Boxes of Alli, the first FDA-sanctioned diet drug to be sold without a prescription, are selling in huge numbers, despite the fact that the pill comes with the potential for extremely unpleasant and embarrassing side effects.

The manufacturer has predicted that 5 million to 6 million Americans a year will buy the drug.

The GlaxoSmithKline drug, which was introduced to the market several years ago in a prescription-only form called Xenical, blocks the absorption of about 25 percent of consumed fat. That would eliminate about 225 calories from a 3,000 calorie per day diet.

However, the drug can also result in loose stools and gas with an oily discharge. The drug's official website states that, "It's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work," if you take the drug.

Los Angeles Times June 15, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Yet again, another pill promising entry into the magical land of forever-skinny ... The release of the new diet "wonder drug" Alli has prompted a stampede of women throwing all common sense to the wind, chasing the ever-elusive gratification of instantaneous weight loss. Alli, if taken together with a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, supposedly lets you lose about 50 percent more weight than dieting alone, according to GlaxoSmithKline.

Want Diapers With That?

However, the message of "healthy balanced diet and exercise" is falling on deaf ears. Most of the people buying the drug seem to expect it to work miracles with no effort on their part. And they are also ignoring warnings of side effects such as potentially humiliating anal leakage in the hopes that the drug will finally provide the effortless cure they seek.

Millions of Americans are going to pay $59.99 per box for a myth. At least 31 studies by researchers at UCLA have confirmed that dieting by itself, even aided by a pill, doesn't lead to sustained weight loss or any significant health benefits. On any given diet, people initially lose 5 percent to 10 percent of their weight, but then they gain it back, often with some additional pounds as well.

Dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain; those who participate in formal weight-loss programs usually gain significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who have never participated in such a program.

Myth Busters 'R Us

As I mentioned in my article last week, insulin receptor sensitivity is the key to mastering the secrets of weight loss.

Better health and normalized weight will always be the side effects of healthier eating habits in tandem with exercise. The simplest way to get there is by eating the foods that your body burns the best, according to your nutritional type, accompanied by physical movement.

Most of my patients have found they were able to lose weight and keep it off, not with any mythical wonder drug, but by following these recommendations:
- Eliminate grains and sugars from your diet.

- Add cardiovascular exercise for one hour a day seven days a week at an intensity that is challenging enough to make it difficult for you to talk to someone next to you. Vigorous, sustained aerobic activity is required to increase the number and efficiency of fat-burning intracellular mitochondria.

- Address the underlying emotional challenges that are keeping you from changing your habits
Related Articles:

Continued Insanity -- Diet Drugs Still Popular

FDA Panel Approves Diet Drug For OTC Use

'Magic' Diet Pill in the Works