Calorad Collagen Weight Loss Potion: Review of Marketing Claims

| May 22, 2011 | 25 Comments

calorad collagenCalorad collagen dietary supplements stormed onto the scene around the mid to late 1990s with claims that you can “lose weight while you sleep.” The marketing claims the product can improve a multitude of ills. The magic that seems of particular interest to the athletic consumer is the claim that this product will enable one to lose fat and increase muscle mass without any real effort.  We want to believe, but are we really that gullible?  Are there any facts behind such claims? Let’s start out with a closer look at the mystery ingredients found in Calorad.

CALORAD’S MYSTERY INGREDIENTS?
Truth be known, there is nothing whatsoever mystical or magical about Calorad other than it is an expensive protein supplement. A breakdown of the ingredient list reveals:

  • Collagen Hydrolysate—Simply hydrolyzed collagen which is nothing more than degraded protein (collagen is a bodily protein). Why not eat an egg or a slice of chicken, or a can of tuna for $1.39?
  • Aloe Vera—has a laxative effect when ingested orally and can cause gastrointestinal upset in some individual. I guess frequent trips to the bathroom could theoretically cause weight loss.
  • Glycerin—chemically, it is a sugar alcohol (1,2,3 propanetriol). It is probably used as a mild sweetener, as many users have mentioned Calorad’s off-taste.
  • Potassium Sorbate & Methyl Paraben—Nothing more than preservatives to keep the collagen from spoiling.
  • Natural Flavor, Demineralised Water—Just a couple of extras for flavor and volume, but would hardly have any effect in the body.

There doesn’t appear to be any magic here. All of these nutrients can easily be found in food that we all eat on a daily basis.

WEIGHT LOSS
It is probable that the said weight-loss associated with Calorad stems from the fact that its users don’t eat anything before bed, three hours to be exact. Then the consumer is supposed to take the Calorad on an empty stomach right before going to sleep.   Lo and behold, watch the pounds not-so-miraculously melt away.

Enter critical thinking here: Let’s say Joe Public was formerly eating 2500 calories per day, and hypothetically, 500 of those calories were regularly consumed within three hours before bed. So now he’s replacing those 500 calories with 14 calories worth of Calorad, for a deficit of 486 calories per day.

Considering about 3500 calories per pound of fat, we estimate that 486 calories (round up to 500 for simplicity purposes) multiplied by 7 days per week equals 3500 calories extra that are not being consumed.  This alone would constitute a pound of fat per week.   Add in exercise and the caloric deficit would be larger, consequently leading to greater weight loss. No magic here, just elementary arithmetic. If we eat less that what our bodies need, we lose weight.  We certainly don’t need to spend extra money on collagen supplements.

LEAN BODY MASS INCREASES?
Believe it or not, claims persist that Calorad will actually increase muscle mass.  Irrespective of what is claimed, muscle does not just spontaneously develop from consuming of a protein supplement. To take this one step further, you could inject yourself with anabolic steroids (not that I advocate that) and not gain an ounce of muscle unless you provide additional demands on the body’s musculature via resistance training.   So it’s quite unlikely that taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements will cause an increase in lean body mass.

Ceding the benefit of the doubt, consuming protein while lowering calories can help attenuate the loss in muscle tissue associated with its breakdown for use in gluconeogenesis (forming glucose from not carbohydrate sources). But even so, this would not cause an increase in lean body mass. In this case, the burden of proof is on the company to provide legitimate evidence that it can, in fact, INCREASE lean body mass, and consequently the metabolic rate.

To those selling Calorad, if this proof exists please provide it for all to see. If you are convinced that it can increase lean body mass, explain how you quantify this increase. What tests have you done to prove that Calorad does indeed increase the amount of muscle? These are honest questions that deserve an answer. Is this not a claim made by Calorad and its force of distributors?

THE RESEARCH
There is no formal research on Calorad that can be found in peer-reviewed journals. Why? Simply because it does not exist. Anecdotal testimonials considered to be “testing” or proof of efficacy are completely unscientific and hold no merit except for those that sell the product. And, separating cause and effect from coincidence is difficult outside of experimentally controlled conditions, so making definitive statements as to its effectiveness is inappropriate.”

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Category: Health Watchdog, Nutrition, Obesity, Supplement Reviews

About the Author ()

Dr. Bill Sukala is a clinical exercise physiologist, university lecturer, and health writer. He holds a PhD in Exercise Science with a research focus in obesity and type 2 diabetes, a masters degree in Exercise Physiology with an emphasis in cardiology, and a bachelors degree in Nutrition. In his free time, you will find him traveling and surfing around the world! Follow him on Facebook, , and Twitter.

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  1. Newsletter June 2011 | May 29, 2011
  1. colageno hidrolisado says:

    Since I studied it myself for 10 years, I never read a post that write perfectly about hits subject. Thanks

  2. Mary Riley says:

    I am really sorry that I read such an ill-informed article on Calorad but then I guess articles are needed to stay in business. I used the product exactly as directed. Lost from 36 pant size down to 14 pant size and 363 pounds down to 156 pounds. Arthritic problems in back disappeared and looked much younger because I used the other products Dr. Grisha offered. My dog lost 12 pounds and does not suffer from artritic hips, and a friends cat lost 19 ( he was huge and also did not have an alergic reaction to grass. All of this in 9 months. It is the perfect formulation for the daily needs for our bodies. Also, rubbed the liquid on the incision right after carpel tunnel surgery 3 times a day and there is no scar because of the body’s ability to produce new tissue if given what it needs so that it can do what it is designed to do. IT IS ALL ABOUT GIVING THE BODY, DAILY, THE PERFECT FORMULATED FOOD THAT IT NEEDS TO OPERATE AT AN OPTIMAL LEVEL. My grey hair went back to it’s original color, eyelashes started growing again, nails get longer and denser and my eyesight clears up as long as I use this product. GET INFORMED !!!!! I am 60 years old and I do not share my Calorad because I will never be without it.

    • Bill Sukala, PhD says:

      Dear Mary,
      It’s unfortunate that you feel that way. Though you should be aware that this is hardly a money-making website. You’ll note the conspicuous absence of products for sale. My articles provide free information to those looking for a perspective on things other than those influenced by vested corporate interests (i.e., supplement manufacturers).

      Regarding your weight loss, I don’t deny that you lost weight using the product. If you read my article again, you will see that I highlight the fact that Calorad is merely a ploy to get you to reduce your calorie intake. Very simply, reduce calories = reduced body weight. The fact that you don’t eat three hours before bed and then take a product which contains next to no calories explains the weight loss.

      Irrespective of how you lost the weight, it is quite common to feel an improvement in arthritis symptoms by virtue of reducing overall gravitational load on your body (particularly the hips, knees, and ankles. I’d be willing to bet this has nothing to do with Calorad’s “miracle” formulation.

      It looks like you’re convinced that Calorad is a dietary panacea, so I won’t bother going into any more detail. Good luck with everything.

      Yours in health,
      Bill

      • Bob Dooley says:

        Sorry Doc, your Phd doesn’t make you all-knowing. When I saw the claims of Calorad when it first came out I rolled my eyes and wrote it off. Their claims were OBVIOUSLY bogus. But a few months later I considered that they had a money back guarantee and decided to order some and put it to the test. I was going to take them up on their claims to the FULLEST because if they were scammers I was going to get my money back. The instructions the Calorad comes with say to NOT CHANGE YOUR DIET. I did worse than that, I ate all the wrong foods, including a Whopper w/cheese, fries AND A MILKSHAKE for lunch, chicken fettuccine alfredo made with real cream for dinner, and foods like that. I did NOT skip meals because I ate my calories earlier than before. I lost 12 pounds in 14 days. When I told my chiropractor he didn’t believe me, he said I had to have cut back on my calories or that it was water weight I had lost, but he was wrong. Your response was how people would lose a pound a week. How do you explain 6 pounds a week? And no, it was not water weight.

        • Hi Bob, you’re going to believe what you want to believe anyway, even if it goes in the face of the First Law of Thermodynamics. Faith-based health and nutrition is quite popular and as long as there are people hell-bent on being willingly misled, then there will be companies out there to serve that market. In answer to your question, the answer is likely water weight, a reduction in glycogen, the water bound to that, plus a bit of fat and muscle. In order for you to lose 6 pounds of stored body fat in one week, you’d have to have expended 21,000 calories ABOVE AND BEYOND your weekly calorie needs. This is physiologically highly unlikely. But again, you’re going to believe whatever you want, so I’m not even sure why you felt the need to leave a comment. Thanks for visiting, though. Kind regards

    • Laura says:

      I agree! I am a new user of Calorad, I am 43 y/o female, who has tried everything to lose weight. I have dropped 16 pounds, and 56 total inches off of my frame in less than 60 days. My hair,skin, and nails have never looked better and I am now craving fruits and vegetables instead of chips and candy! I don’t care what any medical doctor says, this stuff works! Oh, an added plus…. My memory is getting better, alot less middle age fog!

  3. Gia says:

    Hi, Bill,

    I enoyed your article. Years ago my mother bought a case of the stuff. She did loose weight and and claimed she was sleeping deepr . She gave me a bottle. I did not lose any weight, although I wa not religious about the abstinence before bed requirement. I did note a marked iprovement in sleep and I have always been a notoriously light sleeper.

    My motherhad many friends who swore they lost weight like the lady who posted above. I wonder how much of that is due to the placebo effect in addition to the calorie deficit you highlight?

    I also am curious as to whether you think there is the posssibility of any harm fromlong term use? I just read an article which said the popular weight loss product Sensa is primarily MSG. That may be deemed “safe” but I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it.

    again thanks for an interesting website.

    Gia

    • Bill Sukala, PhD says:

      Hi Gia,
      Thank you for taking time out to leave a comment. Most appreciated. I am not convinced any collagen-based weight loss products post any real safety threat (fortunately), but to date the company has yet to provide any independent scientific evidence that the product itself has any real impact on fat loss. They’ve just found a clever way to get people to eat less which likely explains the weight loss. Scientists like to view things from the perspective of “what does the preponderance of evidence show?” I know the general public and researchers will always butt heads on this point and perhaps that’s just an agree-to-disagree kind of thing. I think the religious fervor surrounding nutrition is quite disturbing. It is a very polarized topic and one that’s been raging on for ages.

      I’m sensitive to both sides because when I was a kid I used to take all kinds of supplements and read what I like to call the muscle comics (Muscle and Fitness, Mens Health, etc) and believe a lot of the fluffy nutrition info they published. When I started studying nutrition at the university, I realized that much of my education was not only in nutrition but also in the foundation courses like biochemistry, nutritional biochemistry, exercise biochemistry, physiology, diet therapy, etc. I was thirsty for information because I wanted to be able to evaluate all the supplements i used to take from a scientific perspective. And over time, I came to realize that the vast majority of products were actually sold to consumers with VERY little objective proof that they did anything in the body. Or they used very tiny doses of active ingredient compared to massive doses used in the scientific studies (i.e., no effect in small doses – see pyruvate: http://www.drbillofhealth.com/nutrition/pyruvate-supplements-comprehensive-review-marketing-claims).

      Anyway, getting back to Calorad or other collagen based products like it, the burden of proof is still on the company to prove that their product does what they say it does (and that it’s not just a calorie reduction sleight of hand) before going to market. It should not be on everyone else to prove that it doesn’t work. Unfortunately the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) does nothing to educate and is merely a legal loophole in the law which allows products to be sold to the public without having to be prove safe, effective, or that the dose on the label is what’s in the product SO LONG as it’s branded as a supplement and not a food product.

      I’ve been painted as a rigid skeptic but this is not true. There are other products on the market that enjoy scientific support and can have positive health effects (St. John’s Wort, Creatine, etc). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with demanding fair and full disclosure for all dietary supplements so consumers can make an educated purchase. And if after all that someone still wants to spend their money, knowing full well that there is little to nil evidence supporting its efficacy, then that’s fine. But if there turns out to be a safety risk, then can’t say the warnings weren’t there.

      The same rules of thumb still apply. Ease off the sodas, chips, cookies, and Big Macs, get out for regular exercise (walking), and don’t drink/smoke. Most people would benefit enormously just from this alone, without the need for dubiously marketing supplements.

      Yours in Health,
      Bill

  4. brenda says:

    Hi Bill, Thank you for your article. We saw a commercial for this right after watching Joyce Meyer. Like others, I also turn to the lord for every aspect of my life. After seeing this I had a overwhelming feeling to browse and it’s your article that drew me. I agree once someone who may not notice what they eat before bed then stops three hrs before will definitely lose weight. I have several medical issues myself, one being having had three surgery on each knee and needing knee replacement. I also became diabetic. With sugar ranging well over 200. My dr referred me to a dietitian who explained carbs to me and how they affect sugar and Weight. It’s amazing how many carbs a person eats who do not take notice. She gave me a set no. Allowed a day of carbs at 15 grams each. In three months I an down 30 pds and my highest sugar No is No more than 109 !!! My dr said He wishes all his diabetic patients listened like I have. I could NOT walk with my husband and dog due to my knees before.Now I walk a mile and half every other day. I definitely have more to lose and will do so safely with my dietitian and dr.I believe the lord wanted me to see your article to make me aware of my accomplishments without risk. Ty.

  5. Brooke says:

    Hi,

    I actually lost 30lbs in 3 months on Calorad PM marine formula. I did not change my eating habits or exercise much at all.

    • Bill Sukala, PhD says:

      Hi Brooke,
      If you followed the Calorad product instructions as indicated then it is highly probably that you did change your eating habits. Weight loss while using Calorad is not likely due to anything in the formulation, rather it is because you are consuming fewer calories (i.e., don’t eat anything for three hours before bed). All things considered, losing 30 lbs in 3 months translates to approximately 2.5 lbs of weight loss per week, which is what one would expect with mild calorie restriction anyway. I would like to commend you on your personal efforts and your subsequent success, though I think you should accept more credit for your results than what you give to Calorad. Keep up the great work.
      Kind regards,
      Bill

  6. angel says:

    Thank you so much for the information. Yesterday when I saw the commercial I thought this might be the way to lose weight. Fortunatly the Lord told me that it took me years to put the weight on and that there is no easy way to take the weight off. So I decided to investigate calorad for myself. The fact that you stop eating 3 hours before bedtime and get more protein makes since to me. Your artical just saved me probably another $1000 by confirming Gods word. Thanks again and God bless

  7. Jim says:

    Dr Bill,

    When Colorad 1st began to advertise on AM radio, the annoucer extolled that “Colorad is back!” I’d love to know why it left in the 1st place. If it was as great as they claim, why stop, unless they were forced to?

    I agree with you; show me the empirical studies.

    • Bill Sukala, PhD says:

      Thanks Jim, point well taken. You’re right. Seems as though these types of products come and go in waves. I’ve been doing consumer health advocacy for a long time now and the same old tricks seem to keep resurfacing one way or another and, sadly, people continue to fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Thanks for your comment! Cheers, Bill

  8. Angie says:

    YES it does work for SOME people. I had gained weight and could not lose it after having two children. I was very reluctant and considered it a “snake oil” because back in 1996 it calmed it could cure everything. My husband had bought it for his sister who was/is grossly obese. To shorten things up I took it and loss my weight AND I felt great. I dropped 3 pants sizes in less than a month. I do not know how much weight because I hated to get on the scale. I did not change anything to lose the weight.

    I ended up getting pregnant again and stopped. After having my son I discovered that I was hypothyrodic. That was why I was overweight and so tired all the time. I was prescribed Levothyoxine and sill did not lose the wight so I tried the Calorad again except this time it did not work. I have wondered if it has something to do with the Levothyoxine.

    To recap, it did work as I loss the weight and felt great (not fatigued and tired). Full disclosure here, my mom tried it hoping to get the same results and noting happened for her. Keep in mind that she does not have problem with her thyroid.

    I believe it is possible that it helps people who are slightly hypothyrodic? It has helped some people this I know for a fact.

    • Bill Sukala, PhD says:

      Hi Angie,
      Thanks for your comment. That people lose weight on Calorad is not really so much the issue. My main contention is that I believe the company is essentially tricking people into eating less and this is the source of the weight loss. However, I take issue with the contention that the weight loss is a result of some mysto Calorad formulation that evokes some magical physiological pathway for fat loss in the body. To the best of my knowledge, I am unaware of any independent evidence that weight loss occurring with Calorad is anything more than a simple reduction in calorie intake. Truth in advertising would be a refreshing breath of fresh air! Thanks again for writing! Cheers, Bill

  9. Benjina says:

    Thank you so much for the information. Your information is valuable for me. I have just started to loss my weight seriously and I believe that I will have to success if I have a self-discipline also. Again thanks so much.

  10. Rodney says:

    Beware. I took this Calorad because of the claims of weight loss and joint flexibility. I am diagnosed with gouty arthritis, where episodes of immobility are kicked off by crystals in the joints, with resulting pain. I took the product for approx 2 weeks when I suffered the worst episode of gout ever, throwing me to a wheel chair for about 2 months, time in a nursing home, followed by the walker, cane, etc. This product, being made of both bovine and marine ingredients may be high in purines which is a no-no for gout sufferers. Otherwise, who knows.

  11. Jennifer Falla says:

    I have taken calorad for about a year. No weight loss. My fingernails and hair have improved a little. This product has methylparaben in it, a preservative. I recently found out that this chemical can change your estrogen levels and “parabens” are in a LOT of products. Haven’t paraben cells been found in breast cancer? I plan to eat differently and stay away from calorad from now on.

  12. Ken Gresh says:

    Thanks for the interesting article. Personally, I believe the Calorad helps as you suggested in the weight loss regimen. At age 40, at 360 lbs, I decided to have gastric bypass, a complete R&Y procedure. It worked well, with few side effects, compared to several others I know who did not do well. I lost 120 lbs in a year and then had skin reduction surgery, so another 20 lbs off. I regain 20 lbs, in the next two years but stayed at 240 for 8 years. When I decided to try to lose some more weight, I really struggled. I chose the 17 day diet and succeeded to lose that 0 lbs over a four week period. I was pleased and got stuck again. Yes, plateaus occur, I get it. I then tried calorad with a bit more exercise and within a few months was down to 189 lbs. Hurray! It was a tool that helped me, along with other means. I agree with you regarding the three hour rule, but for some that combination of multiple factors does seem to help. I had tried the three hour rule before the calorad and nothing happened for me. I believe balance in everything helps to bring about the desired results slowly. Time and patience and a few tricks up the sleeve can help. Balance again, moderation and yes for some, the calorad. I appreciate your suggestions.

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks for your message. You’ve demonstrated quite effectively that eating less helps you lose weight. To the best of my knowledge, I’m unaware of any Calorad studies showing it has any physiological effect in the body. The product is geared to fool people into simply eating less and then attributing the weight loss to the product. Keep up your program of eating less and moving more and you’re well on your way to better health.
      Kind regards, Bill

  13. helen Vondee says:

    I am a new user of colorad, taking it with water means what? Does it mean mixing it with a glass of water before you drink it or you drink it and take the water after.

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