Alli (pronounced Al-eye), the new diet pill from drug giant Glaxo Smith Kline, has been hyped as the solution to all your weight loss troubles, and best of all, it's available over the counter, ie you can get it without a prescription at your local drugstore. Personally, I'm a bit skeptical and careful when it comes to hyped products. First of all, the facts.
Alli for weight loss – how does it work?
Alli is not a new drug per se. It is the baby sister of the drug Xenical, a prescription drug used to treat obesity. They both contain the same substance, orlistat. The only difference is in quantity. Xenical contains 120mg of orlistat while Alli contains 60mg of orlistat. Alli should be used by overweight adults (over 18 years) as an aid to weight loss together with diet and exercise.
Alli is basically a fat blocker. It works by stopping a substance called lipase from working in your bowel. Lipase breaks down the fat that you eat into little pieces so that it can be absorbed into the body. As the fat is not broken down and absorbed, it passes through the bowel unchanged and is removed when you go to toilet.
How do you use Alli?
Alli is taken with a meal that contains fat up to 3 times a day. You should not eat more than 15g of fat in each meal as this increases the possibility of side effects.
How long should you use Alli?
The manufacturers suggest that you may only need to use it for 6 months as that is when most of the weight loss occurs.
What are the side effects of Alli?
Side effects are more common when you eat more than the recommended 15g of fat per meal. However, they can still occur even if you are within the recommended limits. They include
frequent bowel movements
very soft stool and even diarrhea
oily discharge from the anus
bowel movements that are hard to control
Who should not use Alli?
You should not use Alli if you:
are not overweight
are taking cyclosporins
have had an organ transplant
have trouble absorbing food (malabsorbtion)
are using medication that thins the blood
have thyroid problems
Will Alli help you lose weight?
The short answer to that is yes. It is recommended that Alli should be used as an aid to weight loss in combination with a healthy diet and exercise.
But don't expect the pounds to just fall off! Xenical, the prescription-only, double strength big sister of Alli induced a weight loss of about 6 pounds in one year. At half strength, Alli is expected to produce about half the weight loss, ie about 3 pounds a year compared to expected weight loss using diet and exercise alone.
Another thing to consider – if you stop using Alli, that weight you lost comes right back!
I have heard of people losing 10lb in 8 weeks and other similar stories. Some people that have tried almost every diet they have come across without success have been able to lose weight with Alli. It works in your intestines and not in the brain or anywhere else so you won't get the jitters like with some other weight loss aids. It may work for you too……