Review: Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control
If you’re reading this review, you’re well aware that Jillian Michaels, personal trainer from “The Biggest Loser”, has her own line of weight loss supplements. In this review, we’re going to take a look at the Maximum Strength Calorie Control offering and see how it measures up.
Before we do however, it’s important to note that Jillian herself does not have a “rocking” body because she’s an avid user of Maximum Strength Calorie Control. No, she looks great because she eats right and exercises regularly. Thus, it’s important to recognize that her endorsement of this product does not mean using it will allow you to side-step the unhappy realities of weight loss; regardless of how good or bad this product it, it is only a supplement and will not work miracles.
That said, what’s the deal with the new “calorie control” offering? Is it, as the advertising insists…
“… a unique, scientifically developed formulation that helps restrict your caloric intake automatically.”
Let’s take a look…
A 2 capsule, 922 mg serving offers up 11 ingredients…
Yerba mate, guarana and damiana: Normally both yerba mate and guarana are included in fat burners for their caffeine content and damiana is a supplement commonly used as to boost libido. The reason why I’ve “lumped” all three ingredients together here is because one study shows that this combination of ingredients—when delivered in the appropriate dosage (study participants received 3 capsules containing 336 mg yerba mate, 285 mg guarana and 108 mg damiana prior to all three meals)…
“… significantly delayed gastric emptying, reduced the time to perceived gastric fullness and induced significant weight loss over 45 days in overweight patients treated in a primary health care context.”
Since this product’s claim is to help restrict your caloric intake, this study would lend it some credibility.
The big question however is this; does Jillian Michael’s Maximum Strength Calorie Control contain the correct dosage of these three ingredients? While it is possible, the ambiguity of the product label makes it impossible to know for sure. If it does, that only leaves a mere 193 mg to be distributed among the remaining 8 ingredients—which all but ensures they’re present only as a “label dressing” (in other words, they make the label appear impressive, even though they are included in a dosage far too low to have any effect.
Coffee bean extract: In this case, it’s standardized for caffeine, an ingredient common to most thermogenics on the market today. While caffeine has demonstrated, albeit mild weight loss effects (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97), it’s often added to provide a much needed “boost” of energy.
Ginger (Root) Powder: Ginger contains gingerols, which are chemically related to capsaicin. It does demonstrate some mild thermogenic and metabolism-boosting characteristics, although compliance to high dosage is likely necessary.
Some small animal studies performed on zingerone (a component of ginger) have been positive for weight loss (Yakugaku Zasshi. 2008 Aug;128(8):1195-201) albeit the dosage used (170 mg/kg) is very high and even when converted to a Human Equivalent Dose (or HED) means it’s unlikely anything but a dedicated ginger product will offer a dose strong enough to elicit any effect.
Ginger also seems to accelerate gastric emptying… the opposite of the sort of thing dieters want (Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 May;20(5):436-40).
Kola seed extract (12% caffeine): Riddle me this… what’s the point of using many different sources of “natural” caffeine when the sources it is drawn from offers no additional benefits to the consumer? The answer is… none. But it looks a lot more impressive on the label.
White Willow Bark powder: A standard ingredient in herbal versions of the old ephedra, caffeine, aspirin stack, white willow is standardized for salicin, a natural anti-inflammatory. It was thought to improve the efficiency of the E/C/A stack, although there is little evidence to support this claim. And there is no evidence it provides any weight loss benefit when included in an ephedra-free product.
Cocoa seed extract (4% theobromine): Theobromine is a “xanthine” like caffeine, and a stimulant, although not as potent as its cousin. And while there have been studies validating caffeine’s thermogenic effects (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97) no such evidence exists to suggest theobromine offers similar benefits.
Jujube (Seed) Extract extract: Normally used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety, there is some evidence to support this.
It’s not uncommon to find ingredients that offer sedative effects in stimulant based fat burners like this one.
Schisandra (Fruit) Extract: An adaptogen like ginseng, and one of the principal therapeutic plants (wǔ wèi zi) in Chinese traditional medicine.
Chinese Skullcap: Contains a number of flavanoids, including baicalin for which it is standardized in this product.
Although we can’t be sure what role baicalin plays here, it is likely as an antioxidant. Other evidence suggests it has anti-cancer properties.
And there you have it; the complete ingredients profile of Jillian Michael’s Maximum Strength Calorie Control.
So what’s the bottom line on this product?
Basically, what you’ve got is the combination of yerba mate, guarana and damiana (YGD) shown to be helpful in a single, small study (again, whether it’s included at the appropriate dose is up for discussion) and caffeine, a moderately useful but inexpensive ingredient (everything else is likely to be under-dosed, and serves no real purpose other than to “spice up” the label).
The issue then is not whether this product offers any value (clearly it does, although I’ve never received feedback from a single person who found the YGD combo delivered dramatic appetite suppressing effects).
No, the issue is whether it offers good value for the money.
Even though the product is now heavily discounted, it’s still a very ordinary, unremarkable product (the YGD combination has been used in products for years!). There is absolutely nothing here to justify a purchase… except Jillian’s endorsement, of course (and Jillian’s 15 minutes of fame are just about up, as far as I’m concerned).