Bob Harper of the Biggest Looser, is saying in TV commercials, when it comes to weight loss “it's as simple as 1,2,3: eat right, be active and try my new Smart Weight Loss formula”. Really? I've heard about eating right and exercise but what about Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss Formula? Does Bob know something about weight loss the rest of us don’t? I was intrigued, especially when Bob uttered my two favorite words (next to Star Trek!) – Clinical research. According to Bob, his Smart Weight Loss Formula is backed up by two clinical studies. I did some digging into this supplement and uncovered some interesting facts. Let’s now take a look at Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss Formula and see if we can figure out if it’s right for you.
Smart Success Weight Loss products
If you go to BobHarperSmartSuccess.com you see that his weight loss formula is actually 3 different products:
- Smart Weight Loss 7 day starter kit
- Smart Weight Loss Formula
- Smart 7 Day Cleanse (this product contains senna which can be very dangerous. I do not recommend)
I'm going to focus mostly on the Smart Weight Loss Formula first and briefly review the other products at the end of this review.
Smart Weight Loss Formula Ingredients
- Vitamin C 7mg (useless for weight loss)
- Calcium 175 mg (useless for weight loss)
“Invigorate Energy Blend” (455 mg). This contains the following:
- Coffee extract (probably helps weight loss)
- Pomegranate powder (no proof it helps weight loss)
- Goji powder (no proof it helps weight loss)
Trim Smart Blend
- Frauenmantle extract (Alchemilla vulgaris leaf)
- Wild olive extract (Olea europea leaf)
- Cormino extract (Cuminum cyminum seed)
- Horsemint extract (Mentha longifolia leaf)
Smart Weight Loss Clinical Studies
Now let’s look at the two clinical studies Bob Harper says supports his weight loss formula. These clinical studies are summarized on the Smart Weight Loss website. Here is basically what they say:
12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Subjects using the “key ingredients” in the Smart Weight Loss Formula lost an average of 20.94 lbs. versus the placebo group, who lost an average of 1.70 lbs. Both groups followed a calorie-reduced diet.
Here is what they don’t say about this study.
- Where is the study published? There is no reference so people can go and read the study themselves. This is a big problem in my opinion.
There is a big difference between “clinical study” and “Published peer reviewed study”. Without letting other researchers look over how the study was done, how do we know the study is not flawed?
- How many people were in this study? 10, 20, 100? They don’t tell us. This is a another big problem because if the study only had a small number of people, it reduces the likelihood that others would see the same results.
- How many calories did people eat? They only say people ate a reduced calorie diet.
- What was the placebo? They dont tell us. This is important. If the people getting the placebo knew they were not getting the real supplement, they may have cheated more on their diet, thinking “what’s the use?” Placebo choice can make or break a study.
- How much of the weight lost was body fat? They only say that people who took the Smart Weight Loss supplement lost 20.94 pounds. My question is 20.94 pounds of what?
Was it 20.94 pounds of fat?
Was it 20.94 pounds of water?
Was it 20.94 pounds of muscle?
They don’t tell us.
I have no proof but I am guessing that the 20.94 pounds is a combination of some fat, carbs and water (carbs store lots of water) and maybe a little protein. That’s basically what you see when people go on a diet.
- How did they measure body fat? If they are saying people lost 20.94 pounds of fat, how did the researchers measure it ? They don’t tell us. Some body fat measurements can be pretty inaccurate.
- Who conducted the study? They say it was a “third party” but that’s vague. It’s implied this means an independent lab did the research but since they don’t specifically say it, we can’t assume this.
This study lasted 8 weeks and was backed by the company that makes Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss supplements. That’s not bad as long as the research is good and the company did not influence the results.
This study was also a randomized, placebo controlled study. That's good. People using the same key ingredients lost 16.5 pounds (those taking the placebo lost 1.73 lbs).
Again, they don’t tell us a lot about this study either:
- It looks like this is not a published/peer reviewed study
- What was the placebo?
- How many people were in the study?
The weight loss study Bob doesn't tell you about.
According to Bob Harpers website the “key ingredients” in his Smart Weight loss Formula are:
- frauenmantle extract (Alchemilla Vulgaris leaf)
- wild olive extract (Olea europea leaf)
- cormino extract (Cuminum cyminum seed)
- horsemint extract
There is a reason why Bob calls them the “key ingredients” – and here it is.
In 2008 there was a study published in the journal Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. The study was NOT on Bob Harpers weight loss formula.
WeighLevel also has the 4 “key ingredients”– and had those ingredients at least 3 years BEFORE Bob Harper's supplements.
Bob may not know about this study but this is the reason these 4 ingredients were chosen to be in the Smart Weight Loss Formula
As far as I can tell, this is the ONLY study of these 4 ingredients that has been published in a scientific journal (Remember the clinical studies touted in Bob Harper’s Smart Weight Loss Formula seem to be unpublished and not peer reviewed).
Other Smart Weight Loss Products
Bob’s weight loss formula has 3 separate products:
- Smart Weight Loss 7 day Cleanse supplement
Here is the scoop on the other 2 products
The Smart Weight Loss 7 Day Cleanse
I feel this product should be avoided because it contains senna which is a laxative that can be dangerous if used improperly. You may remember that senna was one of the main active ingredients in the weight loss supplement Zi Xiu Tang Bee Pollen. The 7 Day Cleanse also contains Acai fruit which is useless for weight loss.
The Smart Weight Loss Starter Kit
This is basically the same thing as the Smart Weight Loss Formula. It has 2 parts – an AM formula and a PM formula. Both contain the same 4 “key ingredients” except that the AM formula also has caffeine (coffee extract) and some other things that do nothing for weight loss.
While I am taking issue with Bob Harpers supplements, they pale next to the supplements that Jillian Michaels has previously marked.
The Smart Weight Loss TV Commercial
I watched the Bob Harper TV commercial and I noticed something interesting. Here is the commercial on You Tube.
At 11 seconds into the commercial Bob says “its key ingredients have proven in two clinical studies”.
Have proven? Have proven what?
Notice Bob does not say its key ingredients “have been proven to cause weight loss” in two clinical studies.
Bob just says the key ingredients “have proven in”. The way Bob says it, the sentence makes no sense and is vague.
Did Bob make an error in what he was saying? Was it fancy Hollywood editing to get around the law by not actually saying the product causes weight loss? You decide.
Also notice in the TV commercials nobody ever says “the product causes weight loss”.
Instead they say “It really works”.
Saying it really works is vague language that’s used frequently in supplement ads to tap dance around the law and make people think something promotes weight loss.
I know some may think my securitizing Bob’s words are petty, but I need to do this because of who Bob Harper is. He’s on a hit TV show and is famous. People will take his words as gospel because they like bob. Heck, I like Bob too!
But, since I can’t read the clinical studies Bob says support his weight loss supplement, I have to analyze other things to see if I can find out what’s going on.
At 19 seconds into the commercial you meet “Erin” who says “I lost 23 pounds the Smart Way”. Other people are also shown in the TV commercials.
But if you read the words at the bottom of the screen you see that these people also :
- Went on a diet and exercised
- And were PAID for their testimonials!
How much did they exercise? How many calories did they eat per day? How long did it take to lose weight? These are important questions because if you don’t do the same thing, odds are you won’t see the same results.
Does It Work?
I have many questions about the clinical studies Bob Harper mentions as proof of for his Smart Weight Loss Formula. As I've shown you, the only published study on the “key ingredients” appears to be on a totally different weight loss supplement. For those who are interested, here is Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss on Amazon.
What do you think?