Alternatives to Xenical

Xenical is an effective prescription medication for losing weight by reducing the absorption of dietary fat in the body when combined with a low fat, low calorie diet and regular exercise. People lost twice as much weight when Xenical was added to a low-fat, low calorie diet with exercise. The effectiveness and safety of Xenical was proven in a four-year clinical trial.

If you are thinking about alternatives to Xenical, there are other prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, natural remedies, diet and exercise to consider. Your choice may depend upon your degree of being overweight, your overall state of health, how fast you want to lose the weight and your level of physical activity.

Other prescription medications

Other clinically proven diet pills include certain appetite suppressants. But, the appetite suppressants, such as phentermine, are not covered by the NHS and have to be obtained by prescription from private weight loss (bariatric) physicians who practice at slimming clinics. For the appetite suppressants to be effective, you need to take them alongside a low-calorie diet and regular exercise.

Disadvantages of prescription appetite suppressants are:

  • The fastest weight loss occurs in the beginning of treatment, before the body gets used to the medication
  • Side effects such as nervousness, irritability and inability to sleep

Alli

Alli is an over-the-counter medication containing 60mg of orlistat, which is half the amount of orlistat that is in each Xenical capsule. As Alli is taken with each of the three main meals every day, the daily dose of orlistat in Alli is half of the daily dose of orlistat in Xenical. An advantage of Alli is that the side effects are less than that of Xenical.

A disadvantage of Alli is that even with a low fat diet and regular exercise Alli is less effective in reducing weight than Xenical.

Surgery

Weight loss (bariatric) surgery involves surgically making the stomach smaller, so that it can accept less food for people who are obese.

In the UK, bariatric surgery generally is restricted to people who have either a BMI of at least 40 or a BMI between 30 and 40 and another serious weight-related condition (e.g., high blood pressure or diagnosis of type 2 diabetes within the last decade) AND in either case have failed to lose weight when using a combination of diet, exercise, and medication.

For individuals with a BMI of at least 50, bariatric surgery may be performed prior to diet, exercise and medication.

To be a candidate for bariatric surgery, the patient has to be healthy enough to undergo anaesthesia and surgery and commit to the management of weight loss and long-term follow-up. The goals of the surgery are to have you digest less food and feel fuller faster, resulting in weight loss.

Techniques for bariatric surgery include, but are not limited to:

  • Gastric banding, in which a band is placed to seal off part of the stomach.
  • Gastric bypass, in which your digestive system mostly is routed to the duodenum (rather than the stomach first) and the intestines.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy, in which part of the stomach is surgically removed.

The gastric banding method usually results in half the excessive body weight being lost in a gradual process that can take two years. The gastric bypass method usually results in two-thirds of the excessive body weight being lost in a gradual process that can take two years. Patients may desire cosmetic surgery later to remove loose folds of skin that occur after the weight is lost.

Risks of bariatric surgery are:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots in the legs
  • Pulmonary embolism, which is a piece of a blood clot that lodges in a blood vessel in the lungs
  • Infection

Natural remedies

Natural remedies for losing weight include:

  • Being hydrated by drinking sufficient water, which helps to reduce appetite and flush fat out of your body. Drinking at least 8 cups of water daily is recommended.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum, which decreases appetite.
  • Sleeping an adequate amount every night, which keeps your cells sensitive to insulin, the hormone that breaks down sugar.
  • Between bites of food, put down your fork or spoon, in order to slow your eating. You may feel full before you have finished eating what is on your plate.
  • Taking a supplement of capsules or tincture of milk thistle, which contains simalrilyn, to stimulate the action of the liver and help weight loss.
  • Taking a supplement of extract of green coffee beans, which contain chlorogenic acid that can stimulate your metabolism and help break down fat in the body.

Diet

Limiting the number of calories you eat daily is the usual dietary approach to losing weight. What you eat is important for losing weight and maintaining health. An alternative to a low calorie diet is not eating carbohydrates (starches and sugars) after 5 pm.

For a healthy diet, you can:

  • Decrease your intake of fat and sugar.
  • Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits.
  • Increase your consumption of fruit. Eating half of a grapefruit prior to every meal results in a weekly loss of one pound. Eating three pears per day results in feeling full, intake of less calories and greater weight loss.
  • Increase your intake of non-meat sources of proteins, such as nuts, whole grains, beans and eggs. People who ate a handful of almonds every day for six month experienced a loss of 18% of body fat. Eating navy beans during one meal per day can burn 25% more fat than a diet without navy beans.
  • Include some starches, such as potatoes, rice, bread and pasta.
  • Include some milk and other dairy foods.
  • Include some animal sources of protein, such as fish, chicken and meat.
  • Decrease your intake of salt.
  • Put prepared or ready to eat food into portions ahead of time in your refrigerator, or kitchen cupboard, or freezer.
  • Eat your meals slowly, so that you may become full while you are eating
  • Think about the taste and texture of food while you are eating, which will assist in temporarily turning off the appetite controls in your brain.
  • Drinking green tea can assist in burning calories and fat.
  • A little bit of dark chocolate may assist in lowering the number of fat cells in the body.

After a person loses weight the body requires fewer calories to maintain the lower weight. So, if you continue to consume the same number of calories you did to lose the weight you may regain some weight. Ways to avoid the regaining of weight is to decrease your caloric intake slightly and increase your level of exercise.

Exercise

In contemporary society, many people lead sedentary lives, in which they sit too long at their desks, home and cars. For adults, an exercise program of 2.5 to 5 hours per week (or about 20 to 45 minutes daily) is recommended.

Choose whatever form of physical exercise you enjoy that you can participate in regularly. Walking, jogging, cycling, tennis, swimming, dancing and running are good for your weight and overall health. You can also consider joining a gym. If you join a gym or work out at home, include strength, flexibility, body toning, stamina and cardio exercises in your fitness regimen. The cardio exercises should increase your metabolic rate, which will help to burn calories.

After you have reached your weight loss goal, your body needs fewer calories to keep the lower weight. You can increase your exercise to 1 hour per day, so that you burn more calories.

References:

  1. http://easo.org/education-portal/obesity-facts-figures/
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Obesity/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  3. http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20410136,00.html