If Biggest Losers regain weight, what about the rest of us?

By Melissa Blouin • Published: August 4th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

A recent study of contestants from season eight of The Biggest Loser showed that after six years, almost all had regained most or all of the weight they shed on the popular reality television show. Further, the study showed they packed the pounds back on because their metabolism slowed radically. This meant that they had to eat drastically fewer calories to maintain or lose weight — which led them to gain most or all of the weight back. The study was published in the journal Obesity.

While researchers know that metabolism slows at least temporarily in most people who lose weight, they were surprised to find that among The Biggest Loser contestants, the extreme metabolic slowdown lasted for the whole six years of the study.

Other studies suggest that this “metabolic penalty” for weight loss is not always so extreme. Scientists say the “penalty” depends upon many things, such as the amount of weight lost and a person’s current weight. It also may depend upon how the weight was lost  — some studies show metabolic differences between people who had bariatric surgery and those who lost weight through diet and exercise.

Keep in mind that The Biggest Loser contestants spend months doing nothing but shedding a lot of pounds in a short time, so their post-show experiences may be very different from those of the average dieter. In the meantime, don’t be discouraged by this news — instead continue to eat right and exercise regularly, keeping in mind that you might need to eat slightly less than you used to. Remember that the ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy weight.