Nutrition Articles

Discussion about Alli

Are the Benefits of This Diet Pill Worth the Cost?


What the Research Shows


  • Modest Results. Studies conducted by the company show that when using the Alli program (pills, diet and exercise) correctly, individuals can lose up to 50% more weight than dieting alone. They compared the Alli program with dieting only (not with dieting AND exercising), so it's hard to say whether these results come from Alli, the exercise component, or a combination of both. While 50% more weight sounds like a lot—here's an example. If you used the Alli program, you could lose 15 pounds instead of 10 pounds in the same amount of time. These results aren’t that dramatic—especially because you have to diet and exercise for it to work. In another study, dieters using the Alli program only lost three more pounds over the course of an entire year than people who dieted and exercised without taking the pill.
  • Less Potent than Xenical. The full-strength prescription version of orlistat, Xenical, hasn't lived up to its promise, according to data published by Consumer Reports. So is the less potent Alli any better? Data presented to the FDA suggest that the Alli program works best in those who are very overweight. In clinical trials, severely overweight subjects who took the drug for six months lost about five pounds more than those taking a placebo. In another four-month trial, moderately overweight people lost about 2 1/2 pounds more than the control group.
  • Short-Term Benefits. The modest benefits of Alli aren't likely to last in the long term. Alli is marketed for short-term use only, and follow-up suggests that people start to regain weight once they stop taking it.
  • Generally Safe. According to a GlaxoSmithKline press release, the safety and efficacy of orlistat, which has been marketed as a prescription drug in the U.S. since 1999, is supported by more than 100 clinical studies. This includes the four-year landmark XENDOS trial, the longest study ever of a weight loss medicine. More than 22 million people in 145 countries have used orlistat.
  • Not for Everyone. Alli is for people over the age of 18 who are overweight. It is not for people at a healthy weight, or those trying to lose the last five or 10 pounds. Other people who cannot safely take Alli include: people taking cyclosporine, warfarin, and thyroid or diabetes medication; people who have had an organ transplant; women who are pregnant or breastfeeding; people who have problems absorbing food; people with thyroid disease, gallbladder problems, kidney stones, and/or pancreatitis; people who are allergic to any of Alli's ingredients; and people taking other weight loss products. Continued ›
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

    Great post. I think product works as hard as you do. So the first step is pushing yourself in the gym. I've been using Cellucor product and I love it so far and I know it works for a fact. This is what I've been using if anybody wants to check it out
    els/dp/B008NBGUVQ - 7/3/2015 6:34:27 PM
  • Thank you, good info! - 5/9/2015 6:47:31 PM
  • Thank you, good info! - 5/9/2015 6:47:21 PM
  • I never took the pill and never wanted too BUT it was Alli' website that I first used to learn good healthy information on making changes to learn to eat healthy. I used it pretty regularly never taking the meds until I found SP. I have know as long as I have wanted to lose weight that you have to change your eating habits but never did. Instead I used other methods for weight loss. it was after I made the commitment to myself in 2010 to actually learn how to change my eating habits and learn to live a healthier life that I learned it was NOT all about losing weight !!!!

    Thank you SP !!!! - 1/22/2014 7:02:24 PM
    I found the greasy poops and stench to be untenable. - 1/22/2014 11:22:23 AM
    It's good. Me also having many tips for the weight loss. For more details you can refer the following link :

    chwanger.word - 12/26/2013 5:20:13 AM
  • Alli can be found at Wal~Mart for anyone looking.

    I took it several years ago and lost about 10 pounds. Our finances changed and I had to stop taking it. I didn't really have the side effects they warned about, except once when we were on vacation. We ate at a buffet and I had more fats in the foods than I usually ate… it got me then. I have always been like that though. If I eat too much fat, within an hour or two, I have diarrhea side effect… which is kind of nice if/when I am constipated. Sorry if that was TMI. - 8/4/2012 12:17:27 PM
  • TBERRY02
    I haven't seen Alli in any drug store nor department store. Is it really off the market? I can also swear by it. When you eat those high calorie food yiu can see the oil float on top of the water after you had a bobble - 6/8/2012 10:59:52 PM
  • Follow up: I'm still taking Alli intermittently and have not experienced horrible side effects. Alli is half the strength of the prescribed version. Being completely honest, I've doubled the dose before a meal a couple times and still not had side effects. I do not use Alli daily, 1 meal a week normally. I take it before a splurge meal, bday party, luncheon, etc. You can get a coupon from their website to help w/ the cost. I will continue to use as part of my strategy. - 2/24/2012 7:55:52 AM
  • I just purchased my Alli and after reading the reviews on this site and webmd I am encouraged. From what I gather from everyone it is a motivator. I know webmd stated that clinic studys stated a people on the pill lost 50% more. That's not a little bit of weight. That means for every 10lbs I lose I lose an extra 5lbs. I am a fat eater. Steaks, cheeseburgers, chicken wings, and pizza. I love meat. So this will help motivate me to put the Donatos down. I worked out for about 4 months last year and dieted and lost 8lbs. I got really discouraged at the 2lb a month weight loss when I was trying so hard. I am hoping this will give me the extra boost I need. Their meal plan also states I can eat more calories than before. I know I was worried that I may have went into starvation mode eating 1300 calories and going to kickboxing for 1hr a day 2xs a week. I can't wait to get my shipment on Weds.

    For me $40 is nothing. You get 60 pills. That's almost a month's worth. I spend more than that by myself when I got to the cheesecake factory and etc 3 -4xs a month. So I will actually save money because I won't be able to over indulge with a 28oz ribeye like I so love! lol - 1/21/2012 1:16:25 AM
  • I've been using Alli for several weeks now, I've never experienced any horrible side effects? When someone dares to eat high fat or fried foods with a pill that blocks the absorption of some fat are asking for trouble? Common sense and Alli are a nice team! Don't be scared of Alli, it could help many people get some weight off and begin a healthier lifestyle! - 9/30/2011 3:56:03 AM
  • hello.. i tried this pill bfore my wedding and i lose like 20 pounds in 3 months.. was WOW... no side effects or something. i ate some of Low fat diet but no at all.. sometimes i ate my pizza , cake . ..was nice!! and i would try it again..
    - 3/9/2011 9:29:43 AM
  • Thank you for this information about alli. I had seen this product advertised, but was not familiar with it. This article was very useful. - 9/24/2010 5:00:30 PM
  • my doctor wants me to try it; but after reading this I will stick with my original decision--the money isn't worth the trouble, I'll stick with sparkpeople and keep losing the sensible, although possibly slower than she likes, way!! - 9/2/2010 9:25:24 AM
  • I wouldn't use it just because those side effects are insane!! No thanks to uncontrollable diarrhea! - 7/28/2010 9:07:29 PM

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