Alli Diet: The Good and the Bad

Alli is not a diet, so much as it is a diet supplement that comes accompanied by a diet and weight loss system.  It is based on the drug Orlistat and distributed by GlaxoSmithKline in the US and UK, and is available over-the-counter without prescription.

Alli, as with all other medicines containing Orlistat, is a pill designed to be taken with each meal, and is supposed to reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs from meals. People all over the world have reported an increase in weight loss when used in conjunction with a proper diet (the Alli-recommended one or not), and it has been hailed as a weight loss pill that has relatively few negative side effects or addiction issues.

The Idea

Orlistat, the active ingredient in Alli, simply prevents a process whereby fat is absorbed by your small intestine.  Approximately 20% less fat is absorbed by the body, but unfortunately this does not equate to 20% less weight being gained by dieters as the process is a little bit more complicated than that.

The efficacy of Alli is not in doubt, and has been proven through many clinical trials.  On average it has been shown that the product does in fact do what it claims to do, and that people who are dieting will lose around 5% more weight when they are taking Alli than when they are not.

Unfortunately it has also been shown that when patients stopped taking Alli they put on around 35% of the weight they had lost.  However, when compared with other diets this is still far below the average of weight regain.

Alli is designed to be taken with the Alli diet, which emphasizes healthy carbohydrates, high protein and high vegetable contents in all meals. It has one common side effect, which is oily or loose stools – this is simply the effect of your body passing undigested fat.

What We Like

Alli doesn’t market itself as a miracle cure or a diet pill.  It is a supplement that helps reduce the fat intake from all of your meals, but it won’t do much on its own.  When taken in conjunction with a healthy diet (with the emphasis being on ‘healthy’ here) it will help to increase weight loss.  The effects won’t be dramatic, but you will definitely lose more weight with it than without it.

The diet plan is easy to follow and fairly unstructured, and is more about educating yourself as to what types of carbohydrates, fats and proteins should go into your diet.  As long as you can remember to take a pill with every meal, you won’t have any trouble sticking to it.

What We Don’t Like

Alli works, but it doesn’t really do that much.  It is available over the counter, but it has been shown to only increase the weight loss benefits of a healthy diet by about 5% over the course of a year.  That’s not much of an increase – but if you’ve tried everything and are really struggling it could make all the difference.

While we’re presented with overwhelming evidence to suggest that Alli can boost weight loss and improve the effectiveness of any diet, we can’t help thinking that the same effect could be achieved by just getting outside and going for a walk every day.

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