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Coast to Coast - 2024-05-13 - Johann Hari - Weight Loss Drugs

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George Noory

Johann Hari

Monday - May 13, 2024

Author Johann Hari is one of the top-rated TED talkers of all time. In the first half, he discussed how weight loss drugs such as Ozempic are about to change our world, for better and for worse, and explained the way they work. "Obesity is the biggest killer in the United States. By one measure, it kills over 680,000 people a year," he noted, adding that we now have a series of drugs that reverse obesity. Ozempic is one of a group of semaglutide injectable medications that mimic the GLP-1 hormone released naturally in the body that contributes to a sense of satiety when we've eaten enough. Originally, these medications were used for treating diabetics, and as such, they have been on the market for nearly 20 years, so we have data on their relative safety, he pointed out.

Hari, who has struggled with obesity over the years, described taking the drug himself, and how it almost immediately reduced his appetite, which was initially an odd sensation. One of the common side effects from the drug is nausea, which he said was relatively mild for him, and while there are other more serious side effects, they are rare, and he has concluded that the benefits of the medication in reducing the health problems that come from obesity outweighs the other risks. He pinned the rise of obesity in America on the change in diet from natural, whole foods to highly processed ones. Hari sounded a note of caution about people with eating disorders taking the drug, and suggested that doctors should only prescribe it to people with a BMI rate that is higher than 35.


I know Hari has written some pretty good books in the past, like Stolen Focus, but I am not sure if he is just trying to ride the wave of what is popular now just to remain relevant. I think he has a new book out about this particular subject of weight loss drugs, but he sounds more or less pro-drug...