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Fat Blocking Drugs Have Been Dangerous

Many doctors and their patients still think that eating fat is the major cause of obesity. Orlistat has been prescribed for years as Xenocol and is now available over the counter as Alli. The watchdog organization Public Citizen is again urging the FDA to take it off the market because of dangerous side-effects. These are in addition to the inconvenience of having poor control of the fatty stools that result when the drug blocks the absorption of about a fourth of dietary fat.

A year-long study showed that people taking orlistat in addition to a healthy diet and exercise only lost 2 to 5.6 pounds more than the control patients who just used diet and exercise. This means the drugs are not very effective or that dietary fat doesn’t hinder weight loss anyway.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group mentions an animal study that showed that orlistat caused pre-cancerous lesions in the colon. Then in 2010 foreign reports showed severe liver damage in many patients. By then in the U.S. 47 users had pancreatitis, of whom 39 had to be hospitalized and one died. Others had kidney stones and one patent died of kidney failure. Even if these cases are rare, there is no reason to put your life at risk with a drug that isn’t very effective.

Effective diets cut out sugars and simple carbohydrates and keep moderate amounts of fat and protein. Any diet must be accompanied by exercise.

Obesity is a symptom

Obese persons might have type II diabetes and heart disease, but a fat body is not a direct cause. Polynesian kings, Sumo wrestlers and Eskimos in ages past had fat bodies but were healthy. The effects of civilization are the real causes of diabetes and heart disease. When primitive people got tobacco, alcohol, soft drinks and manufactured foods (high in carbohydrates but without fiber), they got the diseases of civilization. These included diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Dr. Sanford Siegal in 1975 showed the importance of fiber in preventing these conditions. Many doctors now agree.
Vegetarian diets are successful if they have lots of high fiber fruits and vegetables. They don’t work if the person just quits eating animal products but drinks juices and continues to eat low-fiber manufactured foods. Worst are the beverages and foods with high-fructose corn syrup.
The doctors who report that a patient’s blood pressure went down by just losing ten pounds don’t say it was because the obese person quit drinking sweet beverages and eating junk food to lose that few pounds. The person might still be 50 pounds overweight but healthier.
Removing fat by liposuction might seem an easy way to get rid of it. One study followed for a year the women who had fat removed from hips and thighs. When they ate extra calories, fat appeared on the abdomen. A former pear-shaped woman was getting an unhealthy apple shape.
Even the size of your waistline might not be a good indicator of health. If you can pinch more than an inch of the fat stored between the muscle layer and the skin around the abdomen, that is much better than having a solid, round belly. Here the fat is stored around the intestines, stomach and other internal organs. This crowds the organs so they can’t act normal, resulting in the Metabolic Syndrome that includes diabetes, high blood pressure and cardio-vascular disease.

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