrayed as a Chiropractor and this has been identified in several articles online, with his practicing license number being 0104-001851. Despite not being a medical Doctor, he portrays himself to be one and lures many people into thinking the same. In several instances, he tries to explain some anatomical and physiological concepts in the human body. Dr. Leonardo Venas, a medical doctor in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pnix75yLXqE points out that some of the information that Dr. Eric Berg explains in his videos is not grounded on true medical practice. In addition, Dr. Eric Berg puts a disclaimer on his Health and Wellness company website as follows;
“The dietary and other substances, and/or materials, equipment or devices discussed on this site may not have undergone evaluation and/or testing by the United States Food and Drug Administration or like agency of any other country. Risks that might be determined by such testing are unknown” (https://shop.drberg.com/).
Such a disclaimer on his website would really raise a lot of questions concerning the effectiveness of the products that he sells and even the services he offers.
Do Dr. Eric Bergs Videos make sense scientifically?
Dr. Eric Berg has over 2000 videos in his YouTube channel, where he explains various concepts about health diet and his focus in mainly on Keto diet. One major characteristic about his videos is that he uses simple illustrations that can be easily understood by any layperson, who has no prior knowledge in the medical field. Most critics however have said that Dr Eric Berg’s videos are biased and that most of them are based on mere beliefs and not on scientific research.
For instance, Dr. Leonardo, a medical doctor, criticizes Berg’s remarks about Insulin in one of his videos.
Berg claims that insulin in people with type two diabetes is what causes complications such as nephropathy, neuropathy, and end organ damage and hence should not be used as a treatment option. This according to Dr. Leonardo contradicts scientific studies, which have shown that these complications arise from progressive micro vascular damage resulting from excess blood glucose levels and not from insulin. In the another video, Berg claims that he has no confidence in scientists who depend on observational research for facts. Dr. Leonardo argues that for a scientist, observational research is paramount especially in studies where it is not possible to get ethical approval like most cancer research studies.
Dr. Eric Berg’s videos have been identified as unscientific in nature and most professional bodies have gone out in public to deny some of the claims made in his videos. For instance, In one video, Berg explains that theory of “adrenal fatigue”, which he claims is the main cause of diseases (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mywjn9lT5k). This theory has been criticized by most endocrinology societies, and termed unscientific (http://www.sheilakealey.com/nutrition-experts-shouldnt-trust-2/).
Violation of Professional Ethics
Just like any other profession, the practice of Chiropractors is regulated by governing bodies and one such body is the Virginia Board of Medicine. As a qualified and licensed Chiropractor, Dr. Eric Berg ought to follow all that the board requires as per specifications of practice. This has however not been the case. In 2008, Dr. Berg faced a disciplinary action by the board whereby he was fined $1500 and subjected to several orders that spoilt his reputation. The main reason for this was that he took part in some irrational practices, which were against his professional scope.
According to the case, posted in (https://quackwatch.org/cases/board/chiro/berg/), Berg practiced four techniques, which according to the Virginia Board of Medicine, was not in the scope of practice for Chiropractors. This included; The Body Restoration Technique (“BRT”), Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique(NAET), Contact Reflex Analysis (“CRA”) and Acoustic Cardiograph (” ACG”). In addition to this, Dr. Eric Berg violated various practices such as those of good patient record keeping and failure to take patient’s medication history.
While the whole world is trying to control the Covid 19 global pandemic, Berg has definitely not been left out and a video which he published shows his sentiments about Covid 19 and how individuals should respond. In the 5min video, Berg explains that Covid 19 has mainly affected the elderly especially those with chronic diseases. He later on suggests that the only way to gain immunity from contracting Covid 19 is eat foods that will help build your immunity. While this is true, Berg does not mention the importance of Vaccines as a strategy to overcome the pandemic.
This was intentional as in the past Dr. Eric Berg has proved to be against vaccinations. He claims that vaccines bring more harm to individuals and contribute to severity of diseases rather than reduction (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_Berg). Berg has publically declared that he is part of the anti-vaccination movement, and by doing this, he goes against his professional ethics by denying scientific evidences related to vaccines.
Berg the Scientology “Bug”
One of the greatest supporters to someone’s achievements should be his or her family. However Dr. Eric Berg’s acts have been criticized even by his own family, with his son being on the front line in confessing that his Dad is a scientologist and that he makes frequent contributions towards this course. In an article on Rationalwiki.org, Ian Rafalko, Berg’s son said that his Dad, was a scientiologist with a rank of OT 8 and had contributed over $7 million towards this rather skeptical group (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Eric_Berg).
Dr. Eric Berg has over the years rejected his association with Scientologist and whether his son’s sentiments were true or not is just another mystery among many that revolve in the life of Berg. The son also claimed that the profit margins realized by his Dad from the sale of his products were a lot and Berg has not accounted for most of these funds.
Although most of business fraud cases involving Berg have not been legally reported or posted on the public domain, a number of clients have expressed their negative remarks through bad Google and Yelp reviews. A number of them as seen in (https://www.yelp.com/biz/health-and-wellness-center-alexandria-3), complain that they did not receive good services from the Health and Wellness center. Most of them said that the products they ordered were either not delivered in full or delivered in bad state.
These customers in addition said that their efforts to get a refund from the company was not successful and most of them had to seek legal means to get a refund of their money. One such client explains that he had to go through a lot in order to get a refund and from then he could not trust Berg’s services anymore (http://drericbergscam.blogspot.com/2016/08/dr-eric-berg-scammer-read-this-before.html?m=1). From the main Health and Wellness website, there is no provision of “return money guarantee” which is available in most online shopping platforms.
Whether or not Dr. Eric Berg’s products are effective or not is a 50-50 chance and guess who knows that? Yes! Dr. Berg himself. On the Health and Wellness center website, the following disclaimer appears at the bottom of the page. While the other details in the website are clear, this disclaimer is in smaller font and not easily visible. The reason for this disclaimer is that no complains can be made by clients who use the products on grounds that they are not effective. This disclaimer therefore raises a lot of questions on if Dr. Berg’s theory is genuine or is he using humans as Guinea pigs to prove a point.
Plagiarism and false misinterpretation
Plagiarism is the worst form of crime in the scientific research world and every researcher has the responsibility to acknowledge information he or she uses from other researchers. Unfortunately, Dr. Eric Berg has been linked to plagiarism claims following a video he published on YouTube in 2020. In this video, Berg uses information from an article by Chris Kresser’s and fails to acknowledge him in the video. This was plagiarism and Dr. Berg received credit on efforts done by another person. In addition, Dr. Berg misinterpreted the information in the article by explaining the conversion of beta carotene to retinol, while in real sense, the article only talked about bioavailability of beta carotene (https://libredd.it/r/keto/comments/k3a40l/popular_keto_youtuber_dr_eric_berg_is_a_fraud/).
This review suggests that Dr. Eric Berg has a lot of influence on many Americans especially the ones having concerns about their weight and lifestyle. While some people have given positive and good rating reviews on Yelp and Google, on the usefulness of his videos, many have also criticized his practice and this has led to many ethical concerns. Enough evidence exists on the public domain to show the good, the bad and the ugly side of Dr. Eric Berg and from this, a person can clearly decide on which side to cling to concerning Berg’s reputation. This review is based on available sources and is open to critique and is not in any way meant to spoil the reputation of Dr. Eric Berg, but to understand the general public opinion about his profession.
- False Misrepresentation
- No Professional Ethics