Jillian Michaels the popular personal trainer on TVs The Biggest Loser endorses various weight loss supplements on TV, radio and the web. Jillian's Maximum Strength Calorie Control supplement will be the focus of this review. In a separate review Ive also critiqued Jillian's Fat Burner supplement so do read that as well.
Update. Since writing this review, Bob Harper has also been selling weight loss supplements. After your done reading about Jillian, click over and read my review of Bob Harpers weight loss supplement
According to the website that makes the weight loss products (JillianWeightLoss.com), there are the 11 ingredients in Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calories Control weight loss supplement:
- Yerba Mate (leaf) Extract
- Guarana (seed) Extract -standardized to 10% caffeine
- Damiana (leaf) Extract:
- Coffee (bean) Extract -standardized to 70% natural caffeine
- Ginger (root) Powder
- Kola Nut (seed) Extract -standardized to 12% caffeine
- White Willow (bark) Powder
- Cocoa (seed) Extract -standardized to 4% theobromine
- Jujube (seed) Extract
- Shisandra (fruit) Extract
- Chinese Skullcap (root) Extract -standardized to 30% flavones as baicalin
Let's look at each ingredient separately and see if any have weight loss proof.
Yerba Mate extract.This is a caffeine containing herb although it contains more than caffeine. One study published in 2001 did note that yerba mate helped weight loss when it was combined with damiana and guarana (which the calorie control supplement also has).
This is interesting but it is just one study that to my knowledge has not been replicated. Another problem with this particular study was that it included only 7 people. That’s not very many people for a study. Other research studies have also noted weight loss when Yerba mate was combined with other products.
Yerba mate is controversial because other studies find that it appears to increase the risk of various cancers ranging from mouth cancer to lung cancer. That's not to say that this product causes cancer. This is probably most likely when used in a purified state, in amounts far greater than that found in this product.
Guarana. Guarana contains caffeine and is a stimulant.
Damiana. This herb sometimes shows up in supplements designed to boost sex drive. As mentioned above, one small study did not some weight loss when damiana was combed with yerba mate and guarana.
Coffee bean extract. Caffeine containing compound.
Ginger root. Ginger is often used to treat an upset stomach and even occasionally GI issues associated with chemotherapy.
I could not locate any peer-reviewed evidence that ginger suppresses appetite.
Ginger may have some anti-inflammatory properties and I will guess this may be why it is found in weight loss supplements. In the past,
Sometimes I'm asked if inflammation causes people to be overweight. If this were the case, people wonder, then might an anti-inflammatory agent (like ginger or aspirin etc.) help people lose weight? I have not seen any proof that inflammation causes people to gain weight, however it does appear to be true that increased inflammation occurs when people are overweight. I can’t find any reason for the addition of ginger to a weight loss or appetite suppressant supplement.
Kola nut. Another caffeine containing compound
White Willow Bark. This is an aspirin-like compound and shows up frequently in weight loss supplements. Like ginger (and aspirin), it has anti-inflammation effects but how does this help weight loss?
One study from 2004 did note some weight loss however white willow bark was combined with cola nut (which this product has) and ephedra (which this product DOES NOT have).
The exclusion of ephedra likely reduces the weight loss effect of a weight loss product. Like with ginger, those taking blood thinner medications should use caution with supplements containing white willow bark.
Cocoa seed extract. This also contains caffeine. Coca also contains theobromine (so does yerba mate discussed above), which is a mild stimulant.
I have seen websites saying that theobromine has shown “great promise” in helping weight loss but if that is the case why can’t I find any evidence?
It’s ironic that coca extract (and theobromine) are found in weight loss supplements because that they are also found in chocolate. Last time I checked, even the Mars Corporation (which does a lot of dark chocolate research) isn’t saying chocolate helps weight loss.
Jujube extract. I cannot locate any peer reviewed evidence that jujube extract curbs appetite or helps weight loss. Also, the product is using an “extract’ of jujube. What is that extract? They don’t say.
Shisandra extract. This Chinese plant may have antioxidant properties but that might depend on the extract the supplement is using. This plant is said to be an “adaptogen” , a claim often associated with ginseng.
The words adaptogen is fancy talk for something that is supposed to adapt the way it works in the body. For example, some say shisandra helps exercise, reduces stress, lengthens life, and even helps PMS.
Most of the claims for shisandra have no peer-reviewed proof. I was not able to locate any peer-reviewed proof that shisandra curbs appetite or helps weight loss. This product may interfere with various medications such as those used by people who receive organ transplants.
Chinese Skullcap extract. This ingredient may have an anti-anxiety effect in light of older research that hints that extracts may act somewhat like the prescription drug, Valium. Skullcap may also have a mild anti-inflammatory effect and as such this ingredient may also be found in supplements touted to improve arthritis (specifically osteoarthritis). I could find no peer-reviewed research that this ingredient curbs appetite or helps weight loss.
Ingredients that have caffeine
Jillian's weight loss supplement is likely called “Maximum Strength” because of all the ingredients that contain caffeine:
- Yerba Mate
- Coffee bean
- Kola nut
- Cocoa seed
Because caffeine raises blood pressure and heart rate so to be safe, those with health issues should avoid stimulant containing weight loss supplements.
Jillian's Calorie Control vs. Jillian's Fat Burner
Check this out: Many of the ingredients the Jillian's Calorie Control supplement are similar to those found in Jillian Fat Burner supplement.
Here are the similar ingredients:
- Guarana (12% caffeine) vs. Guarana (10% caffeine)
- Coco bean (70% caffeine) vs. Coco bean (70% caffeine)
- Kola nut (12% caffeine) vs. Kola nut (12% caffeine)
- White willow bark vs. White willow bark
- Coca seed extract vs. Coca seed extract
So whats the difference between them? If you ask me, the difference is Jillian doubles their profit and you pay twice as much.
Will Jillian's supplement work?
Caffeine does have a mild fat burning effect which is likely why the product contains so many caffeine containing substances. By making people feel more alert or awake, in theory they may be able to do more exercise. In this respect, I can see a way in which this product may help some, but how much better is it compared to other weight loss supplements that contain caffeine? The weight loss proof for the ingredients other than caffeine are based on extremely little evidence.
Unfortunately, I usually don’t have very good things to say when it comes to weight loss supplements. Believe me, I want to say good things. For me to say good things, I need a product that has more than a pretty face and flat abs as proof that a supplement works.
What do you think?