The 60 Minutes Segment on “Obesity” Was a Shameful, Dangerous, Irresponsible Drug Commercial

In this post is EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING, you need to KNOW  about the latest GLP-1 semaglutide “wonder” drugs. 

These so-called miracle weight-loss drugs are neither miraculous nor are they a cure. They are a wildly speculative, thinly veiled prescription for a life-long drug dependency.

For more than 50 years, 60 Minutes has been one of America’s iconic news broadcasters because of its unique style of reporter-centred investigation. On January 1, 2023, its segment on obesity was not only a far cry from investigative reporting, but it was also a flagrant endorsement to medicate ourselves to health.

This travesty was nothing more than a 13-minute Novo Nordisk drug commercial featuring reporters and doctors with a conflict of interest so massive it would make producers of late-night infomercials blush.

Lesley Stahl: Almost half of American adults have obesity, a condition that was a fraction of that just 40 years ago, and scientists don’t agree on what’s caused the dramatic increase. What everyone does agree on is that it’s a major health crisis because obesity can cause type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke and more than a dozen cancers. Now there’s a medication that leads to dramatic weight loss.

Then we’re introduced to the show’s star, Dr. Fatima Cody-Stanford, an obesity doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital who laments that common belief about obesity are all wrong.

Lesley Stahl: I’ve always heard that it’s the fast food. That it’s the Diet Cokes, that kinda thing, that is the instigator. Is that true?

Dr. Fatima Cody-Stanford: So I think we have to look at the different causes of obesity as a big pie. And that’s one factor. But notice how I’m using this part of the pie, right? (She’s indicating a tiny slice) But the number one cause of obesity is genetics. That means if you were born to parents that have obesity, you have a 50-85% likelihood of having the disease yourself even with optimal diet, exercise, sleep management, stress management, so when people see families that have obesity, the assumption is, “Ugh. What are they feeding those kids? They’re doing something wrong.” 

So, let’s stop here; the implication is clear: if you’re obese, you have a genetic problem, and if you have a genetic problem, obesity is out of your control, regardless of your lifestyle, food choices, exercise, or sleep habits. (Could drugs be the answer?)

Now let me be perfectly clear, I’m not suggesting that genetics don’t play a role in the symptoms of obesity; what I am saying (what “good” science is saying), most emphatically, is that genetics do NOT cause obesity any more than genetics cause the “disease” of alcoholism. The fact is, obesity had a very definitive beginning, and the cause of obesity was not and is not genetics. 

Since the early 50s, we’ve been steadily transitioning from natural, home-cooked foods to fast-food, packaged, and ready-to-eat frozen foods – in other words, ultra-processed food.

The year 1975 tipped the scale when we began eating more of this stuff than we could overcome. And I use the word “overcome” deliberately because the human body is not equipped to survive on chemically engineered, high-calorie, low-nutrient, fibreless food.

In fact, research in the field of epigenetics is finding that our lifestyle choices – the foods we put in our bodies, the chemicals we are exposed to, how active we opt to be, and even our social environments – will alter our health at the level of the gene. We are not at the mercy of our genes. They are, in many ways, at the mercy of our health and lifestyle decisions and habits. On the one hand, our genes affect our health since they can put us at varying levels of risk for issues like heart disease, weight gain, and even depression. And on the other, our lifestyles also affect our health in significant ways at the level of the gene. (1, 2, 3) 

Most people are getting more than 60% of their total calories from ultra-processed food, which means at a cellular level, the human body is virtually starving. To survive this perpetual famine, our bodies ratchet up our hunger hormones to get more nutrients. Then to conserve energy, it slows our metabolism to preserve our fat stores … the only thing standing between life and starvation.

Since every cell in our bodies is virtually made from our food, how Dr. Stanford can dismiss the Western diet of engineered poison as inconsequential to the cause of obesity shows the limitless capacity of the human mind to filter what it does and doesn’t want to accept.

But aside from insisting that genetics cause obesity, let’s see what other factors Dr. Stanford blames for the rising obesity epidemic.

Dr. Stanford: Actually, do you know this? 79-90% of physicians in the United States have significant bias towards individuals that are heavier. Now, doctors listening to me may say, “Oh, it’s not me.” Hold your horses because has that patient come to you and told you, “Look, Doc, I’m eating well.” “Look, Doc, I’m exercising.” And the doc says to them, “Are you sure? I don’t believe that that’s really what you’re doing.”

Lesley Stahl: Wait, are you saying that doctors don’t understand obesity? Doctors?

Dr. Stanford: Doctors do not understand obesity.

Imagine the audacity of a physician asking a patient a question. What bias!! The fact is that 79 to 90% of those physicians who don’t understand obesity know full well that patients don’t always say, or even know, how much they ate or exercised. If you doubt that, here’s a sampling of studies showing the difference between a “typical” patient’s claims and reality. (4 – 20)

It would seem that – according to Dr. Stanford – a proper physician/patient interview should be conducted so that the physician takes whatever a patient says as verbatim. If a patient claims to be exercising and eating well (whatever that means), asking follow-up questions signifies weight bias and racism. God forbid if a physician would ever be so heartless as to ask a patient to step on a scale … the ultimate in fat shaming!

But there’s more …

Lesley Stahl: Drs. Apovian and Stanford have been advising companies developing drugs for obesity, including the Danish company Novo Nordisk, an advertiser on this broadcast.

It makes the drug Wegovy that you inject yourself once a week with something like an EpiPen. It’s not easy to get. The drug is currently in short supply. And it costs more than $1,300 a month …, and most insurance companies refuse to cover it partly because, as AHIP – the health insurance trade association – explained in a statement, “these drugs have not yet been proven to work well for long-term weight management and can have complications and adverse impacts on patients.”

Is this an unfair overreaction by AHIP?

Well, according to Novo Nordisk, users of Wegovy may experience – what they describe as “not serious” side effects such as – nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach (abdominal) pain, headache, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, bloating, belching, gas, stomach flu and heartburn.

All normal reactions of a body desperately trying to expel poison. 

Lesley Stahl: Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Weight Management and Wellness Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston;

Dr. Apovian: “What we’ve seen so far is really nausea, vomiting, you know, that’s why these drugs are dosed slowly and starting with low doses.

Lesley Stahl: Oh, and build-up?

Dr. Apovian: And build up.


That’s “funny” increase-the-dose was the same prescription that Purdue Pharma gave for their opioid drug OxyContin, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of users. According to the doctors working for Purdue, those depending on OxyContin weren’t addicted; they were only “pseudo-addicted” because their doses were too mild!

Lesley Stahl: Dr. Apovian says most of the side effects go away over time.  

Most side effects go away over time, but that’s because the human body can develop a tolerance for almost anything. Consider how it forms  a tolerance for various poisons such as tobacco, alcohol, chronic drugs, and our modern diet of ultra-processed chemical concoctions we think of as convenience food

Dr. Apovian: “We are frustrated every single day when we see patients who desperately need to lose weight to reduce the diabetes, reduce the hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and we can’t give them this fabulous, robust medication that is very effective and safe.”

Safe?!!!  How would she know?

According to Novo Nordisk, taking Wegovy may cause many more severe side effects, including; pancreatic inflammation, gallbladder problems, increased risk of low blood sugar and changes in vision in people with type 2 diabetes, kidney problems, severe allergic reactions, increased heart rate, depression or thoughts of suicide.

We’re so conditioned to turn to chronic drugs that we don’t even bother holding them accountable … we just keep swallowing!

How's This for a Return on Investment?

The U.S. spends more on health care as a share of the economy (nearly twice as much) as the average OECD country — yet has the lowest life expectancy, the highest chronic disease burden, and an obesity rate two times higher than the OECD average.

Clearly Drugs are NOT Working!

I remember the first time I saw a drug commercial and listened to the long list of side effects; I burst out laughing, thinking, who would take a drug that all but guaranteed severe side effects?

Fast-forward 25 years and these warnings are so commonplace that no one seems to take notice. 

Note: In case it’s hard to see, the lowest line belong’s to the U.S. which spends the most on drugs per capita.

Dr. Apovian: “We are frustrated every single day when we see patients and we can’t give them this fabulous, robust medication that is very effective and safe.”

Safe?!! Let’s look at some facts about the assumed safety of these drugs. First, Wegovy underwent a 68-week study funded and supervised by Novo Nordisk! 

The only possible way to verify the long-term safety of a drug is with a long-term study … and 68 weeks hardly qualifies. To put this in perspective, a 5-year study on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer would have shown no causation or correlation whatsoever.

Dr. Apovian: “We are frustrated every single day when we see patients and we can’t give them this fabulous, robust medication that is very effective and safe.”


Perhaps it’s because Wegovy has been FDA approved?

As far back as the 1940s, weight-loss drugs have been hailed as miracle cures, even though they carry potentially life-threatening side effects that cannot be recognized in short-term therapy. For example, in the 90s, the FDA approved Fen-Phen and Redux, two miracle drugs that induced feelings of satiety … before it was realized they caused heart valve defects.

The FDA-approved Meridia was recalled in 2010, after more than a decade on the market, because it increased the risk of cardiovascular events and strokes. 

Belviq was on the market for 10 years before it was recalled in 2020 over cancer concerns.

Dr. Apovian: “We are frustrated every single day when we see patients and we can’t give them this fabulous, robust medication that is very effective and safe.”

Did you know that from 2004 to 2012, the largest pharmaceutical firms paid the U.S. Department of justice over $18 billion in civil and criminal settlements for misbranding, unlawful promotion, deceptive marketing, off-label promotion, kickbacks to physicians for prescriptions, failing to report safety data, false claims, misleading safety information, and this $18 billion in settlements was in the United States alone AND for the crimes in which they were caught!

Since nobody goes to jail, paying fines, delaying judgements, and fighting off allegations in court are just a cost of doing business. Paying a billion-dollar fine while making 10 billion on profit is a pretty good deal.

In fact, on October 21, 2020, Purdue Pharma reached a settlement potentially worth U.S. $8.3 billion and admitted that it “knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet doctors dispensing medication without a legitimate medical purpose.”

Lesley Stahl: You would think that the insurance program for older adults would see enormous benefit to these drugs. There are about 110 million Americans eligible for an anti-obesity medication, making it a costly investment for insurance, but if they covered it, overall government and private healthcare spending would probably come down.

Oh right. Beautiful! 110 million users on a $ 1,000-a-month drug dependency that must be taken for life.

One can only imagine how the major drug cartels are left scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong.

As for the “long-term side effects” of Wegovy and the other GLP-1 drugs getting fast-tracked FDA approval, that’s all in the future. Right now, there’s too much money to be made. As for Novo Nordisk, don’t worry about them; they’ve limited their liability; they’ve put the side-effects warnings on their packages (meaning buyer beware), and of course, they got FDA approval.

What’s the worst that can happen? A future recall? Perhaps. A fine? We can deal with that. An out-of-court settlement? Whatever! As the old saying goes, “Make hay while the sun shines!”

How Do These “Miracle” Weight-Loss Drugs Work?

They slow down the digestion in the stomach, which causes the GLP-1 hormone to signal the brain that, says I’m full, even if you’re not. This means you can starve your body, and you don’t feel the least bit hungry. 

Here’s the irony, eating real food with nutrients and fibre also slows the digestive process and keeps us feeling full for many hours. However, with Wegovy, you can eat a bunch of highly processed, empty-calorie garbage and have the same feelings of fullness as if you ate real food!

Why Aren’t the Latest GLP-1 Drugs the Answer?

When people take a drug, antibiotic or medication for a virus, infection or type 1 diabetes etc., they take a product designed to help their body cope with either an invasion or a malfunctioning system. 

The challenge with weight-loss medication is that it’s designed to make a perfectly healthy system malfunction. A healthy body absorbs food for energy, and any extra energy (food) that’s not burnt naturally and healthily, gets stored as fat. This is basic 101-survival for all life forms. So, for the weight-loss drug to work, it must seize control of an eons-old survival system. The hubris to think we can hijack a perfectly-functioning system consisting of trillions of cells, all working together in perfect harmony, and manipulate it to our crude desires without consequences is akin to an ape repairing a Swiss watch with a mallet. 

We cannot medicate ourselves to health. Seeking a weight-loss cure through medication while eating the “typical” Western diet is like asking your doctor for a drug that will offset the effects of excessive drinking so that you can continue to “enjoy” excessive drinking.

According to Dr. Sidney Wolfe, former director of the Health Research Group, “The possibility that a weight-loss drug will only do the good things like lose weight and not have myriad side effects on the body – is zero.” 

How Can We Lose Weight Without Resorting to Drugs?

We need to feed our bodies to lose fat, not starve them. The latest gold standard studies show that a properly nourished body will automatically shed excess fat. (21 – 25)  

Before our recent history, being overweight and obese (except for rare cases) was unimaginable, whether food was plentiful or not. Animals in the wild are never obese. Herds can graze to their heart’s content. Still, they don’t gain excess weight because all their natural signals of satiety, cellular nutrition and hormone signalling function to perfection. Before our modern diet of ultra-processed food, so did ours.

As for the latest miracle weight-loss drugs, they’re neither miracles nor are they a cure. Even if dramatic weight loss is achieved, one may still be overweight or obese. Since these are chronic drugs (to be taken indefinitely), a 68-week study is an extremely short window to discover long-term effects; and there will be long-term effects. Remember that anyone taking these drugs is a volunteer guinea pig whether they realize it or not.

Population-wide obesity began when we tried to subsist on nutrient-void convenience foods. Eating a diet of low-grade poison and then curing the effects with chronic drugs is sheer madness.

What was so inappropriate about this 60 Minutes segment (aside from the fact that Novo Nordisk advertises on their broadcast) is that these drugs were framed as a miracle cure. 60 Minutes has been known as an investigative news program, which means it examines both sides of a story; that’s what investigative reporting is all about. This obesity segment was nothing other than a shameful infomercial.


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