Friday, October 31, 2008

Diet Pills Reviews: The alli Weight Loss Pill

The alli Weight Loss Pill

Now that all the hype and fanfare have died down some, what’s the verdict on the magic bullet diet pill being sold over-the-counter under the brand name alli?

OK, so in all fairness, manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has never termed its weight loss pill as magic... or miracle... or even the second coming of the prescription drug Orlistat which was marketed as Xenical. Nope, from Day One, GSK has taken the high road with the hype machine for alli.

It’s you and me – and the insatiable, controversy starved media – that is to blame for setting up this diet aid up as the end-all for obesity.

What it is

According to the website:

“alli is the only FDA approved, over-the-counter weight loss product. What makes alli different? FDA approval and a sensible approach that focuses on your long-term success.

“alli isn’t just another product for you to buy. alli is a pill with a plan. This program requires a commitment to living your life in a new way as you learn to change your eating and activity habits.

“alli is not for everyone, but alli is an option. If you are ready to take responsibility, alli and your hard work can help increase your weight loss by 50%. That means if you could lose 10 pounds with dieting alone, you could lose 15 pounds working with alli.” medical advisor, Dr. Robert Kushner, is OK with alli.

"Alli is the only over-the-counter medication shown to be safe and effective for weight loss. But for this to work, it must be used with a healthy, calorie-reduced diet," he notes.

Registered dietitian Susan Burke March MS, RD, LD/N, CDE isn't as kind.

"Alli is not a quick fix — it’s a Draconian idea, similar to the drug developed for alcoholics," Susan says. "It creates immediate negative consequences for indiscrete behavior; with all too public embarrassment should the user decide to go against the treatment prescribed. The pill works to make you eat differently — to eat fewer calories from fat, but not necessarily to eat less.

"A prescription drug for alcoholism, Antabuse, promotes sobriety because the expected pleasure from drinking is eliminated and replaced with nausea. Take alli and eat too many calories from fat, and possibly suffer unpleasant ‘anal leakage’, cramping and diarrhea. Alli is also designed to block 25% of the fat calories consumed. This pill doesn’t produce weight loss on its own; it’s just may be the ‘whip’ that certain individuals need to stay on the straight and narrow path to weight loss, but it won’t keep the weight off.

"Will you lose weight permanently? Not necessarily. Not unless the diet you adopt to lose weight is the diet you stick with permanently... with some modifications that allow more calories once you reach your goal."

Unfortunate side-effect

Sounds good, right? But unless you’ve been hiding in a cave or stranded on some Lost-worthy island, you know that the weight loss has a side effect you may not want to grapple with.

To put it as delicately as possible: while using alli, you might want to carry a change (or two) of underwear when you leave your home. The problem is that the extra fat you eat tends to be forcibly jettisoned from your body.

We only wish we were making this up.

Even the site notes: “The active ingredient in alli attaches to some of the natural enzymes in the digestive system, preventing them from breaking down about a quarter of the fat you eat. Undigested fat cannot be absorbed and passes through the body naturally. The excess fat is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it in the toilet as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza.

“The fat passes out of your body, so you may have bowel changes, known as treatment effects. You may get: gas with oily spotting, loose stools and more frequent stools that may be hard to control.”

Say what?

According to MSNBC health writer Melissa Dahl, “Dieters have been flocking to drugstores to pick up alli, the first over-the-counter weight-loss pill to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, despite the scary warning: Stray too far from your low-fat diet and you just might poop your pants.

“The drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has been up front about the pill’s side effects, suggesting that first timers wear dark pants or bring a change of clothes to work until they get used to the diet pill’s potentially yucky consequences.”

If 50% more weight loss (15 pounds rather than 10... 30 pounds rather than 20) is more important to you than clean underwear or close friends, then alli may be your ticket.

A 20-day supply of alli costs about $45 to $55. During its first four months on the market, alli was gobbled up by some 2 million consumers.

Go to for more information.

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