Update 8/1/20. Bob Harper of the Biggest Loser, 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
- Frauenmantel 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 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. Somebody fat measurements can be pretty inaccurate.
- Who did 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 Harper's website the “key ingredients” in his Smart Weight loss Formula are:
- Frauenmantel extract (Alchemilla Vulgaris leaf)
- Wild olive extract (Olea europaea 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 Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The study was NOT on Bob Harper's weight loss formula.
Researches were actually testing if another supplement called WeighLevel to see if it helped. The WeighLevel supplement also has the 4 “key ingredients”– and had them at least 3 years BEFORE Bob Harper's supplements. The Weight Level supplement may be discontinued as it cannot be located.
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'sLoss 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
This product contains senna which is a laxative. For more on senna see these reviews
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.
See the reviews on the Acai Berry Diet and Fact about Acai Berry.
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.
To be fair, the ingredients in Bob's supplements pale in comparison to the supplements that Jillian Michaels was previously associated with.
The Smart Weight Loss TV Commercial
I watched the Bob Harper TV commercial and I noticed something interesting.
During 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.
Was that an error? Was it fancy Hollywood editing to get around FDA red tape?
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.
Some may think my securitizing of 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!
During the commercial, you meet “Erin” who says “I lost 23 pounds the Smart Way”. Other people are also shown in 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 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.
Bere is Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss on Amazon.
What do you think?
Wow. I’m really late with a response for this, but I don’t suggest this to anyone..
I just started taking this a few days ago, and with the reviews i am reading now, I am extremely bothered that it is still around. I saw the box at the local drugstore, and I asked the pharmacist about it because im really skeptical about diet pills and such, after my aunt got blood clots from one that went off the market a few years ago.
The woman assured me that it was all organic and it would not harm me, so i bought the starter kit and began taking it the day after, four days ago. It says on the box it is supposed to give a “burst of energy to get you through the day” but it does nothing but make you super lethargic.
I don’t know about others, but it also makes me super sick to my stomach, I waited the four hours between two pills as ordered, didn’t eat until 30 minutes after, and i feel as if I was going to pass out every time i stood after eating.
I took it a total of 3 days, to see if it was just the fact that my body needed to adjust to it, but it wasn’t. Terrible product. And terrible for you.
Christy, I’m actually quite surprised a pharmacist would have said that. Ive also never heard that it was all organic either. I didn’t see organic even at the product website. Either way, sorry that you had those reactions to it.
I’m trying to write a review for it on as many articles I can find. Its truly disheartening such a man, who is so looked up too, could sell such crap to his fan base. Also, I am going to complain to the manager of the pharmacy, because there is nothing safe nor organic about those pills.
Christy, keep me in the loop about what happens with the pharmacy. If you find any evidence it is organic let me know also.
I’ve just had a fun time finding and reading your reviews – great job. Another point on top of yours about how things are worded – they often don’t explicitly state that the person used THAT weight loss/exercise product. They lost weight, feel great but i’ve noticed lately statements about using the product is what caused that weight loss is missing. They may have lost weight….and later tried the product in order to be a (paid) testimonial but that doesn’t mean the product caused them to lose weight.
Dee, glad you found me and yes what you said might also be true also. Good eye Dee!
Hi every one I am hypothyroid so I cant loose weight easily can u suggest any product that can help me out ?
Lori :) says
Thanks for this review! All of your reviews are so thorough and easy to read and understand! I’m so glad there is someone like you that enjoys doing this type of research for those of us that don’t. 🙂 We just want the answers!
BTW – I have a love/hate relationship with Bob Harper this year . . . as he’s been kicking my butt in my living room at home! Ouch! My oldest son is, I think, just hating him. 🙂
Thanks Lori – and that’s a great website you have by the way 🙂
For energy I go with the 5-hour energy since they seem to give me the boost I need on busy days.
But I’ve been down (not exercising much) since my “old” Dr. told me to stop walking so much. (knee giving out, hip & arch/heel pain) I was walking 5 miles about 2x a week.
It’s been three years the weight I had held off landed on me to the tune of 100 lbs. I eat about 1400-1600 calories on average, but I’m not a exercising type. I’m an activity type. So with walking out, I’ve been doing housework, cooking, going up and down stairs & a little dancing a few times a week.
A sports doctor I went to said I’ve arthritis in my knee & hips. I’ve been trying to walk more though it’s painful & I’m retaining water something harsh.
I don’t drink soda, drink water mostly with a mug of coffee now and then. Almond milk power shake with wheat germ, carnation breakfast powder, raw egg, bonemeal powder & some frozen yogurt in a blender – yum. lol – But only 2-3x a month.
I stick with chicken, pork & seafood – pasta, salads, veggies & fruit. Mediterranean style diet for the most part.
But I don’t seem to be dropping wt. Is there anything that could help me to drop 100+ pounds?
I’ve tried some of the exercise videos, trouble is I can’t lay on my back (trouble breathing) can’t get on knees (pain’s bad) or sit on the floor (more pain & hard to breath). I’ve been trying to do some exercises by sitting in a chair or standing. Would love to do Aquatic Therapy if I had the transportation, if the health insurance would pay for it.
Thanks for the review on this product – you saved me time, money & another disappointment.
thanx Joe, i go to the gym 5 times a week so i needed something they’ll give me that little extra energy & suppress my appetite, well i guess it’s worth a try. so far so good.
Kristy, sometimes intense exercise can stimulate the appetite. just thought Id toss that out to you since you said you workout 5 times a week. maybe try less intense workouts to see if they help?
OMG! I just bought these pills today, unfortunately i could have done my research before. Are u saying they are useless, & what are the side effects.
Kristy, some people in the comments have said it helped them. I think the pills alone wont do much so do the other stuff too if you try them. if you do and it works 0 or not please do let me know.
Wow what an informative article. The way you break down the commercial really puts their shit in plain view. Amazing how many companies try to ripe off people trying to lose weight. Keep up the good work
Alisha, Thanks I appreciate that!
I was searching for a coupon when I came across your review. While I appreciate and understand your findings, I have done well with the pills. I want/need to lose weight and have found these pills to work. I do not seem to notice that much of a difference with the caffeine though.
I think about food all the time – what I will eat, when, etc. But I have found that I am not thinking about food much at all using this product. Even if it is psychological, I will continue with it as long as the product is safe to use. I purchased it because it was a Bob Harper product, a name that is well known in the weight loss industry.
I have tried this product and it works very well for me. I have lost a few pounds in 3 weeks (I’m not that big to begin with) and have lost a few inches around my waist and hips. I was stuck at a weight no matter how much I worked out. This is the only product that has controlled my appetite! It also gives me a boost of energy.
The only downside and I don’t even know if it is related is that my hair is not as soft.
I have been taking Bob’s supplement. I decided on it because it’s vegan, as am I. I have seen a great boost of energy and weight loss. I love food, as many do, and I find that it helps suppress my want for over-eating along with the kick in the butt I need to get through my busy days. I think if someone is having stomach pains it is because they aren’t eating correctly within. I get a little twang in my stomach if I don’t eat about a half hour after I take the pills as the box suggests.
I was disappointed when I found that Bob is no longer a vegan, however, I know this product works. No other weight loss supplement has helped me, ever. & I hate taking a bunch of different supplements to get the same effect. I don’t believe that someone who has never tried the product really has any relevance to giving a review. My apology if offense is taken by that, but this is getting bad reviews when, if used correctly, it does what it says.
Tara, no offense taken at all! While i cant personally test everything, myself (i do try some things) My main goal here is to give people a place to see reviews that address supplement claims ect, free from the hype that they see in product ads. I know i don’t know everything and so I’m glad when real people – that’s you! -write in and tell how a product has helped them or not. I’m really happy you have sometime that is helping you lose weight. 🙂
I just wanted to make a comment on your question of “What was the placebo?” By definition the study being a Double Blind study means that the group with the placebo AND the researchers giving the placebo did not know which group was taking the supplement and which had the placebo.
This is so that the study is not affected by the participants having the mindset of “what is the point?” I think you did a very good job in the review but if you are going to be so picky on the words they use at least take as much care with yours.
tab, i should have worded that better. i was referring to how the choice of the placebo can make/break a study. if i remember correct, the placebo was not disclosed in the study – and i call that a weakness of the study. i appreciate you pointing that out.
thnx a lot bob u r my idol .and you are the best (;
I found this in our house (my wife picked it up, it being the pills, not any 7 day stuff). She doesn’t intend on using it for weight loss, but mainly for a dash of energy. Is there anything that you would recommend besides this. She says that she did research and the main things that were of interest were the [green] coffee extract and pomegranate powder (or extract). I just started my search, so any advice would be helpful.
Gero 1369, the coffee extract is likely caffeine. that would be the main thing that gave your wife energy. Other than that I dont think any of the other ingredients would do anything for her.
I have been taking Bob’s Smart Weight Loss pills, now for about 3 months….I have noticed when I take them I have very bad indigestion, heart burn, almost takes my breath away, it was just yesterday I realized maybe they were the cause, so I didn’t take any today, so far so good, have you heard of any more complaints on this matter….
I too just clipped a coupon for smart weight loss and decided to google it — I will now through coupon in the trash —
Maria Luzzi says
Joe- This is the first website that I’ve come across that truly critiques a product with a scientific approach, that can easily be understood. Also, one that shows you haven’t been bought, or represent a company or product. I just clipped out a coupon for Bob Harper’s product, and it’s going in the trash. Just wish I knew what I was doing wrong. Although I’ve just seen my Dr., and take a very low dose for hypothyroidism, he’s young, and I’m in my mid-50s. He just doesn’t get it. I exercise twice as much, eat a sensible diet, and nothing happens. All he can tell me is to drink only water, and cut out everything else, including coffee. Are you freakin serious? I only drink 2 cups in the AM, with a little almond milk. Know of anything that works with Levothyroxyne that helps boost the metabolism? It’s not even about the weight anymore.
Maria, I dont know if I buy the “drink only water” suggestion either because coffee is mostly water anyway. If you have a smart phone, have you ever tried using one of those free apps like My Fitness Pal? that might give you an idea of how many calories you are taking in. Another idea is have you ever spoken with a dietitian? they might be able to see whats going on better than the doctor. The national weight control registry has a list of people who have been successful in losing weigh and keeping it off and they list the things people do here is the link http://www.nwcr.ws/
I think meeting with a dietitian might be a good start. you can find an RD in your area by searching for them on their website – EatRight.org
I hope some of this helps Maria
I’m on week 2 of it and it works. I don’t care if it’s in my head or not, I can tell you that I’ve lost 7 pounds so far without changing my diet or exercise. So there ya go.