Review: Kim Kardashian / Quick Trim Extreme Burn

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The luscious Kim Kardashian has teamed up with Quick Trim to shill a new series of weight loss products; Extreme Burn, Celluslim, Fast Cleanse & Burn & Cleanse.

Just a few weeks ago I reviewed “The Biggest Loser’s” Jillian Michael’s new fat burner offering, the “Extreme Maximum Strength Fat Burner” (coincidentally, both women are backing 4-product supplement lines that are being sold extensively at GNC), and that made me ask…

Have we been hit with an inundation of celebrity weight loss products all of a sudden?

From a marketing perspective, it’s understandable why retailers like celebrities; both Jillian Michael and Kim Kardashian are attractive, successful women; what could be wrong with aspiring to be just like them?

The problem is that neither Miss Kardashian or Jillian Michael got their physiques from a weight loss pill. It’s a pleasant thought—that celebrities can somehow avoid the realities of weight gain/loss (either because they’re rich, “plugged in” or have access to cutting edge products the rest of us can only dream about).

We know Jillian Michaels looks the way she does because she works out hard and eats right. What about the lovely Miss Kardashian?

She either…

  • Works out hard and eats properly.
  • Is a metabolic anomaly (i.e. she’s one of those people who can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound).
  • Spends a portion of her paycheck on regular cosmetic surgery.

I’m not exactly plugged into the celebrity scene (Kim has not been returning my calls… sigh) so I can’t tell you which of the above is true. All I know is this…

There is no avoiding the reality of weight loss. Not for Jillian Michaels. Not for Kim Kardashian. And unfortunately, not for me or YOU.

While a fat burner may give you a bit of extra “zip” to help you through your day and get to the gym, losing weight is all about the usual stuff; eating right, calorie control, and exercise.

The question is, does the Quick Trim Extreme Burn Fat Burner deliver on its promises? (The fine print on the GNC web site claims you can “burn up to 8000 calories more per month” and “burn calories 300 times faster”).

Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients…

1. Chromium picolinate: One of three ingredients in a vitamin blend (which also contains vitamin C and Niacin) chromium plays an important role in the regulation of insulin function and accordingly, blood glucose levels.

As such, it is a no-brainer ingredient in any weight loss product. Despite this, clinical studies showing chromium’s effect on weight loss are contradictory, although this is probably the best form of chromium to experiment with at this time.

2. QT Capsimax Super Thermo Complex: A 4-ingredient, 255 mg blend of the following…

a. Bioperine: A black pepper extract, used in most formulas to improve the bioavailability of the individual ingredients.

b. Caffeine: A common stimulant with a proven track record of modest weight loss (see Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50, Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97), caffeine is an ingredient common to most weight loss products. One 2-capsule serving contains 200 mg, which is about twice as much what you’d receive from a large coffee. The recommended daily dosage of this product requires that you take 4-caps daily, delivering a whopping 400 mg of caffeine—I have no doubt this product will give you a “lift.” However, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, you’ll definitely want to reduce the dosage.There’s another problem with stuffing 200 mg of caffeine into this complex—did you catch it? That’s right; this complex only contains 255 mg of ingredients. That means there is a mere 55 mg left to be divided amongst the remaining 3 ingredients.

“So what,” you say?

Not really. Here’s the thing—the medicinal plants, food compounds and herbs that are typically found in weight loss products are much like pharmaceutical drugs; they need to be present in a potent enough dosage to have any effect. To illustrate the importance of this point, let’s move on to the next ingredient in Quick Trim’s Extreme Burn fat burner…

c. Capsimax® (capsicum fruit extract): Over the years, much ado has been made over the ability of capsicum (derived from hot red peppers) to elevate the metabolic rate, and thus encourage weight loss.

There are several animal studies (see J Appl Physiol 95: 2408-2415, 2003, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Dec;65(12):2735-40, J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Aug;47(4):295-8) that bear this theory out, and a couple of human based studies as well (see Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Sep;65(9):2033-6, Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2006 Dec;70(12):2824-35).

However, this study (Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jan;292(1):R77-85. Epub 2006 Jul 13) says it best…

“Capsaicin has been shown to be effective, yet when it is used clinically it requires a strong compliance to a certain dosage, that has not been shown to be feasible yet.”

Does the use of a standardized extract like Capsimax make any difference? In this particular case, probably not. Capsimax does show some promise: a recent study demonstrated it could slightly boost lipolysis vs. placebo – but 100mg of Capsimax was used. As noted above, there’s just not enough “room” in the capsule to get this much Capsimax in.

 d. N-acetyl-tyrosine: an allegedly more bioavailable form of the amino acid tyrosine. Since the recommended dose of n-acetyl-l-tyrosine ranges from 150mg – 700mg, it goes without saying that it’s merely “label dressing” here.

3. Super C3G Lipolytic Complex: This complex contains 338 mg of a 6-ingredient blend, which consists of acai, raspberry, blackberry, Polygonum cuspidatum root extract (50% resveratrol) and pomegranate.

While berries are certainly good for you, a pinch of blended fruit dust isn’t likely to deliver many health benefits (let alone any fat loss ones). The resveratrol could be an exception, although the label provides no hint of how much is actually present.

4. Raspberry Ketones: Raspberry ketones are similar in structure to capsaicin (from red peppers) and synephrine — two compounds thought to enhance weight loss via the stimulation of norepinephrine (although real evidence to validate this theory is in short supply). One study performed on rodents (Life Sci. 2005 May 27;77(2):194-204. Epub 2005 Feb 25) did show that raspberry ketones prevented fat synthesis as well as the rise of blood triglycerides and overall, helped prevent obesity.

Of course, the problem is that this is an animal study. So while raspberry ketones do show great promise, their effect has yet to be demonstrated in any credible human studies.

5. Omega-5 Fatty Acids (Myristoleic Acid): This is a bit of a mystery… one omega-5 fatty acid, punicic acid, has some animal data behind it to support claims it can affect fat metabolism; but I’ve seen nothing comparable for myristoleic acid.

6. Extreme Fatloss Catalyst Complex: A 216 mg blend of the following 3 ingredients…

a. Green Tea Leaf Extract (Providing 90 mg EGCG 150 mg Catechins): Finally! A useful ingredient provided at a dosage likely to be helpful. Yes, that’s correct; green tea and one of its critical catechins (EGCG) is one of a few ingredients that show real promise for weight loss. One study shows (Obes Res. 2005 Jul;13(7):1195-204) that when used in combination with caffeine (as it is in this formula) it can be even more helpful. Unfortunately, a daily dose of Quick Trim’s Extreme Burn Fat Burner contains only two-thirds of the amount of EGCG used in the study I just referenced.

b. Banaba Leaf Extract (standardized for 1% corosolic acid): Traditionally, Banaba was used as a natural cure for diabetes in the Philippines.To date, several credible studies validate Banaba’s ability to lower blood glucose levels, therefore providing some benefit to those with non-insulin dependent diabetes, as well as overweight or obese individuals. (Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2006 Aug;73(2):174-7. Epub 2006 Mar 23 , J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jul;87(1):115-7 , J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9):2242-7). There’s also some early preliminary evidence to suggest another chemical component of Banaba (called valoneaic acid dilactone) may be a potent alpha-amylase inhibitor (Yakugaku Zasshi. 2003 Jul;123(7):599-605.)

Amylase is the enzyme required for the proper break-down of carbohydrates into glucose. If Banaba were indeed an effective amylase inhibitor, it would also give it “carb blocking” properties as well.

Another study (J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 1999;45;791-5) shows that banaba suppresses weight gain in genetically diabetic obese mice. However, there is no data validating this effect in non-diabetic animals or humans.

Of course, although we know banaba is standardized for corosolic acid in this formula, there’s no guarantee that it is, or that its even present in a dosage strong enough to elicit some effect.

c. White Willow Bark Extract: 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 benefit when included in an ephedra-free product.

Phew! That’s it. No more ingredients. We’re done. And, now that we are, what’s the bottom line?

The large majority of the ingredients in Quick Trim’s Extreme Burn Fat Burner are present in dosages far too small to be useful and are only there to “spice up” the label (like the Jillian Michaels fat burner, this is a relatively simple product disguised as something more complex with miniscule amounts of impressive sounding ingredients).

That doesn’t mean this product is without benefit; its core value lies in the combination of caffeine and green tea/EGCG (which is a decent no-brainer combination of ingredients), plus chromium and possibly the corosolic acid (which does not need to be present in huge doses to provide benefit) which should help balance blood sugar levels and help with cravings for sweets.

The question then becomes—is this product worth $50 for a month’s supply? To answer that, let’s determine what it would cost to buy potent doses of this formula’s more promising ingredients from a reputable online retailer (we recommend BodyBuilding.com)…

As you can see, you can buy most of the core ingredients of Quick Trim’s Extreme Burn Fat Burner for almost half price (having Kim Kardashian hawking your product does not come cheap, apparently).

Is it worth nearly $25 for the convenience of having three or four useful ingredients together in one product?

That’s a decision only you can make.

Of course, the Quick Trim retailers would probably argue with me; insisting it is this unique “blend” of ingredients that delivers results far beyond the measure of the individual components.

The problem with this argument is that there is no clinical evidence to validate it (no peer reviewed, published studies have been performed on Quick Trim’s products). This is the reason why the Kardashians are currently in court, dealing with a $5 million lawsuit for making “false, misleading and unsubstantiated” claims for the product.

This just goes to show you the importance of treating advertising claims with a hearty dose of skepticism.

Summary of Kim Kardashian’s Quick Trim Extreme Burn
 
  • Contains green tea extract, caffeine and chromium.
  • Can be purchased from a number of reliable retail establishments.
 
  • Contains a certain amount of “label dressing”
  • Core ingredients are basic, and available elsewhere for less $$$.
  • Overpriced for what you get.
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