The diet industry is a multi-billion dollar a year business in the United States alone. One cannot turn on the television without seeing at least one commercial for a new diet or exercise program. Many promise amazing results with little effort. While many might be able to offer short term fixes, the only true way to lose weight and get healthy is diet modification, lifestyle changes and physical activity. You may have heard about the new “diet” pill Alli. Alli is actually nothing new. The ingredient, Orlistat has actually been available by prescription from your doctor to help you lose weight. Alli is a milder formulation that has been made to be purchased over the counter. This is by no means meant to be a “miracle” pill. You cannot sit on the couch and enjoy typically unhealthy meals and snacks and expect any results. Alli is meant to be taken in conjunction with an overall new healthy lifestyle. In this day, we are all being conditioned to run almost like robots. We all desire more in less time. We tend to plan our lives around speed and convenience. The food industry thrives on our need for this. Entire meals can come in one box and require almost no preparation. Pulling through a drive up food chain can be quicker then stopping at an ATM machine. In the process of speed and convenience, we sacrifice our health. Rapid meals and fast food is loaded with excessive amounts of fat, calories and sodium. Chances are the quicker and better it tastes, the worse it is for you. Factor in that most people can’t seem to find time in their day to schedule exercise and it’s no wonder why our society is fatter then it’s ever been. Obesity is turning into an epidemic in the United States. Alli is the first and only FDA approved over the counter weight loss product. Alli’s primary function is to prevent the body from absorbing a percentage of the fat you eat. Fat absorption happens primarily in the intestines. When fat cannot be absorbed by the body, it has no where to go but pass through the body via your bowels. As previously stated, Alli is meant to be taken in conjunction with an over all healthy lifestyle. This new lifestyle includes introducing foods that are low in fat and calories. When Alli prohibits your body from absorbing a percentage of fat, and you eat a meal that is high in fat, an incidence occurs that can be considered unpleasant. GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Alli, describe this incident as “treatment effects.” In other words, while taking Alli, if you choose to not follow the recommended diet of low fat and calories, you may find yourself racing to the bathroom. A side effect noted with taking Alli and eating high fat foods is the inability to control your bowels. The fat gets separated in your intestines and turns into an oily substance. Depending on the fat content of your meal, a person can even find herself requiring the use of underwear liners due to leakage. This is similar to the side effect noted from persons who have under gone gastric bypass surgery and don’t adhere to the recommended diet. The idea behind Alli is not just to block the absorption of some of the fat you eat, but when you increase your physical activity, your body starts to target your fat stores and you begin to lose weight. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight understands how much work is involved. We need food to survive. It isn’t like an addiction that we can simply give up. Temptation is everywhere. Not only is it hard work to stay motivated to continue to exercise, its hard work to continue to stay strong and not give into unhealthy food binges. Experts agree that slow and gradual weight loss is the healthiest way to lose weight. Alli is meant to be taken daily along with exercise and a good diet for at least six months. Since Alli is targeting fat in the intestines, it does not have the same effects on the body as other over the counter diet pills. It does not boost your metabolism or have the potential to affect your heart rate. GlaxoSmithKline also suggests to Alli users contacting a Registered Dietician. Speaking with an RD is a good idea for anyone interested in making diet and lifestyle changes because they can help you to better understand how food reacts in your body. An RD would also be able to help you plan your meals and make suggestions about which nutrients and foods you should concentrate on based on your current height/weight and goals. As much as we all hate the thought of fat, fat is a necessary part of a healthy diet. Fat aides the body in absorption of some necessary vitamins. GlaxoSmithKline suggests Alli users take a multivitamin. While food is the best source for vitamins and minerals that our body requires, it’s a good idea for anyone to add a multivitamin to their daily routine. This is especially true since it is so very hard to eat all the daily required vitamins every day. Being an FDA approved medicine means that it has been tested by the FDA, proven to prevent, treat or cure a disease and is safe for the general public. No other diet pill available for purchase can state that. Alli also comes with a hefty price tag. The price of the initial starter kit that comes with a free website membership can range in price $50-$75. The refill bottles $40-$60. One needs to think about what they could do with the money spent on the product. It is suggested that one pill be taken before each meal. Instead of spending the money on the product, you could be using the money towards hiring a personal trainer or a gym membership. There are also certain people who should not take Alli: People who have undergone any organ transplants Take blood thinners such as Warfarin Suffer from any Thyroid diseases Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers Those who are recommended by their doctors to not take Alli No one, not even the manufacturer of Alli is claiming that the pill will provide a quick fix. The information provided by the company only states a mild advantage in weight loss compared to diet and exercise alone. Even though Alli has been proven to help you lose weight, in addition to a low fat, low calorie diet and exercise, there is still no magic pill available that will help you lose weight without your own determination and strength. You can’t find strength and determination in a pill. For more information about Alli, Please refer to GlaxoSmithKline’s Alli website www.alli.com or speak with your doctor or pharmacist.