The New Weight Loss Kid on the Block: “ALLI”
By Nancy J. Krank, ACE-Certified Personal Trainer
If you pick up a magazine, watch television, or go to the market, chances are you have seen the first Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved over-the-counter weight loss pill “ALLI”(pronounced Ally). In 1999 the FDA approved Orlistat, a prescription drug for obesity. Alli is the half-strength version of Orlistat that has been made for adults 18 years and older. This drug is to be specifically used with a reduced calorie, low fat diet, and Alli hit the store shelves in June and has created quite a buzz among the weight loss community. So what exactly does Alli do and how does it work effectively? First off, Alli inhibits the absorption of dietary fats. Research shows that when individuals are on a low fat diet, exercise regularly, and take Alli, they lose up to 50 percent more weight on average than if they had only dieted and exercised. For example, instead of losing 10 pounds, an individual using Alli would lose 15 pounds. According to the official Alli website,, “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 what you eat”. Since undigested fat can’t be absorbed, it passes through your body naturally. Here is where you will notice side effects of the drug, especially if you are not careful with limiting your fat consumption. The makers of the drug recommend taking the drug up to three times a day with each meal containing fat. They also recommend those meals contain no more than 15 percent fat. What happens if you over induldge your fat consumption? You can experience excessive flatulence, loose stools, and frequent and difficult to control bowel movements. Also, if you don’t eat enough fat in your meals, there is As with any drug, there are some individuals who should not use Alli. People who have problems absorbing foods, people who are not overweight, and people who have had organ transplants should not use the drug. According to the FDA, individuals taking blood thinning medications, or those being treated for diabetes or thyroid disease should consult a If you are thinking of using Alli I first recommend talking to your physician to see if it is the right drug for your weight loss goals. You should also discuss Alli with a Registered Dietician (see to find a Registered Dietician in your area) who can write out a food plan to help you reach your goals with the least amount of side effects from the drug. Alli works best with a low calorie, low fat diet and a consistent fitness regime. If you are considering using Alli, keep this in mind – If you exercise more, eat right, and cut back on dietary fat, you will lose weight. Yes, the drug Alli may help you lose 15 pounds instead of 10 pounds but even if it takes you longer to lose the weight, you won’t have to worry about side effects or risks of taking over-the-counter medication. If you decide to use Alli to help you lose weight, follow the program and diet guides that are provided to you when you purchase the product. Take the added step of seeking professional guidance from your physician, nutritionist, and trainer to provide you with a healthy support system that will speed you along your weight loss path. The writer is an ACE-Certified Personal Fitness Trainer who also has a Certificate in Fitness Instruction through U.C.L.A. Extension. Nancy lives in Los Feliz and has been training one-on-one clients for 25 years. Contact


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This article appeared in The South African Journal of Natural Medicine 2008, Issue 39, pp 72 – 80. Treating candidiasis HEIDI DU PREEZ, PR SCI NAT , is a professional natural scientist with a Masters degree in Food Science. She is currently specialising in Nutritional Medicine. Heidi consults for both the food and health industries. She began specialising in natural health while liv

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