The Biggest Loser TV Show Destroys Participants’ Metabolisms

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

The most important weight loss tip? Don’t try what you see on television.

There is a big problem with the weight loss shows you see on TV like “The Biggest Loser.”

People are losing weight too quickly.


You might be in a rush to get healthy and return to a normal weight, but don’t rush it.

Starvation diets coupled with strenuous exercise regimens can actually destroy your metabolism.

“The Biggest Loser” is one of the most prominent examples of rapid weight loss you can see. Over a short period of time, participants lose as much as 150 pound of mass! Losing as much as 10 pounds a week can actually be detrimental to long term weight control. Entertaining television weight loss is not the best real-world practice.

Resting Metabolic Rate Drops Due To Rapid Weight Loss

Contestants in “The Biggest Loser” go on a restricted diet, drink tons of water, and exercise all the time. What’s the problem with this? The answer is metabolic adaptation. Research has uncovered an interesting phenomenon. As people lose weight, their metabolism slows. Losing weight rapidly speeds that process up.

Some metabolic adaptation—or change—as the result of weight loss is uncontrollable. As your body composition changes, your metabolism will change. One 2012 study[1] actually focused on contestants in a biggest loser-style competition (the study doesn’t actually mention “The Biggest Loser,” but we assumed that is where the subjects are from).

The study determined that with caloric restriction and extreme amounts of daily exercise, resting metabolic rate dropped along with rapid weight loss. By the end of the 30 week study, participants were burning over 500 calories less per day while resting than they did at the start.


Other researchers looking at “The Biggest Loser” argue that a long-term approach to extreme weight loss is the absolute best strategy. An article published in Obesity by Kevin D. Hall, argues that “The Biggest Loser” is a horrible model for weight loss[2].

Hall used a computer simulation to determine if the weight loss experienced by contestants in “The Biggest Loser” was maintainable. His computer simulation determined that without continuing a rigorous exercise schedule, contestants were very likely to regain considerable amounts of weight.

Hall proposes that people who are looking to lose weight should focus on gradually limiting diet restriction instead of extreme dieting and adding 20 minutes of daily exercise.

Weight Loss Model Not Suitable For Long-Term Results

One of the problems with following a Biggest Loser-style weight loss program is the diligence it takes. Beyond science, common sense and experience dictates that it is difficult to accept changes that are dramatic and rapid.

Losing weight through large volumes of exercise and caloric restriction is effective in the short run, but it does not develop life-long habits. Exercising and eating healthy for 15 or 30 weeks is one thing, but to stay healthy you need to adapt to a lifestyle that you can follow every day.

The best strategy for weight loss is to take it in slow, manageable chunks. Doctors recommend only losing 1-2lbs of weight each week[3]. Losing weight slowly will gradually change your metabolism instead of quickly causing irreversible decrease in resting metabolic rate, and it will promote a lifestyle that is easier to maintain in the long run.



  • [1]
  • [2]
  • [3]