“The Biggest Loser” will crown the winner of season 14 Monday night on NBC, and all the contestants made a firm commitment to losing weight through diet and exercise without the use of weight loss supplements. However, the show’s most popular trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels sell weight loss supplements on their standalone websites, Think Progress reported on March 17.
The trend in reality television these days seems to allow pseudo-celebrities to garner fame and establish trust with viewers, and then use that trust to promote their various products and services in hopes that fans will buy whatever they are selling.
One viewer said:
“Most people know that 90 percent of the products out there are crap that they don’t work. But viewers who trust these fame whores will buy these products because they believe in them [Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper].”
Another viewer said:
"Jillian Michaels will put her name and face on anything. If I have to see her ugly mug on another commercial I'm going to throw up."
Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels both promote unproven and potentially dangerous weight loss products. Harper makes claims that the supplements he sells are different from the rest of the products on the market. Four different lawsuits have been filed against Jillian Michaels from consumers claiming her supplements either did not work or were dangerous. All four lawsuits were eventually dismissed, but it is not clear whether the ingredients in one product which include Chinese rhubarb, Irish molasses powder and uva—ursi posed a major health risk.
Since most over-the-counter weight loss supplements are not subject to FDA approval, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper and the companies that manufacture these products are not legally required to prove that the supplements are effective. This leaves consumers who have placed their trust in Harper and Michaels vulnerable to using products that are useless, unsafe and potentially life-threatening.
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