Alli is a popular weight loss supplement designed to help adults who are struggling to shed excess weight, and who have not had success with traditional weight loss methods. It’s intended to be an OTC medication that can help adults (anyone over the age of 18) to lose weight. Considering how high the obesity rates in the U.S. are, it’s a good option for those who are struggling to get down to healthy weight.
Alli is an over-the-counter version of the prescription drug Xenical, which has been used to successfully treat obesity for years. The over-the counter-version is 60 milligrams of Xenical, as opposed to the normal prescription strength of 120 milligrams. Designed to be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise plan, the Alli weight loss plan also advocates behavioral changes designed to ultimately help consumers develop healthier eating habits.
Unlike many popular weight loss pills, Alli isn’t designed as an appetite suppressant. Instead, it works by blocking the absorption of fat into the intestines, thereby reducing the number of calories absorbed. Essentially, Alli works by disabling the enzyme lipase, which normally breaks down dietary fat in the digestive fat. This undigested fat is then eliminated through bowel movements as opposed to being stored in the body.
A few years ago, Alli would have been seen as the ultimate weight loss pill, thanks to its ability to block dietary fat. However, recent research has suggested that carbs are the primary cause of excess body fat, not dietary fat. A pill that blocks fat could actually lead to reduced weight loss, as the body clings to fat instead of burning it. A carb blocker may be a more effective option in the long run.
A 2014 review of the clinical trials found that Alli did offer some weight loss benefits. Participants who took Alli in addition to exercise and a healthy diet lost 5.5 pounds more than those who only exercised and ate right. It’s important to note that the study took place over the course of a year—5.5 pounds in 1 year isn’t a whole lot of difference!
The good news is that Alli helped people to lose more than 5% of their body weight. This is defined as clinically significant weight loss, which means Alli may be a good option to help you manage your weight.
Of course, all of the results were only obtained through a healthy diet, exercise, AND the use of Alli. Taking the diet pill alone won’t yield results—you’re going to have to put in the work as well!
Warning: Recently, a consumer watchdog group has called for the FDA to ban both Alli and Xenical due to concerns over some more serious side effects such as liver damage and kidney stones. However, the FDA has rejected the groups petition for a ban, citing a lack of solid evidence showing a definitive link between the drug and these side effects.
As with its higher strength prescription counterpart, there have been some side effects reported by users of Alli. These include:
- excess gas
- difficulty in controlling bowel movements
- gas accompanied by an oily discharge
These side effects are most common when users do not follow a low-fat diet, and they stem from undigested fat being passed through the intestines. Eating a low-fat diet while taking Alli generally results in less side effects.
Note: Because Alli blocks the absorption of fat, vitamins which are fat-soluble may also be blocked, so anyone taking Alli should also take a daily multivitamin supplement to prevent any nutritional deficiencies.
Designed to be used as a supplement to a healthy eating plan and not a quick fix, Alli can be an effective weight loss tool. For those individuals who are having a difficult time sticking to a low-calorie, low-fat diet plan, Alli may prove to be the motivation they need in order to start making the necessary changes to their diet.