Update 8/1/20. Jillian's Maximum Strength Fat Burner is a dietary supplement promoted by former Biggest Loser Trainer, Jillian Michaels. While the supplement is no longer actively sold, the ingredients in the supplement can still be found in other products. Also see the reviews on Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control supplement. and Bob Harpers Smart Weight Loss Formula. Do read both reviews because these supplements are different.
The Supplement was supposed to:
- Promote Preferential Loss Of Fat Mass*
- Encourage Lipolysis (release of fat from mature cells)*
- Inhibit Activity Of Phosphodiesterase*
On the website, all of these statements have an asterisk next to them which refers people to the bottom of the website page. People told that “these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA to cure treat or prevent any disease”. This is standard cover your butt language that all supplement advertisements carry in US.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the statements:
Statement # 1 What does “preferential” fat loss mean? Does it mean that the supplement will preferentially lead to fat loss in specific areas, like under the arms or tummy? That’s what I think it means however if I am right, then this is called “spot reduction” and it’s impossible! No supplement or exercise will do this.
Jillian Michaels knows this is not true because it is “personal training 101”. If preferential fat loss doesn't mean spot reduction, what else could it be referring to?
Statement #2 is a structure-function claim because it contains the ambiguous word “encourages” fat loss. They also use the word “lipolysis” which means fat loss. Lipolysis sounds smart and that’s likely why they used that word.
If somebody sounds or looks smart, people take them more seriously. This is why Dr. Oz always wears his scrubs and its why doctors often wear white coats or have stethoscopes around their neck on TV. In fitness, personal trainers are sometimes seen as smarter if they have good abs or big muscles.
Statement #3 jumped out at me because Jillian's fat burner supplement is alleged to inhibit phosphodiesterase. Phosphodiesterase is an enzyme that breaks a specific type of chemical bond, called a phosphodiester bond. Doctors abbreviate phosphodiesterase as PDE.
There are many types of phosphodiesterase enzymes in our body. Each type is responsible for different actions. For example, Viagra is also a phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Doctors call Viagra a PDE 5 inhibitor.
Some research finds that the enzyme PDE 3B is involved in fat burning. But, Jillian's Fat Burner website does not tell you which PDE enzyme the fat burner is inhibiting. Does it inhibit the same type as Viagra? Likely not.
I'm telling you this because unless they tell you which PDE enzyme the fat burner inhibits, you don’t know if it’s inhibiting the type that helps you burn fat, or causes erections – or does something else. Phosphodiesterase is also another one of those “smart words”, like lipolysis.
Jillian's fat burner Ingredients
According to the website, Jillian's fat burner contains a “proprietary blend” of the following:
- Blood orange (fruit) extract
- Bitter orange (fruit) extract
- Sweet orange (fruit) extract
- Grapefruit extract
- Guarana (fruit) extract (standardized to 12% caffeine)
- Coffee bean (standardized to 70% natural caffeine)
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Kola Nut (seed) extract -standardized to 12% caffeine
- Cocoa (seed) Extract
- White Willow (bark) Extract
- Cayenne Pepper (fruit) Powder
Notice that many of the ingredients are similar to those of Jillian Michaels Calorie Control supplement.
Let's review the research on each of these ingredients and see what we can learn.
It’s interesting that blood orange and sweet orange are listed as separate ingredients but they are similar. Both are extracts from oranges.
A recent study in lab mice did find that blood orange reduced body weight and this is likely why it is found in this supplement. What about people? More research is needed.
Blood orange may have a blood pressure-lowering effect. As such, people who take high blood pressure medications should speak to their doctor before using this weight loss supplement. Other drug interactions may also be possible.
Bitter orange (Citrus aurantium) is a stimulant that is chemically similar to ephedra. As such it also elevates blood pressure and heart rates.
Bitter orange may have a mild fat-burning effect but it should be avoided by anyone with health or medical issues including people with high blood pressure, heart problems, liver or kidney issues, and those who take antidepressants to name a few. How much bitter orange is in Jillian's supplement? They don't tell us.
Bitter orange supplements have even resulted in heart problems– even in healthy people.
This is a caffeine-containing compound. Weight loss supplements often use guarana because caffeine has a mild fat-burning effect.
This is another caffeine-containing compound.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
There is no good proof that alpha-lipoic acid promotes weight loss in humans.
There are studies suggesting that Alpha Lipoic Acid may help people with type II diabetes. Generally, research uses a lot to impact type II diabetes. How much is in the Jillian's Fat Burner? They don't tell us.
Kola Nut Seed Extract
Could the extract be caffeine?
Cocoa Seed Extract
Might the extract be caffeine?
. Grapefruit can slow the breakdown of caffeine in the body. As such, grapefruit helps caffeine stay in the body longer. This means heart rate and blood pressure stay elevated longer also.
Warning! Grapefruit can interact with many medications. This can result in the medication either being absorbed too fast or not absorbed enough. Either can lead to serious medical complications. Grapefruit can interfere with drugs used to treat heart problems, anxiety disorders, infections and epilepsy to name a few.
While Willow Bark Extract
Whats the extract? Could it be aspirin? Aspirin is thought to work synergistically with caffeine. Since white willow bark is similar to aspirin, it may interfere with blood thinner medications.
See the Right Size Smoothie review
Cayenne Pepper Fruit Poweder
This compound contains capsicum, the molecule that causes your mouth to burn when you eat peppers. The thinking is that spicy foods enhance the metabolic rate. Right size smoothie, which I reviewed in another blog, also contains cayenne pepper fruit. Cayenne pepper may interfere with blood thinner medications.
After looking at the ingredients, I come to the following conclusions:
1. Jillian's Maximum Fat Burner contains several ingredients that are also found in other weight loss products. The dosages may be different however. Since the name of the product is “Maximum Strength” the amounts may be greater.
2. Many of the ingredients contain caffeine which might help the fat burning process. The stimulating effect of caffeine may also promote more physical activity – and hence more calories burned at the end of the day. How much caffeine is in a serving of the product? They don't tell us.
3. Some of the ingredients – bitter orange, cayenne pepper fruit, grapefruit extract, white willow bark – are in my opinion, scary and should be avoided by people who take any medications or have health issues.
4. Since people who are overweight tend to have more health issues, in theory, they may be at higher risk of unhealthy side effects.
5. I was unable to discover any published peer-reviewed studies of Jillian's weight loss supplements – any of them.
What do you think?
i just purchased this product yesterday and decided to do some research before i use it and i’m glad that i saw this article..i didn’t know that it had sooooo much caffeine in it and they tell you to take two pills a day (wow). i also found it odd that on the box it list the “active fat burner compound” and “additional energy components” when they both are full of caffeine ingredients(smh).
thanks for posting this because i was going to look up each ingredient one by one and you saved me the time. also thanks for explaining what “encourage lipolysis” and “inhibit activity of phosphodiesterase” is.
Danielle, glad I was able to help and I hope you didn’t have to search too hard to find me 🙂
Thank you for this review! When I saw these ingredients in the store, they looked harmless enough. I thought the most that could happen was they didn’t work, and I’d be no worse off than before. I don’t drink caffeine anyway, so that doesn’t bother me.
But my family has heart problems and high blood pressure. Now I can warn them away from a potentially dangerous product.
Joanna, glad you found me and happy I was able to help.
Hi. I found your research to be very informative. Have you done any research on Isagenix products?
Stacey, thanks! Isagenix is on my list to review. I have not gotten to it yet. If you know the ingredients in a producct though you can enter them in the search box. if I ever covered them in other products, those reviews will show up and you can see what I said about them 🙂
Simply brilliant. Well researched, explained and without the marketing hype of trying to sell a product. Thank you so much for such detailed analysis and for rendering your observations.
Heynard, you are very welcome! Im glad I was able to help.
I’ve been taking the Maximum Strength Fat Burner for only a week and have lost 10 lbs. I strongly believe this works. I sit in a cubicle for 8 hours a day at work and don’t have time to go to the gym. My eating habits have gotten better, but to lose that much weight?! I’ve done them before too. Over the summer I dropped weight, and then gained it back after I stopped eating healthy and working out…
Yes, this might be water weight. But I don’t think this is a joke. I’ve had SO much energy on these pills. I love them…
renee kirby says
I am having great results from this product, not because of celebrity endorsement…but because I have increased energy and have lost 10 lbs in a month!!! I notice no adverse side effects and will continue to take this….the pills tend to stick in my throat so drinking alot of water is a must!!!
Renee, I am very glad to hear that. Just a thought: maybe if you open the capsules and mix them with juice /water that might be better if you say they stick in your throat?
Andy K says
Most dietary supplements have a mixture of some of these ingredients to some degree. I think the ingredient that kept bothering me the most was Tribulus Terrestris which is basically a flowering weed (yes, I looked it up..lol). There have been studies that report that testosterone levels can be boosted and sex drive increased with use. My main fear is that it has been reported to act as a steroid, though it is unsubstantiated.
In the end, it’s best to lose weight the ol’ fashioned way – eat right, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, reduce stress, and exercise.
I appreciate all the information you’ve given on this.
Andy K, yes a lot of weight loss products have similar ingredients. Personally I’ve never given any credence to tribulus as a testosterone booster. I think they add it to products because people think it works. Here is my review of tribululs research https://supplementclarity.com/tribulus-terrestris-review-testosterone/
for me its the grapefruit in this product that jumps out at me. Its probably only a little grapefruit extract in this supplement but given its potential to interact with medications, I don’t like this. This is actually one of the few weight loss products Ive seen that have grapefruit. I think most sellers of weight loss products steer clear of grapefruit for this reason.
Thanks for chiming in Andy 🙂
Hey Thanks for the info n yes if ur on medication especially the grapefruit extract is really dangerous as it is filtered n the liver the same as many medications n cud cause major problems.
Any who with that said I started taking this stuff about last week so 7 days n now n I have lost a bit only like 3lbs buuuuuut I am walking on average 4 miles per day n doin other stuff.
I also dont take the full dosage as too much caffeine can really mess u up. But I do appreciate the break down of ingredients. However it shouud be noted that some benefits outside of fat loss can be possible within these fruit extracts for example bitter orange can help with lowering blood sugar which n turn helps with the storing of fat (Type2 Diabetes)
Kola nut can decrease appetite and aid n digestion and cacaco extract has the ability to support cardiovascular health. Now I will admit I gravitated towards this product becuz while I think Jillian Michales seems a lil pyscho lol she appears to get results but also becuz of the use of these particular herbs struck me.
Of course when it comes too herbs in this culture many things are “unfounded” and we instead rely on many chemical compositions even thou many of these things has been used for thousands of years….but again I totally love what u post as I have avoided some crazy supplements as a result
Sahirah, thanks for the feedback; Im glad you found me 🙂
I’m sorry but I been taking Jillian’s fat burner pills for 4 days just as it says to on the container.. And nothing… No loss of appetite, no extra energy… Absolutely nothing at all :/
Thank you so much for posting this. I am a seizure patient & I have a pituitary tumor. I have to be very careful what I take. You have helped me tremendously.
Samantha, thanks for letting me know. I’m glad I was able to help you 🙂
I really like the way you break down the claims and ingredients scientifically using logic and knowledge. I will continue to read your writings. Thank You! This is information we need to know.
On another note, I was present during a demo tasting of the Jillian Micheals Whey Protein supplement. About 95% of the people tasting it did not like the taste.
Christallin, I apprecaite you taking the time to write! Thanks also for the heads up on Jillians Protein supplement too. I didn’t know she had that. I’ll have to take a look at it 🙂
Katherine, thanks for your words. I also mentioned preferential fat loss to point out the vagueness of the statement.
Supplement makers ofter use big, smart sounding words and phrases that mean nothing or are vague. Jillian Michaels fat burner supplement was one of the biggest users of this selling tactic and I wanted to call them on it.
Thanks for the unbiased review. Very refreshing.
Early in the article you ask what ‘preferential fat loss’ might mean. I think I can explain this:
When people lose weight, they lose a combination of fat, muscle, and water. What this product claims to do is encourage a higher percentage of fat loss, and a lower percentage of water and muscle, during the weight loss process.
It’s not spot reduction, it’s still overall fat reduction. It looks good on paper, but would be very difficult to prove or disprove because there are so MANY variables contributing to an individual’s weight and body fat percentage.
Thanks Rebecca apprecaite the feedback 🙂
Great article! So scary that people will just take supplements without really researching each ingredient simply bc a celebrity endorses it.