Medical ethicist Art Caplan joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan for his regular Boston Public Radio segment, "Ask the Ethicist." Caplan talked about the efficacy (or lack thereof) of "detox" diets, a possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and a new report on US obesity.

Art Caplan is head of the division of medical ethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center, and cohost of the Everyday Ethics podcast. He joins BPR every Wednesday.

A new study from JAMA Internal Medicine found two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

We all congratulate ourselves that people are learning more, and educating themselves, and doing better in term of avoiding sugary drinks and all that stuff. [...] We're not a country that's learning a lot from our own media. [...] There are [advertising] efforts to get them to eat larger portions [...] than there are efforts to get them to [eat better] inside schools.

Are you shocked by the findings?

From a steady pattern of advertising, fast food and junk food, to not doing anything in schools to modify behavior -- yeah, I'm not totally shocked. [...] I think [the public] needs the big crusade. [...] We gotta make a big dent in this just like we did smoking.

What do you think of detoxing and juicing diets? Are they just fads, or is there some merit?

Bad. Bad, bad, bad. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Ridiculous. [...] It doesn't make any sense relative to this notion of 'cleansing.' We're just learning about the bacteria [in our gut]. [...] The idea of killing them off by cleansing your digestive tract -- I think that made some sense back in the 18th century [but not now]. Plus, you're not getting a balanced diet. I don't mind if someboy is going to have a drink of more vegetable juice over more sugary, fruit juice. But if you're going to go on a 30-day cleanse, or you're gonna drink juice for a week, that's bad.

So, keep eating some fruits and veggies.

Eat the peach, not the peach juice. It's better than stopping at a fast food place, no doubt about that. But I still think it's better to eat the whole Magilla.

An Australian woman went to the hospital because her skinny jeans cut off circulation in her legs. Should skinny jeans come with a warning label?

Art Caplan hasn't been into a pair of skinny jeans [...] in a long time, let's put it that way. [...] I think skinny jeans, if they're cutting off your circulation and numbing your limbs -- which is what was happening to our Australian friend, [it's] not good.

>>To hear the entire segment, click the audio link above. Questions in this interview were paraphrased, and Caplan's responses were edited where noted [...].