Participants of “Biggest Loser” who lost the most weight on the show have actually experienced the largest slowing in metabolic adaption
For a considerable length of time, weight loss help and guide could be summed up in a sentence: burn more calories than you consume. This condition, in light of the 3500 rule, in which a calorie shortage of 3500 leads into weight reduction of one pound, was instinctive and consoling in its simplicity.
It likewise made eras of dieters feel terrible about themselves, basically conflating excess fat with a disappointment of self discipline. On the off chance that the 69% of Americans who are overweight or obese could essentially eat less and move more, this line of speculation went, we wouldn’t have a national pandemic staring us in the face. While scientists have been scrutinizing the legitimacy of the 3500 calorie rule for quite a long time, it still informs a significant part of the popular understanding on weight and metabolism.
That is starting to change, however. Unexpectedly, a major recent revelation came courtesy of the Biggest Loser, an NBC reality series that, maybe more than anything else on TV, lessens weight loss to a matter of self discipline (contenders on the show compete to lose the biggest rate of their body weight over the span of 30 weeks.)
But new research suggests the real narrative is likely far more complex. In the study, published last May, researchers tracked 14 of the shows contestants, measuring their weight, metabolism, fitness schedule and diet before they were officially selected for the series’ eighth season, at various points throughout filming, and then six years after the season ended.
Obviously, each of the 14 members were significantly overweight before their stint on The Biggest Loser — and all lost a lot of weight during filming. Additional amazing was that, but for a single participant, they’d all regained some of this weight by the study’s end, with four members really measuring more than they did before going on the show.
The genuine jaw-dropper? The researchers found that amid and after the initial weight loss, members’ bodies battled to come back to their unique weights: across the board, after losing weight on the show, participants’ metabolism slowed significantly, which means their bodies burned fewer calories than is typical for someone their size. This wasn’t an impermanent change, either — as the years passed, not only did their metabolisms not recover but, in many cases, they continued to slow down. At the study’s close, season 8 champ Danny Cahill, who lost 239 pounds on the show and recovered 100 of them over the ensuing six years, burned 800 fewer calories per day while at rest than is typical for someone his size.