Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The weight loss drug Orlistat (Xenical or Alli) never enabled significant weight loss and always caused nasty side effects. But, once again, the dieter is blamed for weight loss failure…this time blamed for “thinking” the drug will not work.


The weight loss drug is Orlistat.  You may know it as Xenical or Alli. It has been available by prescription since 1999 and over the counter since 2007.  A dieter is to take the medication at meals that contain fat.  The drug blocks the absorption of fat and allows it to pass undigested through the intestines.  The fat, grease, oil passes through the intestines…and out your back end….Side effects include steatorrhea (oily loose stools), excessive gas/flatulence, fecal incontinence, as well as frequent and urgent bowel movements.  Yep.  The average weight loss taking Alli is 3-5 pounds/YEAR.

Weight loss is supposed to occur from not absorbing the fat calories and from behavioral modification.  Embarrassing stool “leaks” and major gas should teach a dieter to eat less fat…or else.

With that said, I’m embarrassed to report Dr. Hollywood and Dr. Ogden’s (University of Surrey) research presented in Liverpool this week.

The doctors interviewed 10 women who gained weight while taking the drug Orlistat for 18 months.  Although the women attributed their failure to lose weight to the mechanics of the drug and talked about other weight loss methods that did not work for them, the doctors had a very interesting “take” on their comments. 

Dr. Hollywood interpreted their weight gain as a “self fulfilling belief” that they would not lose weight. and went on to say that “unless we get the psychology right and change people’s beliefs about themselves, their eating and the way the drug works, this medication is often going to produce disappointing results.

So…the dieter is blamed for not losing weight while taking Orlistat…and in fact gaining weight.  It’s not the failure of the medication, it’s consumer failure. 

Truth be known, the reason people don't lose appreciable weight while taking Orlistat is that the drug DOES does cause malabsorption of ingested fat.  Yes, the drug does what it is supposed to do, and dietary fat intake will cause nasty anal leakage of fat as well as gas and oily stools.  The modus operandi of the drug is two fold...malabsorb fat and cause behavioral modification.  In an effort to stop the embarrassment of leaking fat...people are supposed to eat less fat.  They should eat less fat and the fat they do consume should be malabsorbed.  Messy...but it should work for weight loss, right?  WRONG. 

Here’s where the doctors Hollywood and Ogden got it wrong….

The problem with Alli or Xenical is that they target fat intake.  The reality is that for over 60% of the population, weight issues are not caused by fat intake...they are caused by excess carbohydrate intake.  Over 60% of the population has the genes for metabolic syndrome with its characteristic over-release of the fat- gain hormone insulin in response to eating carbohydrate foods.

If the millions of people with insulin imbalance (I call this Metabolism B) dutifully pop their Orlistat...and avoid obvious high fat foods to avoid nasty anal fat leakage and gas, they will still consume carbohydrates.  Even healthy carbohydrates like whole grain breads, fresh fruit, legumes, fat free yogurt and milk cause blood sugar to rise and insulin to release.  Over 60% of the population becomes "fat" from over-processing carbohydrate due to an imbalance of the hormone insulin.

The medicine Orlistat can’t help this situation... this medicine will never solve the underlying  problem. 

We need to recognize "Metabolism B"(aka  metabolic syndrome).  Spread the word that most overweight people have insulin imbalance.   They WILL lose weight, keep it off, have energy, cut medication needs for blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and maintain excellent health following a lifestyle that matches their metabolic needs.

The lifestyle program written expressly for the millions with insulin imbalance (Metabolism B) is in The Metabolism Miracle.  Read more at


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