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 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.
Alli is not an appetite suppressant like many popular weight loss pills. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.