Study Finds The Biggest Loser Really Does Have a Losing Approach to Weight Loss

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Survivor will not help you survive on a deserted island either. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

When it comes to weight loss, an intense program of the kind you find on The Biggest Loser is, well, just as unsuccessful as you might expect a glitzy TV show to be. According to a study that analyzed contestants on season 8 of the show, extreme weight loss significantly — and in a key discovery, seemingly permanently — lowers your resting metabolism, making it even harder to keep off weight. In the six years after the competition, 13 of the 14 contestants in the study regained weight. Four are heavier now than before it began. "The key point is that you can be on TV, you can lose enormous amounts of weight, you can go on for six years, but you can’t get away from a basic biological reality," Michael Schwartz, an obesity and diabetes researcher, told the New York Times. "As long as you are below your initial weight, your body is going to try to get you back." Once they leave the show, most contestants also can't afford the help of diet, exercise, and sleep specialists. Researchers are still investigating why these sorts of programs fail, while procedures such as bariatric surgery allow people to keep off weight.