Why ‘The Biggest Loser’ ends up weighing more

The answer is deeply rooted in science, no matter how hard former contestants try to stave off unhealthy food, a recent study suggests. Many are weighing more.

Why ‘The Biggest Loser’ ends up weighing more

Join a reality TV contest, spend an extended amount of time on a strict diet, gruelling exercise schedule and leave weighing significantly less for life, right?

Not for the majority of contestants, a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases showed. Researchers followed 14 contestants from ‘The Biggest Loser’, a popular U.S. series and found that 13 of them regained weight within six years.

Four of them weigh more now than they did before the Season 8 contest. While contestants had normal metabolisms for their size before the contest, this slowed after they embarked on a professionally-monitored diet and lost tons of weight, according to The New York Times.

Routines out of the show are not as strict, so former contestants ticked up on weighing scales. While their weight increased, their metabolism never recovered. This resulted in more gains, researchers found.

The season’s winner Danny Cahill lost a record 239 pounds in seven months. “I’ve got my life back. I mean, I feel like a million bucks,” he had said after the show.

From a 430-pound physique, he left trimmed and lean, at 191 pounds. Six years on, Mr Cahill is weighing in at 295 pounds, researchers found, despite his best efforts.

Maintaining that weight is no easy feat; he has to consume a whopping 800 calories a day less than an average man his size, thanks to a slowed metabolism.

“It is frightening and amazing. I am just blown away,” said Dr Kevin Hall, an expert of metabolism at the institute.

Read The New York Times for the full report.

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