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Say No to This Weight Loss Drug

Dr. Len Lopez


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They’ve finally done it. The FDA has approved a new over-the-counter weight loss drug called alli (orlistat) that is designed to absorb 25 percent of the fat from your meal. The drug is intended to help those who are overweight and concerned about their weight. Unfortunately, the drug has some terrible side effects, which leads me to say no to this new drug.

The Terrible Side Effects

Those who use alli can suffer from diarrhea and loose stool. This is a huge problem, not only because it is inconvenient, but it also because it disrupts and interferes with normal digestion. The digestive process is critical in maintaining overall good health. It’s not what you eat, but whether your body absorbs the important nutrients found in the food.

If you constantly struggle with diarrhea and loose stool, it’s an obvious sign that your body is not absorbing the nutrients found in your foods or supplements. These nutrients are critical in maintaining normal liver, thyroid, heart, brain, reproductive, and immune function. Add to that, about 60-70 percent of our immune system is found in our digestive system. When you start disrupting that, you begin to weaken your total immune system.

This takes us to the next problem, which is the loss of important nutrients found in our food. Fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K are going to be reduced, because those important nutrients are found in fats and they will be eliminated and unavailable for absorption. These important vitamins are the building blocks needed by our bodies to make our hormones, antibodies, enzymes, and neurotransmitters (our brain messengers). When we begin to reduce the availability of these important nutrients, our bodies aren’t able to function the way the Good Lord designed them to. When you disturb normal function, you interfere with your health.

The makers of the drug say that the loose stools are not a problem and won’t affect your health, but this is the farthest thing from the truth. Anytime your body gives you diarrhea it’s a signal that your body didn’t like what you put in it. So, to continue to take something that is only irritating your digestive system is like continuing to squirt lemon juice in a paper cut—it’s idiotic.

Weight loss drugs don’t help extend the life of those who take these drugs. Yes, you might lose some weight, but the rate of heart attacks, heart disease, and diabetes hasn’t improved. Healthy weight loss is what we need to be talking about, not just losing weight or searching for that magic pill—it doesn’t exist. I have seen many unhealthy skinny people. The first goal I always try to instill in my patients is we need to become healthier, and as we become healthier, it is easier to lose that unwanted weight.
Finding your Fat Burning Zone

Losing weight is more than counting calories, grams, and exercise. There is another piece of the puzzle that needs to be examined. For example, does your body stay in its fat burning zone throughout the day? Too many people are eating and dieting with little or no results, which confirms there is another piece to the puzzle.

Our bodies are designed to burn calories from fats (stored body fats) for energy, rather than from carbs or proteins. In fact, when we burn calories from stored body fat, we get more than two and a half times more energy. Unfortunately, struggling with weight loss is many times a result of constantly burning the wrong fuels (carbs and protein, instead of stored body fat) for energy.

Stress can be taking us out of our fat burning zone. This happens because constant stress will trigger the production of cortisol and adrenaline—two of our stress hormones that trigger the body to burn calories from carbohydrates and proteins, instead of stored body fat. This is critical, because we can easily burn 300 calories from exercising (e.g., walking on a treadmill), but are we burning the recent carbohydrates we ate or are we burning the stored body fats we so desperately want to get rid of?

Determining if you are staying in your fat burning zone is simple. Do you struggle with cravings and low blood sugar? Do you skip meals? Eat lots of refined foods? Do you struggle with mid-morning and afternoon slumps? Do you become irritable when meals are missed or delayed? Do you have a hard time falling back asleep? These are simple questions that can help you know if you are staying in your fat burning zone. If you want more help, I invite to take our online health quizzes to determine if you are in your fat burning zone.

Eating too much refined, processed sugars and flours found in fast foods and packaged foods as well as soft drinks is the fastest way to throw you out of your fat burning zone. Skipping meals, too much stress, poor digestion, and eating on the go will also take you out of your fat burning zone.

Therefore, getting rid of those unwanted inches is more than eliminating the fats from our diet. This is extremely important for women, because our bodies need fats in order to make all our hormones and brain messengers. Interfere with that process and you create a whole host of other problems. So to simply assume that fat is the problem is far from the truth.

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About The Author


Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness coach who takes a more natural, holistic approach Eating Right and Training Smart. He is an author and inventor who occasionally takes the time to run a race or two with his wife and kids in the greater Dallas area.