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Does ‘The Biggest Loser’ Study Prove That Long-term Weight Loss is Impossible?

by | May 6, 2016

wow scale

Instead of our regularly scheduled Friday link love, today I’m going to discuss just one story that made a huge splash in the weight loss community.

On Monday the New York Times published an article titled “After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight” and about a million of you sent it to me asking for my opinion.

The new study (you can read the real thing here) is very interesting and also a little frustrating. In case you live on Mars, ‘The Biggest Loser’ is a reality TV show that takes a group of people with Class III obesity and subjects them to extreme exercise and caloric restriction, with the result of rapid and dramatic weight loss often close to 50% of body weight.

I’ve never been a fan. Not only does the show double down on the torturous methods of weight loss perpetuated by the dieting industry, but (as expected) virtually everyone who participates in the show gains the majority of the weight back.

I doubt many of us can fathom how devastating this must be to the contestants psychologically––to go through months of hell and achieve what seems like an impossible level of “success,” then have those hard earned victories evaporate over the following years, all under the public eye. It’s amazing to me that this level of cruelty is even legal in the US. There’s probably a joke about The Hunger Games in there somewhere, but I don’t have the heart to make it.

Thanks to this latest research, however, we now have a pretty clear understanding of how physically devastating it is to participate in ‘The Biggest Loser.’

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