Orlistat is a medication designed to reduce the body’s fat intake by preventing the absorption of fat through the digestive system. Medication is usually a final resort for weight loss and is not normally recommended until other methods of weight loss have been tried, such as exercise and dieting. Consequently, these solutions will usually have been tried before Orlistat comes into consideration. However, it can still be worth understanding the alternatives to Orlistat that are available in case medication isn’t an option for you.
Saxenda, otherwise known as Liraglutide, is an alternative medication that works to reduce appetite. Rather than reducing the body’s fat absorption, Saxenda works by injecting a hormone into your body that makes you feel full and reduces your overall appetite. This reduces your calorie intake and ultimately helps you lose weight by reducing the amount of food you eat naturally.
A few common side effects of Saxenda are:
- Stomach pain
- Constipation and diarrhoea
- Reactions around the injection site
- Low/High blood sugar levels
- Changes in blood enzyme levels
It should be noted that Saxenda can severely affect mood and has been linked to cases of depression. Tumours in the thyroid are also potentially serious side effects that may not be immediately noticeable during your course of medication. Be cautious and chat with your GP or arrange an online consultation with us if you have any concerns about taking Saxenda.
Wegovy, otherwise known as Semaglutide, is an injectable weight loss medication designed specifically to help with weight loss. Wegovy works to control your appetite and reduce your overall calorie intake. It can be prescripted via NHS weight management services or privately through a registered healthcare professional.
Common side effects of Wegovy include:
Burping or Gas
Bloating of the Stomach
Low blood sugar in patients with diabetes
While dieting is a predecessor to Orlistat, there are hundreds of different types of diets available as alternatives depending on which ones you’ve already followed. Dieting is one of the most common and effective methods of weight loss used worldwide and pairs well with frequent exercise.
A few of the most common diets people follow in the UK include:
- Slimming World
- Weight Watchers
- Intermittent fasting
- Calorie counting
- Keto diets
- 5:2 diets
- Diet restrictions such as vegetarianism and veganism
To choose your diet, it’s important to consider what you want to achieve and for what length of time. A doctor can help discuss with you which diet would be best for you and your body’s specific metabolism and needs. Be mindful that, similarly to medications, diet changes can sometimes cause side effects such as drowsiness, constipation and difficulty concentrating.
While dieting is common, it’s important to keep in mind that your body requires enough calories to power exercise and your lifestyle each day. Always carefully monitor your health alongside dieting, and if you notice any problems, chat to your GP about your diet. If dieting is causing you depression or anxiety, or if calorie cutting is becoming compulsive or detrimental to your health, consult your doctor immediately.
Another common Orlistat alternative for weight loss is exercise, a method that pairs well with dieting as long as the right exercise regimen is followed for your diet. Exercising works by using energy from fat that would otherwise be stored in the body. Exercise also helps produce endorphins, which can combat depression and feelings of sadness and low mood.
There are plenty of different types of exercise available to try, including cardio, running, walking, engaging in sports such as football and basketball, and even weight lifting in activities such as bowling. If following a strict schedule is difficult for you, you can try something different every day! Exercise is one of the least restrictive methods of weight loss that can be used as an effective Orlistat alternative.
While it can seem extreme, surgery is an option for weight loss that can be suggested by doctors if no other options are effective or available. It should be noted that surgery should not be sought after unless you have a serious health condition, or cannot achieve a healthy weight any other way. Doctors will always need to be consulted in the process of deciding whether to undertake surgery for weight loss.
Weight loss surgery is called bariatric surgery. According to the NHS, there are several types of bariatric surgery, including:
- Sleeve gastrectomy: A part of the stomach is removed to reduce the amount of food you can eat.
- Gastric band surgery: A band is placed around the stomach to reduce the amount you need to eat.
- Gastric bypass surgery: The top of your stomach is joined to the small intestine to reduce the amount of food you can eat and absorb.
Surgery will only ever be suggested if you meet the following criteria:
- You have exhausted all other options available to you.
- You have been receiving intensive management for weight loss.
- Your BMI is over 40, or 35 if you have a serious weight-related health condition.
All these surgeries involve adjusting the stomach to reduce the amount you can eat and the amount of food that can be digested. These surgeries should be considered a last resort when it comes to weight loss. There are downsides and side effects to these measures, such as needing to take supplements for the rest of your life after the surgery is complete. There are also health risks, such as food leaking through the join between the stomach and the intestine that could have serious consequences for your body.
Are Orlistat alternatives as effective as medication?
All methods of weight loss can be effective in their own way and simply require different levels of contribution and active participation to achieve results. It’s important to bear in mind that what works for one individual may not work for another. Your doctor will offer you a range of options when it comes to weight loss, and it’s important to consider all factors before deciding on the best solution for you. We hope that this article has helped you get a better understanding of the alternatives available to you if you cannot or do not want to take Orlistat for weight loss. For more information on weight loss medications, you can browse our blog here.