I’m sure you’ve heard the headlines about Orlistat, the obesity drug, being approved for OTC use. What you may not have heard about are the side effects of this fat-blocking drug. Orlistat, which will still be distributed by Rx as Xenical for morbidly obese patients, will now be sold as Alli in drugstores nationwide.
A magic pill it ain’t, Apples. I have a big (pardon the pun) problem with this drug, for several reasons.
1. How It Works
I have no doubt that Alli is going to fly off the shelves faster than bananas in a monkey farm. People want to lose weight without making changes, and that’s the unfortunate truth. Some of us are lazy; some are depressed; some don’t have the information; and like children believing in Santa, many simply want to believe in a magic cure. These folks are the ones GlaxoSmithKline is banking on. Drug companies love a sucker.
Alli “works” (and even this is highly debatable) by blocking fat absorption. This is problematic, to put it lightly.
First of all, fat does not make you fat. The human body was meant to operate in a fat-burning metabolic state. Whether you believe in God or cite Darwin or both, there’s absolutely no disputing this fact.
The advent of grain agriculture is a new thing for humans, relatively speaking, and the transition from a flesh-and-vegetable diet to a grain-and-sugar diet has humans suffering in a glucose-burning state.
The side effects of this high-sugar diet are horrendous: inflammation, heart disease, depression, insomnia, diabetes, mental degeneration, aging, obesity and cancer. Do you still really want to block fat? People I coach are shocked when I put them on a higher-fat diet because mainstream wisdom still worships at the altar of low-fat. Know what happens? Infections clear, cholesterol drops, energy increases, anxiety dissipates, skin glows, and the pounds melt away.
Second, reducing fat deprives your body of vital nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants, which all need fat to metabolize. Blocking fat means you can’t properly absorb critical nutrients, which is why Alli has to be taken with a multivitamin to offset some of the damage.
2. The Law of Unintended Consequences: Oily Stools?
Alli is available under conditional approval. This is the same FDA approval stamp that got us into the HRT and Cox-2 disasters. How many thousands of women suffered from breast cancer and how many people had heart attacks as a result of these reckless approvals? Conditional approval.
As I mentioned the other day in an update on the FDA’s drug woes, conditional approval is a process by which the FDA essentially allows the burden of safety to rest with drug companies. (Yes: more often than you want to know, the FDA lets pharmaceutical companies begin marketing and selling a drug before lengthy testing has been conducted.)
This tacit trust is just super-duper for drug companies eager to sop up years of product development costs with fast cash, but I’m stumped as to how this is beneficial for actual human beings. Can you imagine if farmers, restaurants or vitamin manufacturers like yours truly just up and sold products that knowingly caused serious health issues and thousands of deaths? We’re not talking one or two or even a dozen. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of serious – often fatal – drug reactions every single year. Some estimates go into the millions.
Just who is the FDA supposed to be looking out for?
Alli, among other issues, causes incontinence and oily stools.
And this is the deal-breaker, folks. Anal leakage? Oily spotting? I don’t think so! Alli can also lead to kidney stones, gall stones, breast cancer, and hepatitis. Every time a new drug scandal hits, I think, surely, surely the FDA will make changes. It never happens. This is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing you’ve always done and expecting different results.
There’s a better way to lose weight, but it does take some work – though not nearly as much as you’d think. You can eat fat and drop pounds simultaneously. You can enjoy flavor. You don’t have to be a slave to the treadmill. Stay tuned for tips every day on how to lose weight and feel better – sensibly, enjoyably, without any suffering at all. No spotting, either. We have a strict no-spotting rule around here.
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Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
Mark’s favorite items from today’s health news.
1) FDA Approves Deficiency – er, Diet – Drug
Orlistat, an obesity drug, has been approved for over-the-counter use. It ain’t your mama’s diet pill – this drug actually has major side effects, and because it depletes nutrients from the body, must be taken with a multivitamin. Like ephedra before it, we’re giving this product a short shelf life. Unlike previous diet drugs, this is now going to be available at the local Rite Aid. The FDA reminds Americans that we must eat right and work out along with taking Orlistat. In case you were wondering, the FDA’s favorite glasses are rose-colored.
There are healthier – and easier – ways to lose weight, friends. Stick around for plenty of helpful tips, every day. We’ll keep you posted on all future Orlistat news, too.
2) Sleep Your Way to Slim
Yesterday’s Tuesday 10 focused on the importance of sleep (scroll down the page a bit to check it out).
Here’s another great thing that’s just been revealed about the connection between sleep and health. Slender days ahead!
3) For the nerds (you rock)
If you’re into breaking discoveries, and especially cancer news, this is an utterly fascinating new piece of information.
4) For the curious (you also rock)
If you’re just into really bizarre health news, this is for you.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
All the news, none of the partially-hydrogenated soybean oil!
1) Every name under the sun…
These guys have a great piece on shedding pounds by becoming aware of “liquid candy”. You’ll want to check it out – you’d be surprised at what can sabotage your weight-loss goals!
2) All y’all can stop worrying about Nicole Richie
Because this is far more of a health problem. Disturbing. But with things like fried cheese balls being offered at major restaurant chains, are we really surprised?
3) Breaking girls’ hearts…sort of
Women’s heart health is rather overlooked, although the recent PR campaign to raise awareness has helped offset that somewhat. Women are at equal risk for heart disease, stroke and heart attacks – so take care of yourself, ladies! You can’t always trust a doctor to think about your heart, evidently.
Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? Plant some trees.
Hysteria? Nerves? Is this a joke? Doctors revert to 19th century views on women’s health.
4) Another great plan from Uncle Sam
This time, on a potential flu epidemic. We hope it includes a color-coded bar alert. No, seriously, we do. We’re rooting for turquoise and magenta. (Dissenter: Elliott votes for taupe.)
Be sure to stop in tomorrow, when Mark will be posting his easy (almost brainless, really), healthy-yet-still-not-embarrassing-for-the-guys Superbowl food tips.
The claims about hoodia are about as accurate as that headline.
Don’t get hoodiawinked. Here’s the truth about this alleged weight-loss miracle cactus (Latin for…well, cactus).
Does Hoodia Work?
In a word, no. There’s no proof that hoodia works to help you lose weight – not even a little. Myths, legends, stories and anecdotes are convincing because they resonate with emotional desires (which is why any profitable scam manages to make money). Hoodia is no exception – this new fat-reduction fad product has no scientific evidence to support the claims. Do a little digging around, and you’ll learn that the hoodia being sold is not even the real thing anyway.
Hoodia is a cactus from South Africa. There are 20 types, but gordonii is the only one that actually quells hunger. Here’s the catch: this version of hoodia is endangered and therefore protected by law. It’s not allowed to be harvested and can only be exported to botanists for study.
Now, the chow-suppressing molecule in gordonii hoodia is called P57. Right now, a company called Phytofarm owns it, and you won’t be getting your hands on it anytime soon. Unilever and Pfizer both paid big sums to Phytopharm to toy with hoodia over the last three years, to no avail. Why? Because it doesn’t work for weight loss.
Hoodia products on the market are not real hoodia (and there have been a flurry of government cease-and-desist orders in attempts to stop this scam). Even real hoodia doesn’t work when it’s powdered, processed or the P57 molecule is extracted. You have to eat actual pieces of the plant. Moreover, hoodia does not burn fat – its function is to slow the metabolism, which often has the reverse desired effect. Your body thinks it’s starving, so it hangs on to fat stores even more aggressively.
Web it out:
Most of us eat out for at least one-third of our meals. It’s a necessary convenience these days. Unfortunately, that means a lot of extra calories and unhealthy choices. It’s no wonder Americans have gotten wider as restaurant dining has become the norm.
This week, resolve to eat right when you dine out. That means no junk or fast food. No sea of bacon grease or pasta swimming in alfredo sauce. It means no basket of bread with butter before your meal, and no dessert after your dish (the food we eat after we’ve already…eaten?). Stick to salads, grilled fish or chicken, simple vegetable or fruit sides – and hold the grease, sauces, and spreads! You’ll feel really great choosing the healthiest thing on the menu. (And you’ll probably lose a few pounds).
And here’s the second part of the challenge:
Help others make healthy choices, too. Click on Forum above, and take a moment to share how you stay healthy while dining on-the-go. If you aren’t already an Apple, registering takes just a few moments, and of course, joining is completely spam-free. Tell us your tips!
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