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Weekly Diet News Digest

by John McGran, Columnist

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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 myalli.com 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.”

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.

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 myalli.com 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... ...    Continue

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@ 4:19pm ET on March 3, 2008
I haven't heard from anyone that actually took Ali; I would be interested to hear how bad the "effects" are. I still think that they can be avoided if you follow the plan.

@ 5:28pm ET on March 3, 2008
welcome boss to the blog world news :)

@ 8:25pm ET on March 3, 2008
I must admit that I always read the side effects of a product before I make the purchase. When I saw the alli commercial my first thought was that it is too good to be true. I guess it is just that...too good to be true. :)

@ 9:07pm ET on March 3, 2008
Ewww, dark pants?! Say no more! Actually, I'm not a pill taker at all, but I was curious about this little pill called Alli. I've seen it for quite some time in my local store. You provided excellent information for us John! GREAT JOB! This blog was very informative and interesting. Thanks and hey, don't be a stranger Oh Great Leader!

@ 9:24pm ET on March 3, 2008
Hello all... thanks for posting. That alli info ( even the info on the official site) just turns me off their product. Be sure to tune in again tomorrow when I talk about the cabbage soup diet... then on Wednesday, it's Atkins revisited! Best of all, be sure to welcome my alter-ego Mr. Bad Food next Monday!
The Grand Poobah
aka John McGran
Diet.com Chief Editor

@ 10:21pm ET on August 3, 2008
I have been taking Alli for 7 months and have lost 70 pounds. This is an excellent medication for weight loss. The side effects are minimal; the results are excellent. I highly recommend this medication. Do not be afraid to try this. (Please be aware that I am a critical thinker and not easily convinced. This stuff works!)

@ 2:02pm ET on May 19, 2009
I've lost over 100lbs since starting Alli in July 07. Alli doesnt hide the side effects, like the write stated. And most imporantly if you follow the instructions on how to take alli you will not have any side effects. If you choose to eat 50grams of fat in one meal when you are suppose to stay under 15grams, that really is your own choice.

@ 12:01pm ET on February 12, 2010
i have taken Alli for about a month and the side effects are as true as anything,i have a lot of loose stool, diarrhea, stomach cramping, i feel weak all the time but i haven't weight myself in a while so i don't know if i am losing weigh but it really controls my apettite. I only eat 3 meals a day and i don't snack anymore like i used to. I stopped fast foods and soda and drink more water. Overall Alli is a good product but i wish it did not have all of those side effects because it sucks being at work and having to constantly go to the bathroom.

@ 12:49am ET on February 25, 2010
i purchased ALLI from www.medsheaven.com.its an excellent medicine for weight loss,i lost nearly 10 pounds of my weight in two weeks.and it doesnt have any side effects even.

@ 12:05am ET on February 26, 2010
i woved alli from www.weightlossguide.com.its an excellent medicine for weight loss.I`m very happy that information that is available on this product in weightlossguide.com site is helpful.

@ 3:36pm ET on September 6, 2011
Hello after reading the comments on this post I am happy to provide everyone with some information about a new diet supplement Mirafit. The company is a client of ours and we would like to provide everyone with more information to help achieve your weight loss goals.

A little about the product: Mirafit FBCx is NOT is a miracle drug or magic pill. It is NOT going to make you lose 5 or 10 pounds a week, 25 pounds a month, or just melt away fat.

What it WILL do is help you reduce your dietary intake by about 500 calories a day, allowing you to lose 1 to 1 pounds a week. That may not sound like a lot but consider that within a year, you could lose 50 pounds or more. And, you will do it safely, without being on stimulants, uppers, diuretics, or any of the other gimmicky ingredients. You will do it without having to buy expensive pre-packaged foods, or go on some restrictive eating plan that you will ultimately give up on.

For More Information visit http://www.mirafit.info/

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