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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[tags]Orlistat, obesity, OTC, over-the-counter, Alli, drug companies, fat absorption, high sugar, FDA, oily stools[/tags]
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.