Biggest Loser Trainer Sued For Pushing Supplements?

Biggest Loser Trainer Sued For Pushing Supplements?

I came across this little article this morning on MSNBC about

[the reason I don’t like] Jillian Michaels. Quoted below:

Jillian Michaels has been sued for alleged false advertising by a woman who claims she was duped into buying a diet supplement endorsed by the celebrity trainer.

Christie Christensen of Lake Elsinore, Calif., is seeking class-action status for the case she filed Tuesday in Los Angeles. Michaels is a hard-charging, no-nonsense trainer best-known as one of the stars of NBC’s hit reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” ( is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Christensen’s lawsuit claims she bought a product called “Jillian Michaels Maximum Strength Calorie Control” last month and that it has failed to lessen her appetite or cause her to lose weight as advertised.

Michaels’ picture and endorsement appear on the packaging, touting her as “America’s Toughest Trainer.” The product and a Web site advertising include the claim, “Two Capsules Before Main Meals and You Lose Weight … That’s It!”

“Ms. Michaels knows better — taking two pills before eating does not miraculously cause weight loss,” the lawsuit states.

The Web site and packaging however note that the statements haven’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Christensen is also suing Utah-based Basic Research, which manufactures and markets several diet and weight loss products endorsed by Michaels.

Michaels’ publicist, Heidi Krupp, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Wednesday. A representative of Basic Research said the company may issue a statement later Wednesday.

“Calorie Control” is not among the products that NBC lists for sale on its “Biggest Loser” Web site, which include video games, DVDs and equipment, some bearing Michaels’ image.”The Biggest Loser” has been a hit for NBC, often appearing in Nielsen Co.’s Top 20 rankings for prime-time TV programs.

Christensen’s suit seeks unspecified damages that are not expected to total more than $5 million. Her filing states she has “struggled with weight loss her entire life” and bought “Calorie Control” because of Michaels’ endorsement.

Now, I’ve got to tell you… although I don’t believe she will be successful in her case, I wish she would win it. Here’s why.

I know I’ve said this before, but I am not a lover of The Biggest Loser. I respect the contestants but the actual set up for the show itself doesn’t appeal to me (aside from the fact that I am simply not a lover of reality TV). I do enjoy the hustle and the polite reminder that hard work DOES have its payoffs, just… not at the expense of something else – lately, USA’s White Collar – on my screen.

A while back, I was looking up some information on a site, and came across this ad. It had Jillian Michaels – trademark sportsbra and tight spandexy pants outfit – with the question “How much weight do you have to lose?” and little buttons that said “10-20”, “20-40” and “50+.” Because I was curious, I just clicked on Jillian’s figure and waited for the ad to take me somewhere. Sure enough, it was a website pushing a diet pill. I thought it had to be someone using her image inappropriately – a la the Oprah/Dr. Oz ads that got someone sued a little while ago – but a quick trip to her website proved otherwise.

You mean to tell me that a woman who is the “toughest trainer in America” and works the hell out of people on a nationally syndicated television show weekly thinks it makes sense to push a pill that’s supposed to make weight loss “easier?”

Am I in the Twilight Zone?

I mean, seriously – if weight loss pills worked, would we need trainers? Would gyms be as successful? A woman who makes a living whipping people into shape allows a company to use her likeness for something that – if it worked – would essentially end her field?

And that’s another thing – if the pill works so well, why aren’t we seeing her make her trainees on Biggest Loser take it? It just sounds like she sat in a back room with her managers and said, “Well hell, if people aren’t gonna listen and still want to take pills, then let me get my cut.” Which, no… I can’t knock her hustle if that’s what happened, but dang if I don’t feel like she should be taken to task for misleading the public like that.

I’m going to write more extensively about this in the future, but read my words: pills don’t/won’t do for you what you need. I’d bet my OWN weight loss on it. In fact, I did. Like, three times. Save your money and buy some nice shoes instead.

I admire Jillian a lot. I aspire to one day be an all-star-lean-mean-training type. I appreciate what she does on Biggest Loser. What I don’t dig, however, is that she allowed her good name and image to be put on a scam product to make a little money… especially considering how she has daily reminders of the result of people being scammed by “quick” and “easy” solutions. Those contestants. Nine seasons worth.

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By | 2017-06-10T11:23:23+00:00 August 20th, 2014|Health News|24 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.


  1. Tracy February 13, 2010 at 7:22 PM - Reply

    I agree with this post. When I first started seeing the products, I thought I was tripping. For someone that wants us to lose weight healthily, how can she push a diet pill? Specifically, she has a product that is a “detox,” or some sort of “jump start.” Do we really need to jump start our weight loss? Does she jump start the people that appear in the Biggest Loser? Jillian is living a double life. She is preaching one thing on the Biggest Loser, yet saying something else (via advertisement and the use of her likeness on these products) in an effort to make some cheddar. I can’t hate on her for making her money, but she’s killing her credibility.

  2. PhluffyPrincess February 17, 2010 at 12:38 PM - Reply

    My goodness – I could not agree with you more. I am seriously disappointed in Michaels. I bought into the Biggest Loser, hook, line and sinker. Bought a NordicTrack elliptical, the 30 day shred, etc. all endorsed by Jillian. And the thing is, its just like you stated, attaching her name to this product is just her way of getting paid. Which I cannot respect. With any profession, integrity is crucial and she just lost a huge portion of hers.

  3. Cryssy February 21, 2010 at 3:30 PM - Reply

    i will say her 30 day shred is no joke and gives you a really good work out! As for this other foolishness Jilian knows better you’re right! I can’t for the life of my why she would think that this would be ok?!

    • Erika February 21, 2010 at 3:34 PM - Reply

      It’s just such a contradiction – you became famous from a show that pushes the virtues of hard work. So make money on the side selling the easy way “out?” You’re joking. Orrr…. maybe this is just another sign that we need to be careful with the people to whom we grant credibility? Hmmmm!

      Tracy, I knew you’d feel me!

      Phluffy (love that name, LOL), that’s why I don’t want to really go in on Biggest Loser at all… because my opinion is an unpopular one. VERY unpopular, LOL.

      Cryssy, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the 30 Day Shred, so I’ll take your word for it on that one, LOL.

      • Crystal December 22, 2010 at 12:52 PM - Reply

        Now this is a hot ashy mess! it does tend to make one wonder if off camera, these people aren’t being solicited to take diet pills of some kind to increase their heart rate and adrenaline into losing weight quicker….hmmmmmmm. This article was/is an eye-opener for real.

  4. Elita @ Blacktating May 21, 2010 at 11:34 AM - Reply

    How did I miss this? I have been defending Jillian in the blogosphere lately because I truly believe in her message. I have all of her work out DVDs. NONE of them are a joke. I love Jillian as a motivator. While you watch the DVDs, she is telling you how strong and healthy you are becoming. She has never (in my opinion) been about a number on the scale or fitting into skinny jeans. Jillian has always been about pushing your body to its physical limits so that you can become stronger and that when you become stronger, you will notice it in every aspect of your life. One of my favorite things she says during The Shred is, “I know this is hard, but if I am going to make big promises to you guys, you’re going to have to work hard for them. That knot in your gut right now is fear leaving the body.” Man, this makes me sad. I am going to hope this was just a misstep, a bad business decision on the part of her and her managers and that something like this won’t happpen again.

    Oh, and I’ve never seen the Biggest Loser. I learned about Jillian through one of my favorite bloggers who used the Shred to lose the baby weight and blogged her experience with pictures on her website.

    • Erika May 21, 2010 at 11:42 AM - Reply

      I am going to hope this was just a misstep, a bad business decision on the part of her and her managers and that something like this won’t happpen again.

      I’m hoping so, but it’s looking like she’s seeking to simply dominate the fitness industry now while her image is so big. Along with her new show coming this summer… I can’t help but wonder what other “products” we’ll see her name on in the future. Sigh.

  5. Nix June 23, 2010 at 10:08 PM - Reply

    I agree wholeheartedly with your post. I didn’t see why she went into the pill pushing business. To me it went against what she has been saying all along about hard work, exercise and diet… seriously!

  6. Chocolate September 19, 2010 at 11:47 AM - Reply

    I lost all respect for Jillian when she got into the hoopla of promoting diet products. She wanted to make fore money find another way of doing so instead of promoting false hopes of diet supplements.

  7. Jacqueline October 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM - Reply

    SMH. I just deleted her from my facebook “like” pages because of this. She promoted some caffeine pill yesterday to promote weight loss and I sat back and said to myself “Jillian, what happened to you?”

    It is a huge contradiction, like you said her for her to promote all these workouts on the show and then push these pills on the side.

    Money or not, you have to have common sense sometimes and she lost it when she agreed to have her face on these products.

  8. I was wondering... December 22, 2010 at 9:42 AM - Reply

    A little late commenting on this post, however I do remember seeing her “diet pills” and being very disappointed. I had never watched the biggest loser, however a friend introduced me to JM’s workout videos a few years ago, and they made a big difference in my workout regimen. They pretty much jumpstarted my weight loss, and I began to look out for any videos that featured Jillian. In all of her workouts, she focused on hard work to see results. This is why I was so shocked and appalled by her endorsing a diet pill. I thought that someone stole her image as well, but the pills were on her website. I think that this is reckless use of her image and influence on Americans who are trying to become more healthy.

  9. The Fitness Enthusiast January 13, 2011 at 1:02 AM - Reply

    I do not know much about jillian micheals, all I know is I see her in the news often for doing something that is bad.

    its like every other time i hear her name i hear she sold a crap supplement, or gave dangerous uneducated instruction on how to do a certain lift in a video.

    so, right now, without knowing much about her, I am going to have to default to staying neutral, and say she is a good actress (she is on TV), with a questioned amount of knowledge about fitness.

  10. Dvine January 25, 2011 at 11:24 AM - Reply

    pills is not the answer.. ppl see celebrities pushing weight loss supplements and automatically believe this is how they got to look this way.. DUH, she is a trainer, she has a show.. ppl should know better.. ppl need to have more common sense.. If you read the labels on this diet pills, they always say, with moderate diet and exercise..

    i feel sorry for her because i too struggle w/weight loss but i hope she doesn’t win… maybe she’ll use her better judgment..

    Weight Watchers may have been a better option for her..

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