385-Oprah, Weight Loss Drugs and Post-Show Analysis with Dr. Natalie Gentile

by | Apr 2, 2024

Oprah, Weight Loss Drugs

Oprah, Weight Loss Drugs

Oprah Winfrey’s highly anticipated TV special on weight loss drugs sparked heated discussions around obesity, weight stigma, and promoting medication for cosmetic purposes. To provide a balanced, multi-disciplinary perspective, Stephanie sat down with Dr. Natalie Gentile, a weight-neutral physician, for an in-depth post-show analysis.

Dissecting the “Obesity Disease” Claim

One central claim was that obesity is a disease, repeated numerous times on the show. Dr. Gentile clarified that while the U.S. medically classifies obesity as a disease for insurance coverage of treatments, this view is not universally accepted. In Canada, for instance, obesity is not considered a disease by medical authorities, highlighting the varying expert perspectives on this complex issue.

The “Obesity Gene” Myth Debunked

Claims about an “obesity gene” were prominently featured. However, Dr. Gentile explained that while genetics likely influence body size, no specific “obesity gene” has been scientifically identified yet. Promoting this unsubstantiated idea could reinforce weight stigma and the notion that people in larger bodies are inherently diseased or flawed, Stephanie added.

Weight Loss Drugs: Benefits, Risks & Accessibility

The new GLP-1 agonist drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy were touted as groundbreaking solutions. From a medical perspective, Dr. Gentile acknowledged their potential benefits for some patients but highlighted concerns around side effects, nutrition deficiencies, high costs, and challenges with long-term adherence – especially for vulnerable groups. Furthermore, Stephanie questioned whether promoting drugs as a solution addresses deeper issues around weight stigma.

The Role of Internalized Weight Stigma

A central theme was participants describing how the drugs “turned off the voice” of obsessive food thoughts. Dr. Gentile proposed this could reflect reduced internalized weight stigma after weight loss, rather than a direct biological effect. Stephanie agreed – attributing it to quieting internalized weight bias and associated disordered thoughts around food when societal pressures to be thin are temporarily alleviated through weight loss.

Childhood Interventions: A Balanced Approach

The show featured a teen who had bariatric surgery, sparking debate. Dr. Gentile emphasized the need for nuanced, case-by-case approaches with family support rather than broadly recommending invasive interventions. Meanwhile, Stephanie added that any intervention must address potential psychological impacts of weight stigma on children and families first.

Industry Influence or Public Service?

While Oprah elevated important public discussions, both experts expressed disappointment that the show seemed to favor framing weight loss drugs as an ideal solution, with limited representation of dissenting medical views. Moreover, they speculated that any conflicts of interest that may emerge could shed light on the true motivations behind the show’s narratives.


This multi-expert analysis reminds us to approach weight and health with nuance, scientific integrity, psychological mastery, and compassion. Overcoming systemic weight stigma through inner work and wider societal change is paramount to achieving holistic well-being for all, regardless of size.

Dr. Natalie Gentile (she/her) is a board-certified Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine physician who owns a direct primary care practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She strives to meet patients where they are and, with a personal history of disordered eating, is passionate about running a weight-neutral practice that is a safe space for any and all.

What you’ll learn listening to this episode on Oprah and Weight Loss Drugs:

  • The truth behind claims that “obesity is a disease” and the “obesity gene” myth
  • Potential benefits and risks of drugs like Ozempic from a medical perspective
  • How internalized weight bias may drive the experience of drugs “turning off food obsession”
  • Insights on the delicate balance of childhood weight loss interventions

Mentioned in the show:

Free Resources and Training

Connect with our Guest:

Website – Dr. Natalie Gentile

Instagram – Dr. Natalie Gentile

Facebook – Dr. Natalie Gentile


Podcast Stephanie Dodier


I’m Stephanie Dodier – Non-Diet Nutritionist and Coach. I help women fight diet culture by reshaping their mind not their body. I have been hosting a million downloads podcast- It’s Beyond The Food for over 8 years and created the Going Beyond The Food Method™️, which was born from my own journey with a 25 years dieting career  and has since grown into a global movement.

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