The Biggest Loser Scandal: Jillian Michaels Gives Contestants Caffeine Pills


I wondered why my past posts on Jillian Michaels were getting so much traffic. In the last two days, lots of people were searching for Jillian Michaels + diet pills and ended up reading what I had written about Jillian Michaels, with the original post back in 2009:

The Biggest Trainer is Selling Some Losers: Why, Oh Why, is Jillian Michaels Pushing Diet Pills?

Jillian Michaels Sued Over Diet Pills

Update: Jillian Michaels Faces Third Lawsuit Over Her Fat-Burning Pills

Turns out, all the interest was due to what happened on last night’s episode of The Biggest Loser.  It had nothing to do with the lawsuit over the diet pills she’s peddling (on that I had written about — it was about the rules she broke on the show.  Jillian gave each of the contestants on her team a “caffeine supplement”  (which may likely be her own supplements since caffeine is a major ingredient), and her team was penalized for it with a 4-pound disadvantage.   It was a clear violation of the rules.   She defended her actions because in her “professional opinion” these caffeine pills were a significantly better option than unlimited amounts of coffee.  She didn’t even apologize, as you can see in this video.  Her only regret was that she got caught and her team was penalized for it.  You can read more about here in the LA Times.

It’s just so ironic to me that Jillian touts the benefits of healthy eating and exercise on the show, yet she’s selling supplements on the side.  Now it looks like her worlds are colliding.  I just wish people didn’t value her “professional opinion” when it comes to nutrition.  Her diet pills have now faced four lawsuits from people claiming they didn’t work or were unsafe.

I hope the attention this episode is getting will draw attention to the problem of diet pills — and why you can’t make up your own rules.

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  • PerfectImperfect

    They didn’t say caffeine pills, they said “caffeine supplement.” I think it was more likely EBOOST, since Jillian is a brand ambassador and an investor.

    • Actually pills are supplements, so I’m using the words interchangeably. Yes, she might have giving them Eboost, that wasn’t disclosed. She obviously believes in whatever the product was, she just ignored the rules of the show. Her own supplements contain a lot of caffeine too…so it could have been something from her own line too.

  • Missy

    Why would you bring up lawsuits when none of the decisions went against her? Have you ever been sued? The truth of the matter is that some supplements assist in obtaining a healthier body. No one ever said that she gave them a diet pill. Whether she sells supplements or not, her knowledge about nutrition, body, and life issues is vast. She has help people find and seek solutions that were previously known only to a few. She probably gave them Eboost to drink for energy.

    • Missy, I brought up the lawsuits in 2009 and 2010 because that’s when it happened, I’m mentioning now because people were stumbling across those past posts when searching about what happened on the BIggest Loser. I do think it’s relevant…her supplements make a lot of unsubstantiated claims, and the idea of putting your hope in a pill just seems to go against what she tries to promote on the show. She’s not an expert in nutrition, and I don’t think she should be giving out nutrition advice. And yes, I would rather people enjoy a cup of coffee than pop a pill.

      • Missy

        Ok, the agenda is clear. The interest is not about helping people, it’s about bringing Jillian down. If you listen to her, she is not telling anyone to go pop a pill like it’s a magical answer to skinny. She puts information out there and is very clear that being healthy is first and foremost about a healthy diet and exercising. Jillian may not have MS or RD behind her name, but she has experience, consulted with many professionals, and has a nutrition and wellness consultant certificate. If your blog was really about helping people, you would not be making an opportunity to try to bring a person down. Always waiting, lurking behind the scenes waiting, waiting with the LA Times to bring the enemy, Jillian Michaels down. Give the woman a break. Look, I do not know anything more about Jillian than what is public, but she is someone’s daughter, friend, and mother. Join her in helping people instead of using the valuable time and resources of such an accomplished person as yourself to bring more negativity into the world. Thanks. I look forward to learning more about health and nutrition from your future blogs and tweets. God bless.

        • I appreciate your opinion, Missy. And I truly do not mean to attack the person, it’s the products. I am not supportive of the type of diet supplements that she sells, and I don’t want people to think the answer lies in popping those types of pills. Jillian may not have said pop a pill and that’s the answer on the show, but when you look at her site and the claims that promote those pills — I think it goes too far. But I agree, it’s better to focus on the positive vs. bringing more negativity into the world, as you say. Sometimes it’s good to point out what NOT to do…but I agree, that it’s even more helpful to talk about WHAT to do. Thanks for visiting.

  • Tomi

    Dear Janet, thanks for letting us know this. it is sad that a lot of us would rather use diet pills or supplements than exercise. i follow Ms. Michaels exercise regimes, and while i would not claim that she has ‘vast knowledge’ on anything apart from exercise and probably diet, i would advise Missy, that you understand that a rule is a rule and Ms. Michaels broke one. This does not add to her credibility if anything, it detracts from it. There is just too much hype going on out in the world today for someone like her to be caught in this kind of scandal (and believe it or not, whether or not she won the lawsuit is not the point, a scandal is a scandal) on selling diet supplements especially if they do not work. She is doing good by helping people who cannot get a personal trainer exercise, but she is obviously doing wrong by touting diet pills. Thank you

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