Calorad collagen supplements stormed onto the scene around the mid to late 1990s with claims that you can “lose weight while you sleep.” They have since moved away from this and now make claims that it can help you improve your shape and sculpt your body.
The currently active website for Calorad claims that the products is “known internationally” and is “sold in many industrialized countries such as the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Poland and others.”
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But as of February 2016, it appears few people are actually searching for it on Google, returning less than 100,000 results for the term “Calorad.” A promotional video on YouTube only has 1900 page views in two and a half years. Not quite the supplement juggernaut it once was.
Interestingly, Calorad does seem to be enjoying a bit of a resurgence in Nigeria. In fact, this article receives most of its views from the small West African nation, which makes sense given the Calorad Nigeria Facebook page has over 14,000 subscribers.
Calorad marketing claims
The company website claims that Calorad is a “major phenomenon” with “millions of users” and that it:
- “is the most powerful protein supplement in the world market”
- “is an amazing powerful body sculpting and health supplement”
- “provides a perfect chain of amino acids to support your body in many critical areas including fat loss, rebuilding lean muscle, restoring the body’s collagen base, and providing balance to the metabolism.
- “will improve your sleep”
- “helps you attain your ideal shape”
- “gives you more energy and make you feel great”
- “will help you achieve your goal of total well-being of body and mind”
That sounds like a pretty impressive list, but is there any evidence that supports these claims?
In a word: no.
As I’ll discuss below, there is interest in the scientific community about the therapeutic use of collagen for arthritis sufferers, but nothing that supports lofty claims of enhanced weight loss.
Calorad research rundown
There is a Wikipedia page which provides a few references for collagen hydrolysate, but none of these directly support marketing claims around weight loss and muscle gain.
One reference suggests that cartilage-derived type II collagen can help relieve arthritis pain, but it is not clear whether or not Calorad was used in the study.
Another study suggests that collagen hydrolysat can help improve symptoms of fibromyalgia with concurrent temporomandibular joint problems, but as there are a number of collagen-type supplements on the market, it is not known if Calorad was used in this study.
The bottom line is that the main marketing claims for Calorad appear to be embellished hot air with no clinically proven substance.
The company also lists a number of anecdotal testimonials claiming that (of course) Calorad is great. Whilst I have no doubt that people can lose weight at the same time they’re taking the product, this does not mean that the product caused the said results.
One of the main limitations of testimonials is that they do not separate cause and effect from coincidence. For example, if someone started using Calorad at the same time they started eating healthier and exercising, then they would have lost weight and felt healthier anyway. But many people might erroneously attribute their results to the product with no consideration for all the hard work they did with their diet and exercise.
What are Calorad’s ingredients?
Calorad’s ingredients are actually quite basic and, in practical terms, make it nothing more than an expensive protein supplement
The ingredients include:
Hydrolysed collagen 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? The source of the collagen appears to be of both marine and bovine sources, but there is limited disclosure across the variety of Calorad websites.
Aloe vera exerts a laxative effect that can cause gastrointestinal upset in some individuals. Frequent trips to the toilet certainly could cause “weight loss” on the scale, but this would not do much in the fat loss department.
Glycerin is probably used as a mild sweetener, as many users have mentioned Calorad’s off-taste.
Potassium sorbate, methyl paraben, sodium benzoate
Nothing more than preservatives to keep the collagen from spoiling.
Water and natural lemonade and orange flavour
Just a couple of extras for flavour and volume, but would hardly have any effect in the body.
Citric acid is just the natural acid from a lemon. It is used in products as a preservative.
The bottom line on Calorad’s ingredients: There doesn’t appear to be anything magic here. All of these nutrients can easily be found in food that we already eat on a daily basis.
Does Calorad work for weight loss?
It is probable that the said weight loss associated with Calorad stems from the fact that you’re not supposed to eat anything before bed – three hours to be exact. Then you’re supposed to take Calorad on an empty stomach right before going to sleep and watch the weight melt away.
Enter critical thinking here: Let’s say you were previously eating 2500 calories per day, and hypothetically, 500 of those calories were regularly consumed within three hours before bed. So now you’re 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 (half kg), 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 (half kg) 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 you eat less that what our bodies need, you lose weight. You can save that extra money you were going to spend on Calorad and instead spend it on fruits and veggies at the supermarket.
Can Calorad increase muscle mass?
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 gram of muscle unless you add in some heavy resistance training. Bottom line: it’s quite unlikely that taking hydrolyzed collagen supplements will cause an increase in lean body mass unless you do the hard work.
Giving the benefit of the doubt, consuming protein while lowering calories can help minimise muscle loss 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.
If you’re selling Calorad, then you should be able to provide evidence that the product can support muscle growth. To date, no research exists to support this claim.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no other independent and unbiased reviews on the internet that do not have an ulterior marketing motive. I would advise you to be wary of other reviews that are selling the product or slamming Calorad but then offering their own products.
How can I contact the company that makes Calorad?
If you need to get in touch with the company, there is an email and physical address, though I had to do a bit of digging through the website to find them.
Carpe Diem Customer Relations: [email protected]
Corporation Santé Naturelle Carpe Diem Inc.
470, boul. Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier, Suite 103
Québec Canada J3H 6K3
Does Calorad work? The verdict
Before you take out your credit card and start typing in your digits, let’s quickly review the facts.
First, the company makes some very lofty claims and has nothing to support them other than a few testimonials and a “take our word for it.”
Second, there does not appear to be anything in the product that has been shown to cause fat loss or muscle gain.
Third, the testimonials on the company website are not evidence that the product does what they say.
The bottom line is that Calorad appears to be an expensive protein supplement with no body of scientific evidence supporting marketing claims.