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The alli Diet Plan

Book Review

The alli™ Diet Plan
By Caroline Apovian, MD
Meredith Books (2007)
Reviewed by Keri M. Gans, MS, RD, CDN


The book offers an eating plan that works in tandem with alli™, the only FDA-approved, over-the counter weight-loss aid. The book claims the alli capsule, taken in combination with using "The alli™ Diet Plan," can help accelerate the rate at which you lose weight by 50 percent or more.

Diet Plan

The alli diet consists of three phases. You will eat a specific number of calories and grams of fat each day. Your calories will remain the same, but the total amount of fat you are allowed to eat each day will increase as you advance to Phase 2 and Phase 3. Phase 1 (15 percent of calories from fat) and Phase 2 (20 percent of calories from fat ) each last one week, while you will stay on Phase 3 (30 percent of calories from fat) until you reach your goal weight.

During all phases, you take an alli capsule with each meal containing fat, but no more than three capsules per day. Alli diverts about one-quarter of all fat you eat so it is flushed from your body. If you eat more than the recommended fat amounts, it will result in "treatment effects," a euphemism for frequent bowel movements, an urgent need to go to the bathroom and gas with oily discharge. A daily multivitamin is recommended at bedtime.

The plan also recommends a fitness program that consists of easy-to-follow walking and toning exercises. An entire chapter is dedicated to this and includes photos of eight different exercises.

And the book includes calorie charts and weekday menus for all three Phases with "no-cook menus," recipe substitutions, snack ideas, eating-out options and more than 200 recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

Nutritional Pros and Cons

Unfortunately, this book focuses more on a low-fat diet than any other theme of healthy eating and is not consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The sample meals are too low in fiber and calcium and promote high-carbohydrate snacks without any protein, causing the reader in my opinion to get hungrier as the day progresses.

The book does provide research for the use of alli as an over-the-counter weight-loss drug; however, there is no other reference to science.

Bottom Line

I could not recommend this book to a consumer unless he or she was under the supervision of a registered dietitian. Whether or not you believe in weight-loss aids, there is more to successful, healthy weight loss than following a low-fat, calorie-reduced diet and taking a pill.

The book can be useful in teaching portion sizes. The many simple, low-fat recipes and the eating-out guide, covering mostly fast-food restaurants, could be helpful for the educated consumer.