Alli became the first FDA-approved weight loss pill for adults over 18. It is a lower dose form of an existing prescribed anti obesity drug called Orlistat. This review details the good points and bad points.
What is Alli and Who Should Use It?
a lower and lower strength version of Orlistat that is more easily obtainable over the counter. It is suitable for use in adults who are over 18 and have a high Body Mass index (BMI) of 25 or more.
Table of Contents
Alli (Orlistat) Review
Alli is a weight management medication you can buy over the counter. It’s a half-strength version of the prescription-only weight loss drug Xenical.
Each Alli diet pill provides 60 mg of Orlistat. Xenical provides 120 mg per pill.
Although Alli provides less Orlistat than Xenical, it’s still a potent product. The smaller dose presents less risk of side effects. That’s why you can use Alli without the need for a prescription. There are also alternatives to Orlistat that you can get over the counter.
Alli is the only over-the-counter weight loss aid that is approved by the FDA. However, although you can buy it over the counter, pharmacists are only allowed to sell it to adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher.
If you are looking for information about Alli or considering using it, this article will tell you the things you need to know.
Who Makes Alli?
Alli is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). It’s a British pharmaceutical company that operates worldwide and produces many other leading pharmaceutical products.
Alli is unsuitable for men and women who are vegan or vegetarian.
Each capsule provides 60 mg of Orlistat. There are no other active ingredients in the formula.
At the time of this review, the 10 inactive ingredients were:
- FD&C Blue No. 2
- Edible Ink
- Iron Oxide
- Microcrystalline Cellulose
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Starch Glycolate
- Titanium Dioxide
The inactive ingredients serve various roles including providing texture and color and preventing the formulation from clumping together.
The gelatin is in the capsule shell. Its presence means Alli is unsuitable for dieters who are vegan or vegetarian.
How Does Alli (Orlistat) Work?
Alli is a fat blocker. If you don’t know what that is, allow me to explain.
The name “fat blocker” could be seen to suggest a product that blocks your ability to gain fat, but that’s not how Alli works. The drug Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor that blocks the digestion of dietary fats.
The body has specific digestive enzymes for each of the three macronutrients in food (carbs, protein, fat). Lipase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down dietary fats into smaller particles that can pass through the intestinal walls and enter the blood.
Fat is a high-energy nutrient. Each gram of pure fat provides the body with nine calories. Carbs and protein, by comparison, only provide four calories per gram.
Orlistat’s ability to inhibit lipase limits the enzyme’s ability to do its job. This allows Alli to “block” the absorption of around 25 percent of the fat you consume. Due to its higher strength, Xenical blocks a little more.
The blocked fat passes through your body untouched, without releasing any calories. When used alongside a sensible diet and exercise, Alli can help you to lose around five percent of your body fat in 12 weeks.
Alli (Orlistat) Pros & Cons
- FDA-approved weight loss medication
- Does not require a prescription
- Provides noticeable results in as little as 12 weeks
- Need to have a BMI of 25 or greater
- May not be suitable for long-term use
- Can cause gastrointestinal side effects
- May cause liver problems in some people (rare)
- Has the potential to cause vitamin deficiencies
- Possibility of oily seepage from the anus
- May make you poop yourself (with misuse)
- Unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians
Alli (Orlistat) Usage Considerations
It is a medication, not a supplement, so it’s extremely important to read the information and instruction brochure that’s inside the box.
Then, if you have any questions or concerns, check with your doctor and to make sure Alli is a safe weight loss aid for you to use.
If you have any medical conditions, such as kidney stones or pancreatitis, checking with a doctor before using is also a wise move. The same is true if you would need to use Alli alongside medications.
Women who are pregnant or nursing a child should not take Alli at all. Orlistat is not suitable for some people. That’s why it’s so important to read the instruction brochure and seek expert advice if required.
As with any other weight loss aid, you need to use Alli alongside a low-energy diet and exercise. It’s a diet helper, not a magic pill.
It’s also important to remember Alli is a fat blocker. It only limits the amount of energy your body can absorb from fats. It does not affect the enzymes your body uses for digesting protein and carbs.
If you are following a very low-fat diet, Alli is likely to offer very little benefit at all. It can’t block something that isn’t there.
How to Use Alli
The dose is three capsules per day, taken with meals that contain fat.
In addition to taking Alli three times per day, you need to take an appropriate vitamin supplement as well.
Vitamins A, D, E, K & beta carotene, are fat-soluble. You get them from the fat in your food and you need to obtain a sufficient amount of them to maintain a strong immune system and good health.
Orlistat’s ability to block fat absorption has the potential to cause you to become deficient in these important vitamins.
It may also interfere with your ability to absorb the vitamins from supplements, so it’s best to take your vitamin supplement just before going to bed when the drug won’t be so active in your system.
How Not to Use
Some people try to use Alli as a cheat pill. Instead of monitoring the amount of fat they consume, they binge on all their favorite high-fat foods such as burgers and fries and then use as a cheat pill.
This type of behavior is unwise and counterproductive. Let’s not forget around 75 percent of the fat you eat still gets through and it’s nine calories per gram. If you eat too much fat while taking, it’s still possible to gain weight.
The 25 percent that is blocked can cause problems too.
Ideally, your meals should only provide around 15 g of fat.
If you plan your meals to provide this, Alli will block around 3.75 g of the fat and 11.25 g (101.25 calories) will be absorbed.
A double quarterpounder burger with cheese can provide around 45 g of fat. That gives you three times more dietary fat than the 15 g the Alli usage guidelines recommend.
Alli will block around 11.25 percent of it. That’s three times as much fat as it would block if you stuck to the recommendations.
The problem is, where all that fat goes. The human digestive system is a little like a very long tube.
Food goes in one end (the mouth), it’s broken down into smaller particles during its journey through the stomach and intestines and the body absorbs energy and nutrients.
Anything that cannot be digested and put to use, exits the tube at the other end.
When you eat too much fat, you are sending extra fat to the far end of the tube. Fat is slippy and greasy. Giving Alli too much fat to block is a little like taking a high-power laxative. It can result in explosive diarrhea.
If you don’t have a toilet handy or do but can’t make it in time, it can be very embarrassing.
Many people have learned this the hard way, so never use Alli as a cheat pill.
Alli (Orlistat) Customer Reviews
Alli customer reviews are mostly good. Some people say it didn’t work for them but the lack of results is more likely to be due to failings in their diet and exercise regimen than due to the medication’s ability to block fat.
A lot of customers mention problems with seepage from the anus.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that’s common to all fat blockers. However, the problem is likely to be more pronounced among people who take Alli and continue to eat too much fat.
Let’s take a look at a few positive reviews.
Now, in the interests of fairness, let’s take a look at what a few dissatisfied customers say.
Known Side Effects
As with all the other FDA-approved weight-loss drugs, Alli (Orlistat) can cause several side effects. However, many people who use Alli don’t experience any side effects at all. It’s just the luck of the draw.
Although it’s important to point out this type of reaction is rare, Orlistat may cause liver damage. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548898/)
All can cause diarrhea and some other unpleasant side effects.
As already mentioned earlier in this review though, if you use Alli alongside a high-fat diet, you could have some very unpleasant bouts of diarrhea. In all probability, coming on rapidly, out of the blue.
If you are using Alli and experience any symptoms that could be due to impaired liver function, such as brown urine, light-colored stools, or yellowing of the eyes or skin stop using Alli at once and seek expert medical advice.
For most people, the worst part of taking Alli is likely to be seepage from the rectum that results in greasy stains on their undergarments.
Even if you use sensibly, you may still notice you need to visit the restroom more frequently than normal.
Other possible Alli side effects include:
- Stomach pain
- Sore rectum
- Passing gas more often than normal
- Changes to menstrual cycle
If Alli causes you to experience unusually severe or persistent stomach pain, you will need to obtain a doctor’s advice at once.
You should also contact a doctor if Alli causes hives or itching or makes it difficult for you to breathe or swallow.
Where To Buy Alli Over the Counter
You can buy Alli online or in person over the counter from any good pharmacy. However, the price can vary depending on which supplier you choose.
For instance, at the time of this review, If you live in the USA the Walgreens price was $71 per 120 capsules but Walmart and Kroger were both only charging $52.93 per 120 pills.
It’s also possible to buy a 60-capsule starter pack. It’s a little cheaper but the pricing is less favorable because you are paying a lot more per pill.
The Bottom Line (Should You Use Alli?)
Although some people claim Alli did not provide them with the kind of results they hoped for, it’s an FDA-approved obesity treatment that does what it’s supposed to do. It seems likely that the fat-blocking effect of the medication may be a little more or less pronounced from one individual to the next but it’s highly unlikely that it will not block any fat at all.
Having said that, dieters who have very low-fat diets may not find Alli makes much difference because there will not be much fat to block.
A big problem with Alli is many people who buy it fail with their diets by consuming too many calories per day and/or not burning enough calories via physical activity.
Although they may think their calorie intakes are low, if they kept track of their energy intake via a food journal or a dieting app, they would get a harsh awakening and realize they were not being as “good” as they thought.
The other problem with All is, it doesn’t offer much support. All it does is block some of the calories you would get from fat. The best over-the-counter weight loss supplements offer a greater level of support.
They normally suppress hunger, accelerate metabolism, and provide protection from diet-related fatigue. Alli can’t do any of these things.
The best natural diet pills don’t cost much more than Alli and, if you were paying top-dollar for Alli, a good supplement will probably be cheaper to use.
The best over-the-counter diet pills also have a money-back guarantee. Alli does not.
The truth is, it does what it’s supposed to do but there are natural alternatives that do a lot more.
Alli Alternatives – Weight Loss Pills that Work Like Alli
Alli is a fat blocker – it is not unique in it its method of action, there are several over the counter (non-prescription diet pills that work this way.
Fat blocking is effective bit some of the premium supplements available today use a combination of blocking fat with fat burning and appetite suppression.
This guide on weight loss pills highlights other type of dietary supplements that can multi task – block and burn body fat and also reduce hunger by suppressing appetite.
Clinical studies suggest that, for every two pounds of weight you lose with diet and exercise, Alli can help you lose one pound more.
So, if you normally lose two pounds a week, taking this capsule should make it three.
No. The capsule casing is made from gelatin.
No. The keto diet is very high in fat. Keto dieters typically get 70-80 percent of their daily calories from dietary fats.
Eating a diet like that while taking would be extremely unwise and would probably result in an underwear disaster.
No. The gelatin in the capsule casing sometimes comes from pigs.