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Monday, January 23, 2006

The Obesity Pill: Fat Chance

Today the Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide if the generic prescription drug orlistat, which reduces the bodies ability to absorb fat, is appropriate for over-the-counter (OTC) distribution.

If the FDA approves orlistat for OTC sale, the public will have yet another way to medicate themselves to achieve a result (weight loss) that’s entirely possible to attain safely, without medication.

Worse, while orlistat can cut the body’s fat absorption by about a third, it has some extremely unpleasant side effects—namely (you guessed it!) FLATULENCE; loose, oily bowels; involuntary leakage; and a frequent, urgent need for a bowel movement.

What’s the lesser evil: a few extra pounds that you could work off with relative ease (provided you have the willpower), or serious gastrointestinal insult brought on by an OTC medication that’s allegedly improving your health?

One health expert noted that patients who followed the lowest-fat diets while using the drug were most successful, probably because a healthier regimen is gentler on the GI tract, and reduced the uncomfortable side effects.

Sound familiar? It should, if you’re a regular reader of the Trafon blog. Here’s another of my core concepts, which I urge readers to remember: OTC medications only sedate symptoms; they don’t cure a thing.

Want to lose weight? Here’s the only formula that’s proven to work every time: EAT MUCH HEALTHIER. EXERCISE MORE.

Fix your body by consuming wholesome (preferably organic) foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Keep your diet low in fat. Ramp up the exercise (even a mere 30 minutes of walking a day will do).

This is a sound, proven, painless, and most of all, safe prescription for shedding extra pounds. Contrast that to orlistat, which I fear is merely a prescription for shedding methane, or worse.


  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    How do we know if this is valid, clinical fact or just one guy's opinion? Antbody with a keybaord and a few opinions can pass themselves off as an expert. Where's the proof???

  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    I agree with you Bill, eating less and exercising more is the way to lose weight. I lost more than 157 pounds with the help of a nutritionist who taught me how to eat right. Consuming wholesome, veggies, fruits and whole grains is the way to go. All of those fad diets and pills out there are just a joke. Don't buy into any of it!!

  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    "... loose oily bowels, involuntary leakage, and a frequent urgent need for a bowel movement..." These are SIDE EFFECTS? I'm sorry. These are serious effects, if you ask me. Who would put themselves through something like that to lose weight when you can do it eating healthy, great tasting food that won't make you do any of those things? Are we insane!?

  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    Interesting connection between weight loss pills and gastrointestinal distress. As if there wasn't enough reason to avoid these things.

  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    No thanks, WELL WISHER! I'd rather listen to Bill Downs and start avoiding the bad foods. In fact, this is on GI problems and not weight loss. Try selling your somewhere else!

  • ~ Anonymous Anonymous said …

    To all, especially WELLWISHER, I did
    phentermine years ago and was able to get Zenical (similar to Orlistat) but did not
    take it. Ultimately, you must change your eating habits. I recently lost 15 lbs. in 4 weeks on the South Beach Diet.
    It's a way of eating for the rest of your
    life. No diet pill or fat blocker will
    change your eating habits. You are fooling yourself.

    I have very little gas since I have changed my eating habits. I have more energy and feel great.


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