Skip to content

Is Alli Your Best Bet for Weight Loss?

January 13, 2011

Chances are you’ve probably seen or heard of it. On television. radio, the internet, in retail stores across the country, it’s all over the place. The first and currently, the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved weight loss drug proven to help shed pounds. Sounds great, right? But just what is Alli and is it right for you and your weight loss goals? A breakdown of this drug below let’s you know.


Alli is a weight loss drug that utilizes its main ingredient, orlistat, to help its users lose weight. It’s the first ever over-the-counter weight loss drug approved by the FDA which means their research deems it safe and effective when taken according to label directions. The Alli program also suggests taking the drug while incorporating a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet.


Customer aim is for overweight individuals (BMI greater than 25) age 18 or older. Although by being an OTC drug anyone over the age of 18 can purchase it. The Alli website warns that like all drugs, there are some individuals who should not take Alli or who should consult with a doctor first.


Taken at the time of a meal, Alli aids in weight loss by blocking the amount of fat absorbed in the gut, resulting in fewer calories absorbed. This reduction in calorie absorption can lead to a energy deficit, meaning your body is burning more calories than it is consuming which ultimately can lead to weight loss. How does this drug do this? The ingredients in Alli inactivate the enzyme known as lipase, which is one enzyme responsible for the breakdown of fat in the digestive tract. This allows approximately 1/4 of the fat you consume to pass through your digestive tract undigested and out of your body through bowel movements. Of course, the weight loss is not possible if there is not a calorie deficit, which is why diet and exercise is recommended in conjunction with Alli.


FDA approval of Alli means that this product has been reviewed and deemed safe and effective for consumer use according to the standards held by the FDA and by the products label direction. Surprisingly enough the FDA itself does not conduct drug tests. The role of the FDA is to review studies, research, and findings regarding a specific product to determine the safety and efficacy for consumers. This data is usually submitted by the manufacturers of the product themselves. Of course, this is where many believe there is potential for problems and controversy while others simply believe the FDA simply does not have enough funding to truly oversee all the food, drugs, and other related products adequately.


In the past, Alli had a problem with counterfeit versions of its product being sold online at sites like eBay. While no evidence has been shown that the counterfeit products were sold in retail stores consumers should pay close attention to where they purchase drugs like these. If you do decide to try it, make sure you make your purchase at a reliable source like a recognized retail store.

Other concerns include the side effects of the product. These include gas, upset stomach, oily anal discharge, diarrhea, and frequent and hard-to-control bowel movements. Alli also recommends consuming meals with no more than 15 grams of fat, in order to reduce the severity of these “treatment effects”.

Because Alli blocks some of the fat absorbed in the body, it also can block the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K).  As a result, the use of Alli could increase your chances of fat-soluble vitamin deficiency. Additionally, the fat blocking capabilities in Alli are nondiscriminatory, meaning it blocks a percentage of all fats including heart healthy fats like omega-3s. To prevent nutrient deficiencies if you decide to take Alli, consult with a doctor and consider taking a daily vitamin supplement.


Compared to diet and exercise alone, Alli claims that you can lose an additional 1-2 pounds a week depending on how closely you follow their recommended regimen. Most weight loss also occurs in the first six months of use. Of course, every individual is unique and results can vary. Take in consideration the possible side effects and nutritional deficiencies and it could be a tough choice. My best advice is to do plenty of personal research before trying any product such as Alli, consult a physician and/or a registered dietitian, weigh your options, and make a decision from there.

Have other questions, concerns, or a story to share about Alli? Please feel free to post your comments or email us at

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2016 3:41 AM

    Hey Rob,
    I’m looking for some weight loss pills and I found this post on your site. I will give this Alli drug a try and see what would happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: