by Marion Nestle
Jun 23 2007

Does Alli Work?

A reporter wrote me yesterday to ask about the first weight loss drug approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use–Alli (a version of Xenical, which prevents absorption of fat). Glaxo, he says, “has mounted a large campaign ($150m) to tell people to exercise and eat low fat if they use Alli. They are touting Alli as safe and more proven than the herbal diet concoctions out there. The…drug, Alli, promises to have a modest weight loss (6-10 pounds) and it causes some uncomfortable side effects. (You my soil yourself if you eat too much fat). [Glaxo is] very upfront about the side effects if you use Alli and eat too much fat. For ex, the drug’s marketing effort makes an impression by telling users to wear dark pants and carry extra clothes in case they soil themselves. I’m wondering if it is worth it…. Do you think people will buy it? Should they?”
I’m wondering exactly the same thing. Do you know anyone who has tried it? What do they say about it?

  • Very useful info..

    You may also find it useful to visit my website:

  • Ms K

    Me and my husband tried it for a week. We limited our fat intake and exercised. We did NOT have 1 TREATMENT EFFECT. After a week of limited fat we tested myalli’s theory took a risk and ate fat just to see if we would get the “treatment effect” – NADA.. It was a big disappointment, I was really looking forward to it. 🙁

  • A.P.

    Well, I am in phase two of the Alli diet, and it is absolutely true that if you eat anything with a lot of fat you WILL experience those dreadful treatment effects!! I haven’t experienced any significant weight loss yet (I have been limiting my fat intake as well as exercising), but hopefully by next week I will!!

  • Java Master

    I was given some Xenical by my doctor about 2 years ago, and it was quite an experience. After less than two weeks, I had to quit taking the drug, as its side effects were very problematic for me. I experienced sudden onsets of meteoric diarrhea, and my stool was very loose with an oily slick in the toilet bowl. Sounds just wonderful, doesn’t it? My doctor had given me some free samples he had obtained from a drug salesman, and he was looking forward to hving one of his patients try it. What was I thinking? The advice to have an extra pair of underwear and pants on hand is excellent advice, it almost certain that you may need them!

  • works

    i have been using alli since it became available and have lost A LOT of weight. i think it works quite well and i have experienced very very few side effects. if you eat a lower fat diet, the side effects are completely tolerable to non-existant. im kind of surprised to read that others havent had the same experience.

  • Jamie

    I would think that if you eat a low fat diet, you could save your money and skip the Alli? If the pill only works by the fact you get diarrhea when you fail at your diet, I suppose it could help, but so could just following the diet and exercise programs. Being stuck at work for 12 hours/day with little choice some days of what to eat, and no chance at going home, or finding a few minutes to change soiled clothes, I think I’m gonna skip it.

  • Pingback: What to Eat » The selling of Alli()

  • Talina

    I just started with Alli this week. I haven’t been too good in the dieting. I’m not too over weight. I want to loose 10lbs. My ideal weight is 130. I’m 145lbs now. I tried exercising alone, but I work full time and I go to school full time. I don’t have time to cook so I eat out a lot. The reason I am trying Alli is because I’m hoping it would help me stop eating fatty foods. I feel I need a push, something that can help me eat healthy to start out. I know if I eat too much fat I may soil myself. (That would be so embarrassing) I read all the other notes and it kind of scares me. I eat too much sugar (candies, cakes) and a lot of fat foods. I tried to slow it down, but I keep falling. So far I haven’t experienced anything. I’m trying to eat fruits instead of candy and eat healthier foods. With my schedule it’s hard, but I hope for the best. (I’ll keep in touch) -T

  • Jamie

    I have been on it for a week. The pill doesn’t make me feel bad or anything like that. I too put the side effect leakage to the test…I ate a 1 taco from taco bell and did get a slightly oily poo. But nothing that was leaking nor did i have to change my pants. I am trying to lose 32 pounds. so I will check back. Other than that I don’t see a problem with this pill…I would honestly recommend you not take it to lose 10- 15 lbs as it does state not to use it, on the box.

  • Kim

    I’m trying to get over a hump in my diet road…I think that if Alli will help “flush” some of the fat that I eat and my diet is low fat, I will be sure to loose something. The thought of having the side effects will surely prevent binge eatting!!! I’m going to give it a try.

  • Gladys

    I tried Alli for one week and I had to stop. Only because even though I was eating low fat food and low calories, it would give me a very loose stool and severe cramping. It would make me feel miserable so I had to stop taking it .

  • Gladys

    I tried Alli for one week and I had to stop. Only because even though I was eating low fat food and low calories, it would give me a very loose stool and severe cramping. It would make me feel miserable so I had to stop taking it .

  • suzy

    i want ti try alli,, i quit smoking over a year ago,, yeah for me but i also put 50 lbs on,,, i am 40 something??? i just not sure i understand it,,??low fat i know can someone help me olease thank u

  • Ana

    I said ok lets start it so I took one last night and fell asleep and when I got to work early this morning I had to use the restroom and couldnt believe what I seeing, oily greasy poop [gross] but it was such a motivation to keep doing it to see if I loose weight, Ive always struggled with my weight so Im hoping this works!

  • Maggie

    I started my regimen this weekend. I take Cymbalta for anxiety, and have gained 15 lbs in the last 6 months. I want that weight back off! I walk about 15 miles per week, and I eat pretty decent… and I gained that weight anyway. So I figure I need something to help me. I’m going to add some additional exercise as well. I do have to say, the prospect of having a mess in my pants has totally kept me on track so far this weekend! And if you pay attention, it really is easy to eat enough food so you are not hungry, and still not risk an “unfortunate accident.” 🙂

  • Maggie

    OK so I’ve lost 5 lbs in two weeks, and having been continuously gaining for months, I have to say I’m thrilled. But, because I haven’t had any of the “treatment effects” last night when we went to a benefit, I ate a piece of fried chicken and had some potato salad. BIG MISTAKE. What the bottle says is right, if it comes on you, you will NOT get to the bathroom quick enough. So do what the plan says and don’t eat the stuff you are not supposed to. At least I was at home… but imagine if you are out in public!!!! I’ve learned my lesson. No more “testing” the product. It does what it says it will.

  • Rhonda

    Ok, here’s the skinny 🙂 (punn intended)

    I have been using Alli for about 2 months and have lost 38 lbs. Do I attribute this all to Alli? NOPE. But! I do think Alli helps in the following way. When I want the occassional treat or fattening food I take a pill just before. I know that my body will reject it soon by producing stool. I can honestly say I have never had a bad experience with having to run to the bathroom, or all the horror stories that you see on here. The only thing it has done for me is act as a fiber. I find that if I don’t take it I get constipated when I diet so I will use it even for that fact only. Yes, your poopie is a little oily after a fatty meal, but I would rather have it in the toilet than on my butt LOL.

    I have just ordered my second bottle on eBay. Much cheaper! I got a bottle of 120 for $35.