The diet pill Alli (a lower-dose version of Xenical) gives an almost irresistible promise: no matter what you eat, it will block your body from digesting 25% of the fat.
The drug is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and has gotten some pretty good reviews. People who took it for 6 months lost 50% more weight than they did without it (sounds amazing, but in reality it could mean losing 15 pounds instead of 10). But Alli has also gotten some pretty bad reviews, including people who’ve complained of severe discomfort and pain. Here are facts on Alli.
Fact: you still have to cut back on fat
Alli blocks fat, but you still have to control your portions and your cravings. Since your body won’t be able to absorb oil, you can guess what’ll happen—loose, and rather oily stools. In fact, if more than 30 percent of your calorie intake is fat, or if you eat something that contains more than 15 grams of fat, you may experience diarrhea. Some people even have ‘accidents’ and soil their pants. Not a pretty sight!
Fact: Alli works best as a ‘diet motivator’
People who have lost the most amount of weight with Alli were very serious about changing their diet and lifestyle. The pills weren’t a quick fix. Instead, these women were motivated by the rapid weight loss to cut fat from their meals and exercise more regularly. ‘I lost five pounds, liked how I felt and looked, and started eating healthy food and taking smaller portions,’ says one user. Another said that Alli renewed her enthusiasm for her weight loss program. ‘I was exercising but had hit a plateau, and I felt like giving up altogether. The diet pills helped me lose 5 pounds which got me excited about exercising again.’ (Get more stories and tips from Alli users on the official Alli community website.)
Fact: You don’t just lose fat, you lose vitamins.
One of the more serious side effects of taking Alli is that you also lose Vitamin D and Vitamin A, which are fat-soluble vitamins.
Fact: Alli isn’t for everyone
Alli is best for people who are already on a healthy weight loss program (healthy diet, regular exercise) but also have a lifestyle where they can’t always control the amount of fat that they take in. These includes people who eat out a lot for work—taking clients out to dinner, etc—or aren’t in charge of cooking the meals in the house. It should not be used as a quick way to lose 5 pounds, since the discomfort and the vitamin loss, plus the risk of an embarrassing ‘oil spill’ are simply not worth being able to fit better into a bikini.
Photo from: virginmedia.com