Sunny Hersh



The skinny on alli

Does alli, the Orlistat weight loss drug now available without prescription, really help you lose weight, or will it be alli-OOPS?  Two words describe the worst side effect of alli – anal leakage.  If you eat too much fat while on the alli weight loss program, you can have “loose oily or fatty stools, possible uncontrolled bowel movements, flatulence with discharge, and abdominal pain.”  Will the threat of that keep you on your low-fat plan?  Will alli act as an effective FAT NAZI to your diet?
Perhaps it will, because the other side effects of alli are GOOD, and test subjects actually did lose more weight using alli than patients on placebo – 33% – 50% more!  Test subjects also benefited from lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar when taking Orlistat with a low fat diet and exercise.  So you lose more weight and your numbers improve – what could be bad?  First of all, this is a lot of money to spend just to lose a few more pounds a week or so earlier than with diet and exercise alone.  And again, the side effects can be negative IF YOU EAT THE WRONG FOODS while taking alli!  Alli works by interfering with fat absorbtion in your body, so about 25% of the unabsorbed fat you eat passes right through and goes out the other end.  The promotional literature says it well: “You can’t just try alli, you have to commit to it.”  So if you goof up and eat a meal with too much fat, alli will remind you to get back on track by giving you some gas and extra bathroom time, get it?  The question to ask yourself is, am I the kind of person who responds well to negative pressure?  For example, do I work much better under a deadline, do I only work out when the personal trainer charges me or the pants are too tight, do I need reminders and mini-goals to get things done?  These are not character flaws, this is just the way at least half of us roll through life.  Alli can be a powerful incentive to effectively help you learn to avoid fatty foods and lose more weight; it will not help you cheat by eliminating more fat from bad foods and could be dangerous if used that way.  Let your family and your doctor know if you are using alli.  You have to take a multivitamin to make up for some nutrients that will go out with the fat and some find you can counteract side effects by taking a psyllium supplement like Metamucil.

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