All Things Considered, It’s Probably Best Not To Read This Whilst Eating

In recent years, rather like M’chum Jed, , my metabolism has slowed down, and so I’m now the not-entirely-proud owner of a bit of a belly.

Now, it’s nothing too excessive (though it usually slightly surprises people who’ve known me for years, as historically I’ve tended to the scrawny end of things), and I’m all too aware that if I want to shed it – I mean really want to shed it – then all I have to do is to eat less and move more (running’s usually the best form of exercise for me, but we all have our preferences). It’s pretty straightforward for me, really, though I’m aware there are many people who don’t necessarily lose weight they want to lose with such a linear element of causation.

And so, clustering the shelves of your local pharmacy, there are a number of products which are advertised as helping you lose weight, and I’m sure that many of them live up to their claims. However, slighty less advertised are some of the side effects, and of course that’s what I want to talk about here.

A couple of products on the market (such as Formaline and Alli) act in an interesting way on the digestive system; they stop fat binding in the usual way within the gut, so that it doesn’t hang around, and instead of loitering in the stomach area, it moves on, as undigested fat, through the colon and out into the sunlight.

All very well and good (if you ignore the messing-with-the-natural-order side of things, that is), but it seems that products of this nature are not without side effects. Or, as the website for Alli prefers to call them, “treatment effects”. What kind of side effects, you may be wondering? Have some examples:

  • Gas with oily spotting
  • Loose stools
  • More frequent stools that may be hard to control

Is that nice? I don’t think so. Surely the risk of soiling yourself in public is a deal-breaker? Well, if it’s not, here’s Alli‘s suggestion on how to incorporate the new and ever-present risk of plop leakage into your life:

“You may feel an urgent need to go to the bathroom. Until you have a sense of any treatment effects, it’s probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.”

Let me just repeat that, with emphasis: if you take Alli, “it’s probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work.”

Sweet fancy Moses! If it’s a choice between being ‘that slightly tubby chap’ or being ‘that 38-year-old guy who smells like his nappy needs changing’, I know which I’d choose.

Just in case you think I’m making this up, here’s the link to the page where Alli detail the side – er, treatment effects of their product. I like the way they try to hide the more soggy possibilities amongst other, more bearable, effects. The textual equivalent of wearing dark trousers when you’ve shat yourself, as it were.

You have been reading the words of John Soanes, sophisticate and high-falutin’ fop about town. Thank you and good day.


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  1. Sounds worrying in the extreme, John. I think on the whole that I would rather, like yourself, be a little overweight than be mistaken for someone on a ‘dirty protest’.

  2. I certainly can’t imagine many people taking these tablets get invited round to see their friends’ new sofas.

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