Watch out for a big media blitz starting in the next few days on the first FDA-approved weight loss medication and diet called alli. It may sound tempting at first, but when you take a closer look at this drug, it?s anything but.
Just what is alli? It?s Orlistat with another name. And Orlistat is the reduced-strength version of Xenical.
Confused? I?m not surprised.
All three medications block the absorption of some of the fats you eat. The fats that you can?t absorb, your body eliminates through the usual pathways. The researchers now call these common side effects "treatment effects."
Treatment effects include: gas with oily spotting, loose stools, and "more frequent stools that may be hard to control." Where I come from, this last side effect is called plain old diarrhea.
The marketers suggest that if you lower your dietary fat, you?ll have fewer treatment effects. One of the advantages of taking this pill, they say, is that these "treatment effects" help you become more aware that you?re eating too much fat.
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Look at your diet. Are you eating too much fat? You don?t need a drug to tell you this. If you?re eating too many fats, then reduce your intake on your own.
But be careful. Don?t eliminate the good fats. Some are both desirable and necessary. Such as the fats in nuts and seeds.
By the way, alli blocks the good fats in your supplements, including fish oils and vitamins A, D, and E. Take alli or one of its allies (is that where they found its name?) and you could become deficient in good fats. These good fats, called essential fatty acids, are not just necessary for good health, they actually help you lose weight. They also help protect your heart. That?s their side effect.
It?s summertime and everyone who wants to look better in shorts or a bathing suit, or who knows they have to lose weight for their health, is looking for a magic bullet. Alli isn?t a magic bullet. It?s a heart attack waiting to happen.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand